The line is one of the most important numbers to consider when reading betting odds. It can guide your decision on whether to bet on a specific outcome or not. The line is simply the predicted margin of victory or victory price given the odds of the two teams involved in the game. The interpretation of the line can be quite complicated, though, so let’s examine the steps to take before you plunge into reading any line in particular.
Step one: Know the Odds
The odds are the two teams’ chances of winning the game based on the pre-game line and the point spread (difference in point values between the teams). For example, if you feel that the favorite will win the game by more than three points, you would put them at odds of 5/2 (5 means the favorite has to win by at least that much to win, 2 means the underdog has to win by at least that much to win). This is opposed to a straight up bet where the two teams would have the same odds of winning (or losing) the game.
Another important concept to grasp is that of ‘over and under’. This refers to whether the odds are above or below the line. For instance, if you believe that the favorite will win the game by seven points, you would place them at odds of 7/2 (7 means they have to win by at least that much to win, 2 means the underdog has to win by at least that much to win). The interpretation of the over and under depends on whether you are betting on the favorite or the underdog. If you are taking the underdog, you would consider it an ‘under’ and if you are taking the favorite, you would consider it an ‘over’.
Step two: Know what the Line Means
The line represents the betting public’s perception of how the game will play out and can be quite subjective. It can change from moment to moment based on the public’s perception of the current game’s balance (which we will discuss in the next point). However, as long as there is no outside interference, such as cheating by the officials or a player being caught doing something illegal, the line will settle down around the ultimate outcome of the game. This means that as long as there are no unusual circumstances, the line can be considered reasonable and you can bet on it.
Step three: Look At The Game’s Past Performance
Past performance is definitely one of the most important elements to consider when reading a line. If you are unfamiliar, the ‘past performance’ of a team or player means how they have performed in the past. When putting together a lineup for a football, basketball, or baseball game, you would look at their historical statistics to determine how they will perform in the present situation. For example, will Odell Beckham Jr. have another impressive game against the Vikings or will he struggle as he did last week against the 49ers?
The line is simply a prediction of what will happen in the game based on all the relevant information, including recent performance. However, it is not always a reliable prediction, especially if there have been no previous games played between the teams involved in the game. In those situations, the line can be very unpredictable and can change from moment to moment. Unless you are an experienced professional sports bettor, avoid betting on lines in those situations as you could find yourself losing a lot of money. On the other hand, if you are looking for a good ‘pick’ (bet to win) in those situations, you could try looking at some of the oddsmakers’ online ‘winners’ picks’ or check back with one of the established sports betting websites to see what they are offering.
Step four: Look At The Teams’ Formats
The format of the game can also affect the line. Some sports, such as college football and basketball, are played using different rules than professional sports. In college football, for example, each team gets only four downs to attempt a first down, as opposed to the usual five. This means that each play is more important than usual and the line will change based on the perceived importance of each play. This is why you should look at the game’s format before making any assumptions about the line.
Step five: Look At The Weather
The weather can also affect the line in various ways. For example, if the game is going to be played in an outdoor stadium, the line could change based on the current temperature. As you might expect, if it is cold out, it will be easier for the players to play football. This means that they will have better balance and be more coordinated. On the other hand, if it is hot outside, it will be harder for the players to move around easily and they could even get dehydrated, which could lead to worse performance and perhaps even injury. The line could change based on whether the game is going to be played in an outdoor stadium or not.
Step six: Consider The Game’s Location
The location of the game can also affect the line. For example, if the game is going to be played in Canada, the line would likely be higher than it would if the game were being played in, for example, England. The reason for this is that many people in England consider themselves to be ‘betting experts’ and are very experienced when it comes to sports betting. They know all the ins and outs of reading a line and, as a result, the line in England is usually a bit lower than it is in Canada. This is only an example, but you get the point.
Step seven: Consider Other Factors
Many factors can affect the line. Some of the factors are quite simple and could be considered ‘luck’ or otherwise irrelevant. For example, if the game is tied at the end of regulation and the team that is scored the most points wins, this would be considered ‘luck’ since the players do not have a say in the matter. Other factors are quite complex and could be seen as ‘truly random’. For example, if one team is an underdog by three points in a basketball game and they win by 10 points, this would be seen as ‘luck’, as there is no way of knowing whether this outcome would occur or not. In those situations, you would have to settle for placing the bet on the underdog since there is no way of knowing if this kind of outcome would occur based on past performance alone.
Remember, lines are simply a way of predicting the outcome of a game based on the betting public’s perception of how the game will play out and can be quite subjective. In many cases, the line is simply an educated guess or a judgment call. In other cases, especially when there is a large discrepancy between the two teams, there could be good reasons why the line is so different. This simply means there is room for argument and you should not always assume that the line is correct or that there is not good reason for it to be different. Remember, in many cases, the line can change from moment to moment based on the betting public’s perception of the game’s current status. This is why it is always a good idea to check the odds as soon as possible after the game is over in order to get the most up to date version available. In some situations, especially when there is a large discrepancy between the two teams or if a player or team is having a bad day, the line can jump up or down, which makes it even more important to check the odds as soon as possible after the game ends. Checking the odds as soon as possible will also prevent you from committing ‘number’ (betting) mistakes, which could cost you money. It is always a good idea to keep the odds in mind while watching the game to ensure that you do not make any mistakes.