What is a 1.2 Line in Betting?

If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either a sports fan or you’re interested in becoming one. The two often go hand-in-hand, and whether you like football, tennis, or hockey, there’s probably a game on the other side of the world that you’re enjoying through a screen.

If that’s the case, then you’ve probably heard of a 1.x line, which is the “traditional” lay line used in North American sportsbooks. It’s typically very popular when there’s an intermediate result – in other words, if the favorite and the underdog both have a chance of winning – as both outcomes are generally agreed to be “in the money” (pro-rated for totals bettors).

But what happens when there’s no mutual agreement between the bookmakers and the bettors on what exactly constitutes a win/loss scenario? That’s when you need to know about a 1.2 line!

The Basics Of The 1.2 Line

It’s pretty self-explanatory; the name says it all. In the event of an extremely close game with an “unofficial” winner, a 1.2 line’s existence is necessary so that the bookmakers can charge an appropriate amount for an extremely “short” winning position. (Or, conversely, for an extremely “long” losing position.)

The line moves in the opposite direction of the official score (or, in the case of soccer or rugby, the away team’s score). For example, a 3-point goal margin in basketball would make the line −3. The amount of the wagering (“spread”) is determined by the bookmaker and is usually in multiples of.2 (hence the name). So, a 2-way 2.0 line would be +2.0 at the bookmaker and +2.0 at the other end.

Why Are Bookmakers So Nervous About The NBA Finals?

The NBA Finals are typically some of the final events of the season, and they’re also one of the most important games of the year for sportsbooks. This is mainly due to the large audiences that often attend the games and the huge amounts of money that are wagered on them. (Fun fact: the 2013 NBA Finals drew a live television audience of over 2 billion people worldwide!)

But the odds of the 2013 NBA Finals ending in a “perfect game” are incredibly low, which should make sportsbooks very happy. Of the 16 official games that will be played this season, only 2 will end in a perfect 10-0 slate. (Incidentally, the 2-0 slate includes one matchup that will end in an 11-11 draw.)

So, even though the 2013 NBA Finals are important for the bookmaking business, they’re anything but safe. This is largely due to the fact that the odds of a perfect game are so low, which means that there’s often a gap between the “real” winner and the “sham” winner. (The “sham” winner is the team that the public is “supposed” to believe won the game, as opposed to the team that really did win it. A perfect game happens about as often as you’d expect given the odds – about once per season. But the odds are still so low that bookmakers have to take extra measures to protect their business interests!

Protecting Their Financial Future

Sportsbooks are in the business of making money, and they have to take all the necessary measures to ensure that they stay afloat. This usually means that they’ll employ all the tools at their disposal, including (but not limited to) the use of the 1.2 line. (This is especially true in the case of the NBA Playoffs – the postseason is when the books make the big bucks.)

Since the gap between the “real” winner and the “sham” winner is usually very small in the NBA Finals, the 1.2 line would probably be the last thing that the books want to use. After all, if they’re ever down to a shabby.2 line, then there’s a good chance that punters will believe that the fix is in. (This is all the more likely since bookmakers are generally against any sort of “herding” of the public – they don’t want their customers to think that their “product” is “rigged”.)

On the other hand, if the 2013 NBA Finals end up being a perfect game or a 2-point victory for the Chicago Bulls (not that I’m picking against them), then that’ll definitely make things easier for the bookmakers. (Though, as we’ve established, the odds of this are incredibly low.)

To stay competitive, many sportsbooks will use a 1.x line in the NBA Playoffs, but they’ll then flip it over to a 0.x line for the Conference Finals and the NBA Finals. This is also done for hockey and soccer matches, to take advantage of the fact that there are no draws in those sports. (For those of you who are trying to become a bit more familiar with this concept, it’s important to note that a “1.x” line in hockey and a “1.x” line in soccer basically mean the same thing. That is, it represents an amount that you could win or lose based on the “unofficial” result. A 1.x line in basketball would represent an amount that you could win or lose based on who actually covers the spread.)

Why Bet On Sports?

You might be wondering why you should even bother with these sorts of shenanigans, given that there’s still a remote chance that a perfect game could happen in the NBA Finals. After all, as we’ve established, not every game will end in a perfect 10-0 slate, and that means that you’ll sometimes have to wager on the results of games that you’ve already lost – or that the books have manipulated in order to make a few extra bucks.

But while it might not feel like it, these sorts of bets are generally quite safe. (Though they can be risky if you ever bet on a game involving the Toronto Raptors.) The reason behind this is that the majority of the sportsbooks’ revenue comes from small bets – those involving single-digits and fractions thereof. (The biggest bets are usually placed by high-rollers who are trying to hit a progressive jackpot or make sure that their teams win by any means necessary. These are the sorts of bets that the books want to avoid, as they don’t offer a good payout in any case.)

In short, even though there’s a chance that you could lose your entire wager on an NBA game, the chances of making significant profit are quite high. (In fact, in the case of the 2013 playoffs, sportsbooks took in over $14 million just from wagers on the NBA.) This, in turn, makes these sorts of bets a good investment for the books. (Though, to be fair, it depends on what sort of sports fan you are. If you’re looking for a safe investment opportunity, then you might want to consider putting your money into an IRA or Roth IRA, which are both tax-advantaged investment vehicles.)

Now, obviously, this doesn’t mean that every game will be a sure thing. (Though, in the case of the 2013 playoffs, it didn’t feel like there were many risky bets to be made.) The point is that, given the right circumstances, you can make a relatively safe profit from wagering on sports.

The Future Of Wagering

Looking ahead, what sorts of things can we expect to see from the sportsbooks?

Thanks to things like instant replay, concussion settlement claims, and “money-back wagering”, the way that sportsbooks operate is certainly mutating. (Though, for the most part, it remains firmly entrenched in the past.)

For example, in the United States, it’s now permissible for bookmakers to offer refunds (in the form of credits or free bets) if the outcome of a game is ever overturned by a video review. (This is also true of some NCAA football and basketball games.) In addition, many books will now offer customers the ability to bet on any outcomes (including those that are ultimately determined by the game’s result) using funds from their online accounts. (This can be quite convenient for customers, as it means that they don’t have to keep coming back to the sportsbook to deposit any winnings.)