In most sportsbooks, there are two spreads, or betting lines, for sporting events. You will most often see one value for the home team, and another for the opposing team. When someone bets on the game, they are essentially placing a bet on one side or the other, and the bookmaker will match the bet with the appropriate line or spread. The problem is, not so many people actually understand why there are two betting lines, and many wonder why they don’t just get one line, either up or down. There are a number of reasons why there are two betting lines in most cases, but the main one is historical, and it has a lot to do with the nature of odds and probability. To understand why there are two lines, let’s examine each of them separately.
The Upset Specialty
One of the reasons why there are two lines in most cases has to do with the specialty books, or the books that focus largely on betting on unlikely events. These are the same books that may offer betting on world political situations, as well as some strange or quirky sports events like sumo wrestling or bullfighting. The specialty books sometimes offer very odd and far-fetched events, like the birthrate in dogs, or the number of people that will win the lottery. The point is that these are the books that usually offer the “upset specialty”, or betting on the underdogs. In the case of the upset specialty, you will see one line for the home team, and another line for the opposing team. For instance, if the Boston Red Sox had to play the Toronto Blue Jays in a seven-game series, and the Blue Jays had an 8/5 (8.0) chance of winning the series, the person placing the bet on the Boston Red Sox would receive 8/5 payout if the Sox lose the series. In this case, the bookmaker would have to post a second line, because an upset normally means that the underdog won rather than the favorite. In a seven-game series, this would be an extra $28 deposited by the person placing that bet.
A Specialty Book’s Perspective
Another reason why there are two lines in most cases has to do with the point of view or perspective of the bookmaker. From a certain standpoint, it would be nice if all the books had only one line, as it makes tracking the scores of multiple games per day much easier for the consumers. From a different standpoint, having two lines allows for more flexibility, as the bookmaker can adjust the line depending on the score or the circumstance of the game. For example, if a team is leading at halftime, and the other team is not playing particularly well, the bookmaker will typically take the points off the board, lowering the line on the eventual winner.
A Bookmaker’s Point of View
The third and final reason why there are two lines in most cases has to do with the point of view of the bookmaker. This is the same reason as the second one, but from a different standpoint. Imagine for a moment that you are placing a bet on a football game, and you have a favorite team that you like to bet on. So, you go to the bookie and place your betting slip, only to have the bookmaker say, “Hey, I have a better idea, let’s not bet on them, let’s bet on the Browns!” In this case, the Browns only have a 2.5% chance of winning, but because you have placed so much money on them, the bookie is going to give you your money back with a little bit of profit. When the bookmaker offers you this option, they are actually doing you a favor, because they want to keep your business, and retain your patronage. So this is why there are usually two betting lines in most cases, because in most situations, this choice is available, and it is often a benefit to the consumer rather than a detriment.
Why There Are So Many Different Odds
This is a question that comes up regularly in relation to sports betting, and it is one that requires an explanation. When someone places a bet on a sporting event, they will most often do so based on the betting lines and the odds, which are essentially the same thing. The reason behind this is that the odds will help someone understand roughly what they are paying for, and how likely it is that they will win. In most cases, there will be two lines or two spreads for a sporting event because, as we mentioned above, this is the norm for the specialty books, or the books that focus heavily on oddities like upsets, or low-probability events.
Hopefully, this article has helped explain why there are normally two lines in almost all sports betting situations. Odds can be used to help make sense of almost anything in life, and this is certainly the case when it comes to sports betting. Using odds in this manner can put the consumer in a better position to understand what they are paying for, and the chances of winning. Thanks for reading! We hope this has been helpful.