betting lines explained

Betting lines explained

Last Updated on December 6, 2020

If you ever opened a sports betting website and came across the term betting lines and don’t know that means, you’re not alone. Do not worry. It’s actually simpler than you might think. Let’s explain what are betting lines.

What are betting lines?

Betting lines (also known as handicap betting) are a type of bet where the bookmakers create a market with only two possible outcomes to even the odds to around 50 / 50.

You might ask why do they do this and the answer is simple. To create liquidity.

People tend to place more wagers when they see higher odds and a familiar name.

betting lines explained

Here’s a simple example that will make you understand how it works and why they do it.

Imagine a game between Real Madrid and Salamanca. A very strong team and a very weak one. On a normal European bookie you might find odds like this:

Real Madrid 1.08 – The draw 6.0 – Salamanca 20

Most Real Madrid fans won’t find these odds interesting and wont place bets. But if you turn this market into a betting line like this:

Real Madrid (-3.5) 1.90 – Salamanca (+3.5) 1.90

now the game becomes much more interesting!

What this does is giving Salamanca an advantage of 3.5 goals. This way the odds get even because Salamanca has an advantage. The result can never be a draw because there are no “half” goals. Since Real has a disadvantage of 3.5 goals, in order to win this bet Real has to win by at least 4 goals.

This principle can be applied to the vast majority of markets.

The origin of betting lines

The concept of betting lines appeared firstly in asia. In many asian countries it’s still the most popular form of betting and it’s very rare to find an asian bookmaker that offers markets like full time match odds.

Why should you care about these types of bets

Like i mentioned before: liquidity! And usually more liquidity means reduced margins for the bookmakers and therefore more probable profits for you.

You are also much more likely to find value bets on an asian line than on regular markets.


Start looking at these lines with a value betting perspective and you’ll start to win more!

Good luck and have fun!