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Matthew Jones
Author:
Matthew Jones
Last Updated:
November 15, 2020
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This author was thoroughly tested and approved by the experts at BettingBilly.com before joining the editorial board to ensure a high content quality.
Author Bio:
 
Matthew is a former journalist and entrepreneur. Before he turned 18 he'd already started an online-shop, grew it to more than $1m in sales and sold it. Together with Richard he is now in charge of BettigBilly. His specialties are gambling mathematics and creating winning betting strategies.
Matthew is a former journalist and entrepreneur. Before he turned 18 he'd already started an online-shop, grew it to more than $1m in sales and sold it. Together with Richard he is now in charge of BettigBilly. His specialties are gambling mathematics and creating winning betting strategies.

Betting Lines 2020

Placing bets on betting lines markets is something that can be quite profitable. This is because markets that come with a sports betting line usually have higher betting odds.

Betting on a favorite to win against an underdog in a moneyline market comes with low odds. However, when bettors wager on online sports betting lines these odds become much higher.

That's why many professional bettors choose to go with betting handicaps instead of moneyline markets.

What is a sports betting line?

A sports betting line is when the sportsbook handicaps one of the teams and gives a theoretical advantage to the other one.

Sports betting operators do this so that the odds for both teams can be the same. In many situations, the favorite gets much lower odds in the moneyline market and for lots of bettors, it simply isn't worthwhile to bet on the stronger team. Online sports betting handicaps fix this instantly.

For example, the Houston Rockets are the favorites against the Minnesota Timberwolves in an NBA game. The odds for them to win without any adjustments are minuscule and the bettor doesn't have any incentive to back the Texans:

  • Minnesota Timberwolves (+625) - Houston Rockets (-1000).

However, once the sports betting operator calculates the point spread and handicaps the Rockets with -12.5 the odds change dramatically:

  • Minnesota Timberwolves +12.5 (-110) - Houston Rockets -12.5 (-110).

As you can see from the example, the Timberwolves and the Rockets now have the same -110 odds. This means that backing the Rockets is now much more enticing. However, for you to have a winning bet, the Houston-based team will have to overcome the 12.5 betting line that bookmakers assigned.

Betting lines explained

From the example above it isn't very difficult to see how these betting lines work. However, if you still want to see betting lines explained then the next example ought to do it.

Let's say the Dallas Cowboys face the Pittsburgh Steelers in a tightly contested NFL game. American football is one of the most competitive sports out there and this game epitomizes that. Here are the sports betting odds for the game without a betting line included (moneyline market):

  • Dallas Cowboys (-143) - Pittsburgh Steelers (+104).

It is evident that this will be a close NFL game, but that the Cowboys are slight favorites. As is always the case, favorites come with lower odds and lower odds mean smaller winnings.

To mend this situation, sportsbooks use betting handicaps. Online sports betting lines even the forces of the two NFL sides out and allow the bettor to benefit from higher odds when betting on the favorite. So the NFL example from above, but with betting handicaps, would look something like this:

Dallas Cowboys -2.5 (-110) - Pittsburgh Steelers +2.5 (-110).If you back the Cowboys to win in the point spread market, they will have to overturn the betting line of -2.5. This means that you will bet on higher odds, but will also back the Cowboys to overturn the 2.5 handicap line.

On the other hand, if you are backing the Steelers in this market, the Pittsburgh side can lose by a 2-point margin and your bet would still be a winning one. That is how betting handicaps work.

Different types of betting lines

There are several different types of betting handicaps. These are all similar in the aspect that they even the playing field out, but also come with slight differences which confuse bettors.

Point spread

Point spread betting is very common when wagering. They are widely used in the NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB matches. There are two different types of point spread markets: 2-way and 3-way.

In a 2-way moneyline point spread market, there are only two outcomes. The first one is a home win and the second one is an away win. In this market, there is no draw option.

When betting on point spread markets of this type, there is always a decimal number in the line. This can be +0.5, -1.5, +2.5, and so on. The fact that these betting handicaps come with a decimal number eliminates the chance for a draw. This means that when there are decimal numbers, there are only two possible outcomes, hence the name 2-way point spread.

On the other hand, when bettors are betting on a 3-way moneyline point spread market, they are also factoring in the possible draw outcome. This is because when one of the teams has to cover a - 1 or a -2 betting line, there is a possibility for the bet to end in a draw.

Sports betting operators are approaching 3-way point spread markets in two ways. In some situations, you will see that the bookmaker will give odds for a point spread draw outcome. In some other situations, if the draw outcome occurs, it is considered a 'Push'. This means your stake is returned.

Run line

Run lines are popular with MLB betting enthusiasts, but other sports bettors can understand them easily too. Let's say the Chicago White Sox are playing against the New York Yankees. This is the run line that you can expect to see:

  • White Sox +1.5 (-150) - Yankees -1.5 (+120).

In the moneyline market, the Yankees would be the favorites. However, in the run line market, the New York-based team has to cover the 1.5 line to win. This means that the Yankees will have to win by 2 or more runs to be the winning outcome in the betting handicaps market.

On the other hand, even if the White Sox lose by one run, they can still win in this market. Of course, if the White Sox win outright, they will win in the run line market too.

Puck line

Puck handicaps are considered as direct cousins to run handicaps. The only difference is that instead of the MLB, puck lines apply to the NHL. Analyze the following moneyline and puck line comparison to understand NHL betting handicaps:

  • Moneyline: New Jersey Devils (+240) - Draw (+325) - Pittsburgh Penguins (-110),
  • Puck line: New Jersey Devils +1.5 (-175) - Pittsburgh Penguins -1.5 (+145).

