Understanding Betting Lines

Betting lines are a great tool for understanding sports betting. They show the odds for each team and assign them a monetary value. This information can be used to make smarter betting decisions.

Line shopping is the process of identifying better betting lines before a game starts. This can have a significant impact on your overall return on investment.


Spreads are a popular way to bet on sports. They are based on oddsmakers’ guess at the margin of victory between two competing teams. They can change from the time they’re posted until the game begins, based on a variety of factors. These can include a major injury, weather conditions, and coaching changes.

The most common use of spreads is in NFL and college football betting. However, they also appear in other sports like baseball (the run line) and hockey (the puck line). If your selection covers the spread, you win. If they don’t, you lose.

It’s important to shop for the best lines before placing your bets. The oddsmakers will move the lines if they’re getting a lot of action on one side, or if they see that there is a high probability of winning. If you can find a number that’s closer to the actual odds of your bet, it will make your chances of winning much higher.


If you’re looking for a good way to get your feet wet in wagering on sports, moneyline bets are the best choice. They don’t have the complexities of spread bets, but they can still yield big payouts. The main challenge is finding the right matchups and handicapping the game to identify a winner. Another key is tracking line movement, which often reflects fading the public by professional bettors.

While moneyline bets are popular in football and basketball, they’re also a great option for lower-scoring sports like baseball, hockey, and soccer. Unlike spreads, moneyline bets don’t require a team to score points in order to win; they simply need to win the game outright. This makes them a more appealing wager for many fans who aren’t interested in covering point spreads. In addition, bettors can continue betting on a moneyline throughout a game. This gives them the opportunity to adjust their strategy based on what they’ve learned from watching in-game action.


A parlay is a wager that mixes multiple teams or totals in a single ticket. This type of bet offers a higher payout if all the individual bets win. However, it also carries a greater risk because the winning bets must all have positive expected value.

Parlays can include bets on point spreads, totals, money lines, and futures. Some sportsbooks offer correlated parlays that allow the bettor to select two or more games with similar odds. Parlays that include correlated bets must win all the games to pay out, but this isn’t always possible.

Some bet types cannot be parlayed, such as run lines and totals from the same baseball game or puck lines and totals in the same hockey game. Similarly, a sportsbook may block correlated parlays in order to prevent players from making ill-advised bets. Parlays can be made up of one to eight bets. The more bets a parlay has, the lower the likelihood that it will hit.

Alternate lines

Sportsbooks can shift the lines on a game to give bettors more or less risk and higher or lower payouts. They do this by buying or selling points on the spread and total for a game. Buying points increases the chance of a winning wager but comes with a smaller payout, while selling points decreases the chances of a winning bet and offers larger payouts but more risk.

Alternate lines can be used to take advantage of public sentiment and market inefficiencies. For example, if you expect a tight game in baseball or hockey, betting the moneyline may be risky. An alternate line that favors the underdog by a few runs or points would offer juicier payouts. This is also useful in football, where underdogs frequently exceed expectations and beat the favorite. In these cases, an alternate line that is below a key number can help your bet remain successful even if the favorite scores late (the Chiefs’ comeback against the Texans was an example). This type of line shopping can also help you find better odds on longshots to win individual awards.

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