What is Line Betting? How Does It Work?

So you’re searching for ways to bet on sports. Maybe you want to try your hand at sports betting, but you’re a little confused about the procedure. Or perhaps you’re even a little hesitant to make your first wager. Don’t worry – we’re here to help! In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about line betting, including how to place a wager, what types of bets you can make, and much more.

What Is Line Betting?

Line betting is a type of sports wagering in which you place a wager on the outcomes of sporting events, based on the scoring odds available at the time you place your bet. For example, if you think the Toronto Blue Jays will beat the Texas Rangers by two runs, you would place a line bet on the Toronto Blue Jays (ABOVE THE SALES LINE) to win the game by two runs or more.

While you can certainly wager on the outcomes of entire matches, line betting is more commonly used for wagering on single digits or single plays. In order to place a line wager, you will need to have an account with a sportsbook where you can find odds for the game you are wagering on. Keep in mind that not all sportsbooks offer line betting – but the vast majority do!

Why Do You Need An Account To Place A Line Bet?

An important thing to keep in mind about line betting is that you need an account to place a wager. This is mainly because sportsbooks, in order to keep their license in good standing with the authorities, must ensure that bets are placed responsibly. For this reason, they often limit the amount of wagers a person can place without an account.

Since you’re reading this article, it’s a pretty safe bet that you’re already a fan of betting or even sports in general. But just to make sure we’re all on the same page, here’s a recap of the various types of bets you can make:

Straight Up Betting

In straight up betting, you’re just wagering on the outcome of the game as it is. There’s no fancy strategy involved – you’re either winning or losing based on the actual score of the game. This type of betting is the simplest to understand, but it is also the least reliable because the odds will always be in favor of the house.

Under/Over Bets

Under / over bets are a bit like straight up betting, except that you’re betting on whether the score will be under or over a certain number. For example, you might bet on the Houston Astros to win the game by more than three runs. The key difference is that in order to win an under/over wager, you need to hit the TIPPLE! If your prediction is correct, you will automatically win the wager – but if it’s wrong, you’ll lose your stake, plus a small fee for taking the bet. Remember: the house always wins on under/over bets, no matter what!

Accentuate The Positive

The accentuate the positive is a tried and true betting strategy that’s been around for centuries. Essentially, it means you look for the positive in every situation, no matter how bleak it seems. For example, you might think that the Cleveland Cavaliers will struggle to put up a good fight against the Golden State Warriors, and you’d bet on the Cleveland Cavaliers (ABOVE THE SALES LINE) to win the game. The strategy behind this bet is that, while the Cavs may not seem like a good match for the Warriors, they might actually surprise everyone and put up a good fight, which would make the outcome of the game more positive for you.

Which Types Of Bets Can You Place On Your Line?

The types of bets you can make on your line depend on the book you’re in. However, there are some general rules that apply to all types of sports betting:


In non-straight up betting, you’re just wagering on the outcome of the game, but you have some degree of control over which way the game will go. You can choose between laying straight up – which is when you wager on the game without any regard for the odds – or you can play around with fractions. Say you think the Arizona Diamondbacks will beat the Los Angeles Dodgers by one run, but you also think the Diamondbacks have a 40% chance of winning the game. For the sake of argument, let’s say you want to bet on the Dodgers (ABOVE THE SALES LINE). In this case, you would lay off (not wager) one run, but you would wager one and a half, or 0.5, on the outcome of the game.

While playing around with fractions is a great way to make extra money, it’s important to keep in mind the risks associated with this type of betting. For example, if you’re choosing between the Denver Nuggets and the Utah Jazz, and you’re pretty sure the latter will win by one, but you’re not sure which way the former will turn out, you could end up losing more than you win. More information on this particular type of betting can be found here.


If you’re in a casino or other legal betting establishment, you can place a straight up bet. This is the simplest and most popular type of bet, as it’s the way most people want to bet anyway. Remember: in most cases, you will need an account to place a straight up bet, so make sure you’re registered with a sportsbook.

NON-STRAIGHT UP (A.K.A. Fractions)

Non-straight up bets are a great way to make extra money, as they give you a measure of control over the outcome of the game. You can use fractions to lay off or wager on a game, just as you would with a straight up bet. For example, say you think the Chicago Cubs will beat the Los Angeles Dodgers by one run, but you’re not sure which way the game will go. You can wager on the Cubs (ABOVE THE SALES LINE) to win by one run, or you can lay off one run and wager on whether or not the Cubs will cover the point spread in the game. The key difference here is that you don’t have to find exact odds for the game – you can use fractions to make the wager. If you’re not sure how fractions work, don’t worry – we explained it all above in the section on under/over bets!


If you’re in a live betting environment (i.e. a real casino), the over / under bets are what you’d usually find. You can bet on the favorite (the team you think will win) to cover the spread (the amount by which they will win), or you can choose to lay off (not wager) on the spread. Say you think the Seattle Seahawks will beat the Green Bay Packers by three and a half points – you would lay off three and a half points, but you would wager on the Seahawks (ABOVE THE SALES LINE) to win by three points or more.

How Does Line Betting Work?

Now that you’re familiar with the various types of bets you can make, it’s time to dive into how they work. Let’s begin with the basics – what are the odds of winning on a line bet?

The answer to this question varies from book to book, but most sportsbooks will give you the winning percentage for each bet type. For example, if you’re in Fantasy Football, you’ll see a button that says FOOTBALL BETTING above the sales line, and it will list the winning percentage of all the different types of bets you can make on the football games that are scheduled to occur that week. When you click on this, it will bring up a table with the winning percentages for each team (as well as for the overall league).