Reading the Lines

Sports betting lines can be confusing to the novice because of the way the odds are expressed. To begin with, although it seems counterintuitive, the favorite in virtually any betting line is indicated by a negative number — -110 in a money line, for example, or -6 in a point spread, two of the most common sports betting lines. Conversely, the underdog is indicated by a positive number. A typical betting line for a professional football game, for example, would look like this:

<tgroup cols="4" align="center"> <colspec colname="col1" colnum="1" colwidth="25%" colsep="0" rowsep="1" align="left"/> <colspec colname="col2" colnum="2" colwidth="25%" colsep="0" rowsep="1" align="left"/> <colspec colname="col3" colnum="3" colwidth="25%" colsep="0" rowsep="1" align="left"/> <colspec colname="col4" colnum="4" colwidth="25%" colsep="0" rowsep="1" align="left"/> <thead> <tr> <td><p>Team</p></td> <td><p>Line</p></td> <td><p>Total</p></td> <td><p>Money Line</p></td> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td><p>Giants</p></td> <td><p>-6</p></td> <td><p>32</p></td> <td><p>-110</p></td> </tr> <tr> <td><p>Bills</p></td> <td><para/></td> <td><para/></td> <td><p>+91</p></td> </tr> </tbody> </tgroup> </table> <h2>The Money Line</h2> <p>The number on the money line shows how much you have to bet to win $100. In our example, you have to bet $110 on the Giants to win $100 (plus the return of your original wager). If you wager on the Bills, however, you only have to bet $91 to win $100 (plus the return of your original wager). You don't have to place $100 bets on a money line; the payoff is proportional to the amount of your wager.</p> <p>The key thing to remember in reading money lines is that they are not even-money bets. A negative money line means you win less than you wager; a positive money line means you win more than you wager.</p> <h2>The Point Spread</h2> <p>The point spread is a way of handicapping opposing teams. In our example, the Giants are favored to win (as shown by the negative number next to the Giants in the “Line” column), and the point spread is 6. This means that the oddsmakers expect the Giants to beat the Bills by 6 points. Depending on how you wager, you're hoping that the final scores of each team are more or less than 6 points apart.</p> <p>Let's say you bet on the Giants. To win your bet, the Giants have to beat the Bills by 7 or more points. This is called “covering the spread.” If the Giants don't cover the spread — that is, if they win by 5 points or less — you lose the bet. If they win by exactly 6 points, the bet is considered a push and your wager is returned.</p> <div class="npsb"> <h2></h2> <p><B>Is there a sportsbook system I can use to improve my odds of winning?</B></p> <p>Any “system” based on anything other than knowledge of the game is most likely a scam. Professional sports bettors, on average, win fewer than 60 percent of their wagers. If someone is hawking a system that promises outrageous win rates, ask yourself why this person is selling the system instead of using it.</p> </div> <p>If you bet on the Bills, on the other hand, you could win in a number of ways. Of course, you win if the Bills pull off an upset and win the game by any margin. You also would win your bet if the Bills lose by fewer than 6 points or if the game ends in a tie.</p> <p>Point spreads are prone to change many times between the initial posting of a betting line and the start of the game. For example, if too many people are betting on the Giants, the sportsbook might increase the point spread to 9 to encourage more people to bet on the Bills. In this case, the Giants now have to win by more than 9 points to cover the spread, but the Bills don't have to win; they only have to finish the game within 8 points of the Giants.</p> <!--/gc--> <div id="pagination"><ul><li class="prev"><a href="http://www.netplaces.com/casino-gambling/sportsbook/how-betting-lines-are-set.htm" title="How Betting Lines Are Set">How Betting Lines Are Set</a></li><li class="next"><a href="http://www.netplaces.com/casino-gambling/sportsbook/types-of-bets.htm" title="Types of Bets">Types of Bets</a> </li></ul></div></div> <div id="coda"> <div id="rel"><div class="n5">Related Articles</div><ul> <li><a href="http://www.netplaces.com/casino-gambling/sportsbook/reading-the-lines.htm" zT="18/1YL/Zn"> Reading the Lines - Casino Gambling </a></li> <li><a href="http://sportsgambling.about.com/od/basketball/a/basichoops.htm" zT="18/1YL/Zn"> How to Bet Basketball </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.netplaces.com/casino-gambling/sportsbook/types-of-bets.htm" 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