Why Do Sportsbooks Set Betting Lines?

You walk into a sportsbook to place your wager, and the first thing that catches your eye are the glorious odds and lines for the upcoming sports events. It’s the nature of the beast (pun intended). After all, people are drawn to sports betting because the odds are usually in their favor.

But did you know that most sportsbooks set the odds for sporting events fairly heavily in favor of the house, meaning that you’ll need to adjust your strategy a little bit to beat the odds?

Here’s a look at how the odds at a typical sportsbook are calculated and how you can use this to your advantage when placing wagers.

The Theory Of Odds

The basic idea behind odds is simple enough. If you’re not familiar, odds are simply the likelihood that you’ll win or lose given a certain outcome of an event. For example, if you bet $100 that the Kansas City Chiefs will win the Super Bowl this year and they don’t, you would lose your $100 bet. But if they do win the big game, then your $100 would be worth $200, since you would have doubled your money.

You’ll notice that odds for most sporting events are always displayed with an upper limit and a lower limit. The first is the maximum amount that you’ll receive if you win, and the second is the minimum amount you’ll receive if you lose. So, for example, if you bet $100 on the San Francisco 49ers and they win the game, you’ll receive $150 as the maximum win, with the minimum win amount being the $100 that you originally bet. In other words, if the event ends in a tie, then both teams will receive the same amount, as there is no lower limit in place for ties. It’s a lot like poker, where the more you bet, the more you’ll probably win. However, in sports betting, you need to be careful not to bet so much that you exhaust all of your bankroll, or you’ll eventually lose all of your money.

Why Don’t Sportsbooks Just Pay Out Even Money?

There’s a good reason why most sportsbooks don’t pay out even money when it comes to their odds. Simply put, taking even money on a winning bet is rarely a good idea, as most sportsbooks and bookmakers make their money off of the vigorish, or percentage, that they charge on all winning bets. This way, they make money even when events end in a tie. In fact, in most cases, they’ll make money even when the favorites lose.

So if you’re really determined to make money off of some random event, you should probably avoid betting on the favorites in most situations, as you’ll be laying off a lot of money, especially if the favorite wins. Instead, look for underdogs that are almost always bet on, as they tend to produce more fruitful results for bettors (and they’re much easier to identify).

Odds Are Calculated Differently At Different Sportsbooks

Different sportsbooks will calculate odds differently, so it’s important to be aware of this when betting at a sportsbook that you’re not familiar with. The first thing you’ll want to do is figure out how the sportsbook calculates their odds, as this will have a profound impact on how you should approach placing your wagers.

For example, if you’re at a sportsbook that uses the Over/Under line to display their odds, you’ll need to figure out which line to use when betting, as the odds will be different depending on whether you bet on the Over or Under. You’ll also need to check to see if the sportsbook favors one outcome over the other, or if they’re relatively even-handed in their calculations. This may mean that you have to adjust your strategy a bit to get the best odds possible at that particular sportsbook. In most cases, this will involve finding the money line or totals to use when betting, as these are the two most popular ways to wager at sportsbooks.

Knowing How To Calculate The Odds Is Critical To Making Money In The Sport

If you want to make money off of football, you’ll need to know the odds of each team winning the Super Bowl this year. You’ll also need to figure out how the sportsbooks sets these odds, as this will inform you of how strong of an edge you have at winning the big game this year. In most cases, you’ll need to use some form of statistical analysis to figure these odds out, since they’re based on historic trends and current evidence gathered through game observation (with a little bit of guesswork thrown in).

In case you’re wondering, the odds of the New England Patriots winning the Super Bowl this year are 12/1, while the odds of the Los Angeles Rams winning the big game are around (4.3). In other words, you have a one in twelve (12%) chance of the Patriots winning the Super Bowl this year, and a four in five (80%) chance of the Rams winning the big game. If you’re interested, you can also use this website to generate your own odds for any sporting event you choose:


Now that you know how to calculate the odds, you can start developing an edge over the sportsbooks at the same time that you’re preparing to hit the betting tables. Just remember to be wary of betting on the favorites in most cases, as this will only bring you money if the favorite wins. Instead, look for underdogs that are almost always bet on, as they tend to produce more fruitful results for bettors (and they’re much easier to identify).

And finally, if you want to be absolutely sure that you’re using the best line at a particular bookmaker, check out the betting odds for previous games that took place at that location. This way, you’ll have an indication of how the lines have performed in previous games, and it’ll help you make an educated decision on which line to use when betting.