A Surprise Team Passes Dodgers for Best Run Line Bet in Baseball

The Texas Rangers, despite their under .500 record, have been baseball's best bet on the run line this season.
The Texas Rangers, despite their under .500 record, have been baseball's best bet on the run line this season. / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Up until Monday, May 15, the Los Angeles Dodgers had been baseball's best team to wager on the run line this season. Perhaps even more impressive was that in all 17 wins at the time, L.A. had won all of them by more than two runs.

Now, there's a new leader at the top of the run line leaderboard, and it may come as a bit of a shock.

The 17-19 Texas Rangers are now the best run line bet in MLB; covering 61.1 percent of their run line bets at 22-14-0. The Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Mets also have 22 run line victories, but have more losses than the Rangers.

To win a run line bet as a favorite, teams must cover the spread by, traditionally, more than one run (-1.5). In some circumstances, teams can be as high as -2.5 run line favorites.

As an underdog, it's the opposite effect. If a team either wins outright, or loses by a run, they cover on the run line.

In the Rangers' case, they have 17 outright wins this season, but five of their losses were by one run as run line underdogs; bringing the total up to 22.

Can the Rangers Keep up This Pace for Bettors?

The Rangers have actually played close to what their expected win/loss record indicates they should be. They've scored 154 runs this year while giving up 158, so their 17-19 record should actually reflect a team right at .500.

So far, the Rangers' offense has actually failed to live up to expectations from all the money spent this offseason. They rank 18th in baseball in offensive wins-above-replacement (WAR) and 23rd in team weighted on-base average (wOBA).

Newly signed shortstop Corey Seager has lived up to the hype; leading the club in WAR, as well as home runs with eight. They desperately need Marcus Semien to get going after signing a 7-year, $175 million contract this offseason. After a 45-bomb year in Toronto, Semien still has yet to leave the yard, and is a -0.5 WAR player so far this season.

Meanwhile, their pitching has been atrocious. They rank second-worst in baseball in Fangraphs WAR and are seventh-worst in ERA at 4.11. Texas has also walked batters at the fifth-highest rate per nine innings this year.

Back the Rangers for now, but don't be surprised if things fall off a cliff quickly.

Follow all of Ben Heisler's betting plays in real-time HERE