How to Use Lines in Betting to Do Better

When you enter the betting ring, the odds are always in your favour. The trick is using lines in betting to make the most of those odds and turn a healthy profit.

Lines are simply bets phrased in terms of odds – for example, a half-dozen to one (1/2-6) line on a horse racing match. You’re essentially playing the odds and using arithmetic to decide whether to keep betting or not. Let’s assume you bet $100 on a six-race horse-racing card and you win $400. Your winnings would be $400 x 1/2 – the odds – plus an additional $100, for a total of $500. You would have made $100 profit in this case.

Here’s another example. You’re at Atlantic City’s and see a betting line of 4-1 on the Celtics vs Cavaliers game. states: “You’ll need a $100 parlay ($500 wager) to equal a $100 profit.” In this case, you’d need to bet $400 on the Blue team to win $100. If they do, you’ll get your $100 profit, plus an additional $100 for a total of $200 winnings. In order to make $100 profit from 4-1 odds, you would need to bet $400 on the Celtics to win the series.

Sometimes, the line can move quickly once the market opens. This is especially true at the opening of the New Year. The middle of the year, too, is often when odds move most rapidly, especially on the NCAA basketball tournament. The season finale is usually when the lines settle the most. This makes these moments special, as you’ll often find sudden price movements after a game or event that occurred during the previous week.

Make Money In Small Stakes

When you enter the betting ring, the house edge – the difference between what you lose and what you win – makes smaller bets more competitive. To minimize the house edge, minimize your losses. This is why when you’re in a winning streak, you should stick with small stakes. Trying to back a winner at the track with $5,000 or more isn’t advisable, as the house edge is high in this case. However, if you’re playing in a $20 or $40 pool with five or six other people, you’re making money hand over fist. You’ll be tempted to keep piling in, but at some point, you’ll hit a losing streak. At this point, it’s generally wise to cut your losses and take your money out.

Never Take A Sure Thing

Every now and then, you’ll see a betting line in the news that seems too good to be true. Sometimes the line will be 1-50 or 20-1, and in all likelihood, it’ll be some international league game where one of the teams is based overseas. In these cases, the line can’t possibly be right, as there’s no way a 50-point favorite can cover the spread in an American Football game or a Baseball game. This is why you should never bet on a sure thing. Even if the line seems too good to be true, there’s always the chance it’s a mistake and that the team you’re backing will lose. Sureties are the worst kind of bets – you’re basically playing to lose. It’s also why we advise our members to take care when playing in foreign countries – if you’re getting a good feeling about a particular team or player, they can lose the game for you and you’d be stuck with a big pay-out or loan you can’t afford to pay back. This is also why you should avoid going over 21 on any sports bet – the maximum amount you’re allowed to lose on a single wager is 21 percent of what you bet.

Know When To Fold ‘Em

One more thing before we end this article: know when to fold ’em. It’s always tempting to keep betting when your team is doing well. This is why it’s important to occasionally check the scores, especially in sports where results aren’t final. For example, if you think the Orioles are going to beat the Red Sox this year, you might want to bet on them. However, if you check the score and it’s been determined that the Red Sox will end the season as the World Series champions, it’s best to cut your losses and move on. The same goes for international soccer matches. If a team you follow is winning by a wide margin, you can bet on them, but if it’s a close game with lots of action, it’s usually a good idea to walk away. Many people get confused and keep betting on games they think are close, only to see their picks lose. This is why you should always bet on the opposite of what you want – most pro athletes and some smart businessmen make their living this way. Knowing when to walk away is all about having a good feeling about your bet and being in the right place at the right time. If you keep betting, you’ll eventually lose – it’s just a matter of time before the bankroll runs out.

When you enter the betting ring, the odds are always in your favour. The trick is using lines in betting to make the most of those odds and turn a healthy profit. Always bet on the opposite of what you want – this way, you’ll minimize your losses and maximize your wins. When you’re in the thick of things, it’s easy to make a mistake, so make sure you have enough money to cover all your bets. Don’t get carried away by the line – know when to fold ’em.