Betting Lines Explained: A Quick and Easy Guide

Betting lines can seem intimidating to a beginner, especially if you are handling the sportsbook for the first time. Moreover, the wagering options vary with each sports-book, and they have a compilation of their betting lines.

This article aims at familiarizing you with the basics and some mumbo-jumbo of the line betting. So, you will not be baffled when you are at a sports-book and see that seemingly overwhelming money line. This will also help you to choose the best bet options for yourself. You will get to read all about betting lines details in the simplest way for you to win the game outright!

What are Betting Lines?

To know the betting lines better, you should be clear about what exactly the betting lines mean. In simple words, betting lines are the different wagering options on which sports bettors can bet on. The lines are split into various types, and each type represents a bet condition that you need to bet on or against.

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The betting conditions maybe about a winner or loser of a match, the aggregate score by which a team might win the game, or even more elaborate conditions. By now, you must have realized that you can bet on every possible phenomenon that can occur in a match. Consequently, more conditions make betting more fun for the gamblers. And this is why you should take a headstart on the line betting.

Introduction to sports betting

Sports bet is a recreational activity where people predict a games match results and place bets on the outcome. The popularity of games betting varies from culture to culture and also depends on the sport.

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Most of the bets are placed on basketball, American football, baseball, auto racing, mixed martial arts, track cycling, boxing and association football. People also bet on non-human sports like horse racing, greyhound racing and illegal cockfighting.

Bettors can place bets either through a bookmaker or through private enterprises. The former is legal while the latter is not.

Betting Line Explained: Types of Betting Lines

Since there are many types of betting lines, we took the major ones. Here are the major types of betting lines! You will find these on most online sportsbooks.

In sports betting, a bet can either be odds on or odds against. Odds on means the amount you win is lesser than the amount you wagered. Odds against means you win back more than the amount you wagered. It is easy to win in risk than in odds against, but the rewards are lesser.

There are three ways to express bet odds, and they are decimal, Moneyline and fractional.



The odds are expressed in decimal number of points. It is the simplest way to express betting odds in games bet and easily understood by bettors. The odds are expressed in two decimal places which will tell you how much you can win per unit stake. For example, you bet $100 on a team whose decimal odd is 1.50. If that team wins, then you will win $150.

The formula to calculate the potential win is as follows:

Stake x Odds= Potential win

Point Spread

The Point Spread is the most common games betting, and this happens to be the most profitable one. This line is a bet on how much the scores of two teams will vary. Making a bet on any specific point predicts how much the stronger team will score to defeat the other team.


For example, if the point spread bet is placed for team A to beat team B by 10 points, betting on that position will mean that team A has to win by a minimum of 10 points for the wager to triumph. Meanwhile, betting against this position would mean that team A can win by nine or fewer points.

Point Spread is the easiest bet to understand. At the same time, it bears maximum risk when making a bet on a stronger team.


The Moneyline is a favourite with many gamblers owing to its simplicity. Bets are placed on whether a team will win or not. The money line bet can be made for or against a team. These bets are the easiest ones; you just have to choose a team and then watch how the match unfolds. However, Moneyline bets are considered moderate, like the one they need a higher amount (when compared to point spread).

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A positive number shows the amount of profit you can make with a $100 bet. For example, the odd is +200 for a team, and you had wagered $100 on that team. If it is a to-win bet, then you would need $200 plus your original stake. Your total potential return is $300. The formula to calculate potential profits on a positive line bet is:

Stake x (Odds/100) = Potential profit

A negative number shows the amount you have to bet would make a $100 profit. For example, a team's odds are a -150. If you want to make a $100, you have to bet $150 on this team. If it is a winning bet, then you would need $100 plus the amount you put on the line bet, which is $150 in this case. So, your total return in this line betting is $250. The formula to calculate potential profits on negative line betting is:

Stake/ (Odds/100) = Potential profit

Point Total

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Point Total is a very different kind of bet. Instead of betting on a team, a point total bet (just like the name suggests) is placed on combined scores of two teams. The point total bet provides a total amount, and the bettors guess whether the total score will be higher than that total or not. This bet provides a completely different view of the game.


And lastly, the proposition betting line/s (also known as prop bet) are random bets about particular conditions that may occur on the day of the game. They are predictions like a player will hit a home run, and a player will score a touchdown.

The proposition wagers even consider the colour of the coach's t-shirt. A variety of prop bets are available, especially for NBA and MLB. Although prop bets seem fun, they can be very risky and hard to win.

Now we will look at some FAQs to get the betting lines for a better explanation to help you win the game outright.

Point Spreads betting explained

Point spread betting is the most common form of sports betting. Sports-book operators create point spreads to compensate for the on-field differences between two polar opposite teams in the sports betting sector. All teams are not created equally.