In the moneyline market, the Pittsburgh Penguins are the favorites to win. They are a slightly stronger unit and should trump the Devils.

However, in the puck line market, they have to cover a 1.5 puck line to be the winning outcome. That immediately spikes their odds and makes them the underdog.

Asian handicap

The Asian handicap sports betting line is particularly popular in soccer matches. There are several types of Asian handicaps, but the most common one is similar to the run and puck betting propositions above. Look at this MLS example and compare:

  • Colorado Rapids -0.5 (-161) - Orlando City +0.5 (+125).

An Asian handicap line of this sort eliminates the draw outcome. In our example, the Rapids are somewhat stronger than their opponents so they get lower odds.

The 0.5 sports betting line stipulates that if the Rapids win (with any goal difference), they will also win in the Asian handicap line at odds of -161. If the match ends in a draw or Orlando wins, on the other hand, the Florida-based side wins the Asian handicap market.

3-way handicap

A 3-way handicap betting line means that there are three possible outcomes. These are a home win, an away win, and a tie/draw. This also means that there's no push in the case of a draw and no stakes are returned. 3-way handicaps can be applied to most sports, but are most often found in soccer.

Online sports betting lines examples

Let's explain more line bets so that everything is clear. Betting handicaps are easy to master, but it is of the essence that you see as many examples as possible.

Basketball lines

Point spread is the most popular market in basketball. It trumps over/under and moneyline markets by quite a margin and for good reason.

Basketball point spread propositions enable experienced bettors to use their expert knowledge to get higher odds.

However, you should know that different NBA games will come with different point spreads. What is more, sometimes the difference between them is quite large. Let's look at two NBA games with different point spreads:

  • 5 point spread: Atlanta Hawks -4.5 (-116) - New York Knicks +4.5 (+100);
  • 5 point spread: Golden State Warriors +12.5 (-104) - Los Angeles Clippers -12.5 (-109).

As is evident, bookmakers can give anything from a minimal 4.5 betting line to pretty high spreads of 12.5 points and more. They do this so that the teams become evenly matched and sometimes you have to include high point spreads to achieve this.

NFL lines

American betting enthusiasts love predicting which way a football game will go. A line can make betting on NFL outcomes all the more interesting and much more profitable too. Here's how:

  • Moneyline: Baltimore Ravens (-500) - Tennessee Titans (+375);
  • 5 betting line: Baltimore Ravens -10.5 (+102) - Tennessee Titans +10.5 (-116).

Betting on the Ravens in the moneyline market would return minimal winnings of $20 on a $100 bet. However, backing them to cover the 10.5 line, gives a clear profit of $102 on the same stake.

If you are looking for large profits from an NFL bet, it is always a good idea to consult some of the free picks that Billy offers. In betting, you sometimes need to consult expert's picks and there are not many better than the ones listed here.

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Baseball lines

Run lines achieve the same thing that most online sports betting handicaps do. Compare a moneyline and a run line MLB bet:

  • Moneyline: New York Yankees (+125) - Houston Astros (-147),
  • 5 run line: New York Yankees +1.5 (-135) - Houston Astros -1.5 (+114).

Betting on the Astros in the moneyline market returns only $68 on a $100 bet since they are the favorites. However, if they cover the 1.5 run line, the bettor will stand to win a clear profit of $162 from the same stake.

Soccer lines

Most bettors wager on soccer matches on the moneyline market and over/under totals. However, handicap bets are also very popular. Compare the moneyline and handicap markets of a soccer match:

  • Moneyline: San Jose Earthquakes (-105) - Draw (+300) Minnesota United (+229),
  • 5 betting line: San Jose Earthquakes -1.5 (+129) - Minnesota United (-312).

A soccer betting line with a decimal number in it eliminates the draw outcome. This means that handicap bets are great for those who want to reduce the three possible outcomes to two.

Hockey lines

As in all other sports, a sports betting line, can change who the favorite of a hockey game is too. What is more, because hockey is a low-scoring sport a line immediately affects an NHL game:

  • Moneyline (including overtime): Dallas Stars (-161) - New York Rangers (+140),
  • 5 puck line: Dallas Stars -1.5 (+148) - New York Rangers +1.5 (-179).

In the moneyline market, the Stars are the favorite expected to win the game. However, with a 1.5 puck line, all of that changes. Instantly, the Rangers become the favorites to win the bet due to their 1.5-goal advantage.

How to have a successful line bet

To have a successful line bet you have to understand how line betting works. However, in addition to that, you should also master a couple of other things.

A crucial element to a successful line bet and any bet for that matter is a quality betting strategy. And not many strategies have been as lauded by people as the Kelly criterion.

Some successful billionaires such as Warren Buffett used this approach to increase their fortune. And if the super-wealthy Mr. Buffett claims that this strategy works, then it probably does.

Incorporating this self-sustainable betting strategy to your line wagers can prove to be a real winner.

Betting lines: Try it now at one of the top 5 betting sites

You now know everything that you need to know to make a successful line bet. All you have to do next is to choose a sports betting operator from the ones listed here and make that first step.

These top betting sites have all the point spread markets, run and puck lines you need for a winning start. What is more, the odds they offer are quite competitive too and can increase your winnings instantly.

 
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Conclusion: Line betting make backing a team more profitable
If you love American sports and watch them frequently, you probably know when a team can cover a betting line.

If this is the case, you have an excellent opportunity to make some large winnings instantly. This is because most point spreads and other similar line bets make backing a team more profitable.

They increase the odds for the handicapped team and in doing so also increase the winnings you stand to get.

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