How to Read NHL Betting Lines

You’re reading an article about sports betting and you come across an expression, lines, which you don’t understand – what does it mean? You’ve probably encountered this scenario more than once when researching sports betting information, and you might even be wondering if the answer is simply “read it again”, but there’s more to it than that. In this article, we’ll tell you exactly what “lines” mean when you encounter them in an article about sports betting, and how to read them so that you can get the most from each article you read – whether you’re new to reading articles about sports betting or you’re a seasoned veteran.

What are the Lingo Words in Sports Betting?

As a beginner in sports betting, it’s important to understand the jargon that the professionals and skilled users use when discussing odds and probabilities. If you’re not sure what some of these words mean, don’t worry – you’ll learn as you go along, and by the time you’re done understanding all of this jargon, you’ll know precisely what some of the words and phrases mean in relation to sports betting. Here’s what we mean by some of the terminology:


If you’re unfamiliar, arbitrage is the practice of taking advantage of differential prices or poor market conditions – in other words, finding a way to buy things at a lower price than what you’d pay in a competitive market. For example, if you know that the price of airline tickets is set to increase by the end of the year, you might want to buy your ticket in the summer to take advantage of the lower rates. Or, if you see that there’s a sale on some high-quality merchandise, you might want to buy it now and resell it at a higher price later.


A “blowout” in sports betting is when one team is so greatly favored to win that the odds are literally in their favor. For example, if you’re planning on placing a wager on the Kentucky Derby, and you see that the favorite is 15 to 1, you might consider that a blowout exists and your wager is probably not going to be resolved in your favor – better to lay off.


A “bully” in sports betting is a bookmaker, or a group of bookmakers, who fix the odds, or spread the odds, in their favor. Because of this, they have the power to essentially control which teams and players are favored, and which teams and players are not. If you think that this is an unfair practice and that the odds should be set in your favor as a customer, then you’re in luck – there’s an entire website called FindTheBestBet that was created just for this purpose. Their slogan is, “We fix the odds in your favor.” So, if you’re looking for a place to have fun and make some extra money, you could apply for a free account with them and try out their service for yourself.


When someone (generally a bookmaker) gives you odds, they’re not necessarily offering “real odds” – they might be taking advantage of the fact that you’re a human and, as such, aren’t sophisticated enough to know what real odds are. In order to try to convince you to place a bet, they’ll often offer you – what they call a “call” – which is an approximation of the real odds, but one that’s hopefully more convenient for you to understand. A call is simply when they give you odds that are more favorable than the real odds would be. For example, if you’re betting on the over-under for a sports match and you see that the total is 40, you might hear someone say, “We’ll give you a 15% chance of winning.” What they mean is that the chances of your team winning are 1 in 6, or 16.67%. If you understand this, you might consider placing a wager – you’d most likely win your bet, but it would be a close call. Of course, you could lose your bet as well – it’s all about probability and math.

Clean Betting

Clean betting is when you place a wager on a game, and the bookmaker doesn’t manipulate the odds in their favor – generally, this means that the bookmaker sets the odds in their customary manner, which are generally more favorable to the customer than other groups. If you’re not sure what this means, consider this. Say you place a wager on a game and the bookmaker quotes you odds of 5 to 1, as is usually the case. If you win the bet, you’ll receive a payout of approximately 20 to 1 – you’ll break even. But if you lose the bet, you’ll only receive a small payout, like 3 to 1 – you’ll lose roughly 7 to 1.

Cold Weather Sports Betting

In the winter, it’s not uncommon for sports books to limit the number of wagers they take, as there are fewer people willing to bet on sports during the cold winter months. If you want to take advantage of this and try to win some money in the winter, you’ll have to find places that allow year-round sports betting, or you might have to settle for shorter sports seasons. One important thing to keep in mind is how much the temperature affects your odds of winning – as the temperature drops, your chances of winning increase. For example, if you’re in Denver in the winter, and it’s 10 degrees Fahrenheit outside, your odds of winning might be 1 in 10 – or 10%. But if you’re in Miami in the winter, and it’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside, your odds of winning might be as high as 17% or 18% (again, this is just an approximation). Just remember, the more you know, the better off you’ll be – it’s all about understanding the math behind the games and having the right tools to make sure you maximize your winnings and minimize your losses – if you’re new to sports betting, it might be a smart move to try and learn as much as possible before putting any money on the line.


When a bookmaker gives you odds of something happening, it’s not always necessarily good news – it could be that they’re trying to fool you into placing a bet in order to get you to lose money. Sometimes, they might try to double – or, at least, appear to be double-dipping – the amount you’re willing to wager in order to get you to place a bet. For example, if you wager $10 on a soccer match and you’re given odds of 2 to 1, they might try to convince you that the payout is actually worth $20 – or at least, it would seem that way. Remember, appearances can be deceptive, so it’s always best to assume the opposite and act accordingly. In this case, if you have a better feeling about the odds than the appearance of doubling, then you could consider placing a wager – you might win or lose (typically, you’ll lose) but at least you’ll know what happened.

Exotic/Foreign Betting

If you want to try your luck at exotic or foreign betting, then be sure to check the laws regarding gambling in your area before doing so. Some countries have very restricted views regarding sports betting, while others don’t have any restrictions at all – find out what the current laws are in your area before risking anything substantial. If you absolutely have to gamble, then try and get as much information as possible regarding the games, players, and teams you’re betting on – this will greatly improve your odds of winning or losing. You can never have too much information when trying to succeed at gambling. Remember: it’s all about odds and probabilities, and if you do your research, you’ll have the tools to maximize your winnings and minimize your losses – just make sure you do your research and have the right tools before risking anything substantial.


When a bookmaker gives you odds that are more favorable than the real odds would be, it’s generally considered “favored” betting – they want you to think that the outcome of the game is certain and that they’ve taken care of the probability for you. In most cases, they’ll try to give you odds that are higher than the real odds would be in order to make a profit, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. If they believe that their team is going to win, then it’s generally a good idea for them to give you higher than normal odds, as this will make it more likely that you’ll win your bet. If the team you’re betting on is considered a favorite, then you might want to consider taking the opposite view and backing the underdogs – it’s all about odds and probabilities, and in most cases, this will work out in your favor.