Some teams are much stronger than other teams. If such a team plays against a much weaker team, that game provides no opportunity for betting. Sports bet depends on predictions and predictions arise only when you are not sure of the results. The outcome of a match between champions and underdogs is relatively apparent.

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Yes, an underdog can win against a champion, but such upsets are rare. The point spread betting is bet on the margin of victory rather than on a game's outcome. A ‘-‘ sign indicates the favourite, and the underdog is indicated with a ‘+' sign in a point spread. The number beside the signs determines by what points the team must win or lose for their bettors to win. Let us take a look at an example.

Team A is -6.5 on the half point spread, and group B is +6.5. This means Team A is favourite, and Team B is the underdog. Team A has to win by at least 7 points for its bettors to win. Team B either has to either make a win or lose by a margin of 1 to 6 points for its bettors to win.

The number of points beside the signs is not picked randomly. They are calculated after considering the strengths and abilities of the teams. If the points in the point spread are a whole number and the corresponding team wins precisely by that number, it is called a push. Bettors get their bet/s back in case of a push.

The point spread betting odds

As you have already learnt, odds say how much money line you can win back on the betting. The most common betting line for point spreads is -110. It means that if a better wants to win $100, then the bet amount must be $110. That extra $10 is a commission for the sports-book for brokering the wager. The commission spread, in most cases, is 10%.

Step by Step Guide to Placing Sports Wagers


First, place a line bet, line betting, or generic sports bet, whatever you call it, is an exciting activity. It is both a matter of luck and intellect. A line bet is put after much analysing. Let us one by one walk you through the steps to line betting:

Step 1- Decide your budget

This is the most crucial step before line betting. Assess your finances and decide how much you can even afford to risk. If you are sports betting, then you must bet consistently to reap the rewards.

You cannot win big money after line betting in just one game. You will win little per game that will eventually accumulate into big profits at the end of a sports season. So, if you put a large line bet in your very first game, you will not be able to continue betting for long.

A common rule of the thumb in such scenarios is line betting 2% of your total wager budget per game. That makes you neither too cautious nor too reckless with your wagers.

Step Two- Find out which sport you want to place a bet on

Different sports have different have various betting opportunities. You must be aware of them. Line betting on a sport that you are interested in and follow regularly is the right choice. You do not want to depend solely on the predictions of experts before you line bet. Use your knowledge of the game, teams and players together with the experts' forecasts before backing a team.

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Some sports are not played throughout the year. Avoid betting on those sports as your chances of winning decreases. Also, it is not smart to bet on many different sports.

Step 3- Learn about betting odds and types of wagers

Betting odds and wagers are crucial to sports betting. We have already covered odds in this article. So read the four types of simple wagers carefully in sports betting:

  • Moneyline bets– You line bet on the team that you think will win. If that team wins, you win profits. You are paid as per the betting odds and your stake. If that team doesn't win, you lose your wager. This type of bet is also known as a winning bet or Moneyline.
  • The point spread– Point spread is wagering on a team's victory margin, which has been covered in the article.
  • Totals- The simplest type of bet. Here, you bet on whether a game's calculations will be more or lesser than what the sportsbook has predicted. The sportsbook predicts the total, usually by adding each team's predicted scores and the bettors bet on that prediction. Betting on totals can be done on any statistics of a game. It is also known as Over-Under in sports line betting.

Why Do Betting Lines Change?

Betting lines keep changing until the play concludes. The betting lines attempt to figure out and speculate on the outcome of a game and specific conditions. The line betting cannot be static as the goal is to get an equal number of bettors on both sides.

Moreover, scores can change, players might be injured, or the weather may change. These things are taken into consideration, and betting line values are adjusted accordingly. The odds-provider should try to make the wagers as fair as possible.

Are the Betting Lines Same for All Sportsbooks?

You will find most of the sportsbooks with similar betting along with some different options. And it is better (and smarter) to look up different sites and decide upon the most profitable betting. Different sportsbooks have various oddsmakers, so you may find line/s on some sites more favourable than others.

How Do Sportsbooks Make Profit from Betting Lines?

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This is an obvious question that every gambler might even have had at some point. The answer is simple. Sportsbooks do not take away all the money earned from a lost bet. They only keep a little part of it, and the remaining part is used to pay the winners.

This one small part that is kept aside is called a ‘vig.' And the vig is a small fee charged on the betting amount to ensure that sportsbooks are profitable in the long run.

As you can imagine, the profits add up over time, using it profitable for sportsbooks to continue operating.

This was our quick guide to get the basic betting lines explained to the players. You can check out some Australian online sites that offer sportsbooks and try the betting options avoiding any risk to lose!


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