It is well-established that sportsbooks and bookmakers have an impact on the outcome of sports events. When betting on sports, you will often come across betting lines. These are the guidelines bookmakers and betting exchanges use to establish the odds for different bets.
You might wonder what these symbols mean. Well, they represent the + and – signs that identify winning and losing teams. For example, a -1.5 spread means that the betting odds are 1.5x for the visiting team to win and -1.5x for the home team to win. The spread might be represented by the symbol ± in some cases.
But what are betting lines and why do they matter? Here, we will discuss the significance of betting lines and what you should know before placing a bet. So, let’s get into it.
What Are Betting Lines?
Betting lines are the guidelines that bookmakers and betting exchanges use to help determine the odds for different types of bets. When you look at the odds for something like a National Football League (NFL) game, you will see that they are generally higher for underdogs (teams that people think aren’t as good as they actually are).
This is mostly because NFL games are more unpredictable than other major sports leagues. Due to this, there are more opportunities for underdogs to cover the spread and win the game. So, when you see large spreads like this – 55 points, the New England Patriots are favored to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by 55 points – you can assume that there will be more opportunities for punters to make money. Of course, as mentioned above, this is not always the case. You just have to know how to interpret the numbers properly.
The Significance Of Betting Lines
Every year, in the springtime, you will see the lines fluctuate as teams make moves, injuries happen, and more speculation takes place. But, as summer gets closer and the season begins, you will notice that the lines become more static, particularly for major sporting events. This is because there is less fluctuation in the betting market when fewer games are left to be played. At this point, the lines will start to take on more of a fixed form, which is generally indicative of how the rest of the season will play out.
Certainty is important in all areas of life, and especially when it comes to finances. When you have certainty in the betting market, you know exactly what you are getting into. There are no surprises in terms of the spreads and points-totals. This in turn, makes betting less risky, at least from a financial perspective. As someone who likes to put money on sporting events, I can tell you that this is one place you don’t want to be risk-averse.
With all this in mind, let’s take a closer look at how + and – signs work in NBA and NHL betting lines.
How Do + And – Signs Work In NBA Betting Lines?
In most sports, the + and – signs are not particularly complex. However, in the NBA, they have special significance, which, as we have established, makes it a bit more complicated. Specifically, when you see a + or – sign next to a number, it usually indicates that the odds of that number being scored will be increased or decreased, respectively, in relation to the odds indicated by the other numbers.
Most notably, in the NBA, a +100 boost is applied to the odds of a team scoring 10 or more points in a game. Similarly, a -100 drop is applied to the odds of a team scoring fewer than 10 points. This is known as a prop (propaganda odds) because, essentially, the bookmakers are trying to influence your opinion by getting you to lay bets on teams with high and low scoring averages. The general idea is to get you to lay off of teams with average scores and onto more ‘outstanding’ teams, as showcased by the + and – signs. This is why betting lines are sometimes represented on a grid, made up of five rows, with the top row being the home team and the bottom row being the visiting team.
How Do + And – Signs Work In NHL Betting Lines?
In the NHL, much like the NBA, the + and – signs have special significance. However, in the NHL, a +1 and -1 affect the odds, in relation to the number that follows, respectively. For example, a -1.5 spread means that the home team must score 1.5x the number of points indicated by the spread to win the game. Alternatively, a +1.5 spread means that the visiting team must score 1.5x the number of points indicated by the spread to win.
This ultimately makes it more complicated. But given enough time, it’s all just a matter of math. Ultimately, if you’re a true aficionado of numbers, you’ll understand the intricacies of the + and – signs, no matter which sport you might choose to wager on.
As for why the number of points is used, this is to do with the point-per-game average for each team in the league. Simply put, the NHL is a bit more complex in terms of the way it calculates the winning team than the NBA because there are more than two teams in each league. For example, the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs are generally considered separate teams despite the fact that they play each other almost every season. So, when comparing the odds of one team to another, you have to take this into consideration. Similar to the NBA, the top row of a betting line in the NHL will be the home team while the bottom row will be the visiting team. The difference is that, in the NHL, the home team will be on the left and the visiting team will be on the right in terms of the columns, not the rows.
Interpretation Of NBA And NHL Spreads
These days, most sportsbooks and bookmakers offer tools, in the form of apps or websites, that allow you to look up the betting lines for any game, anytime. Just remember to stay aware of your surroundings, particularly if this is your first time using these tools. While some apps and websites might be easy to use and provide clear and easy to follow instructions, others are infamous for their complex algorithms and hidden fees. So, it’s always a good idea to check out the reviews, as they can guide you toward the best available options, as well as help you keep an eye on any potential scams.