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Online Gambling USA / Betting Guide / How Do Sportsbooks Set Lines? Sports Betting Money Line Guide from GamblingGuy!

How Do Sportsbooks Set Lines? Sports Betting Money Line Guide from GamblingGuy!

Publish Date: 04/06/2020

Occasionally, gambling may offer more questions than answers. You may wish to have gambling explained, gambling odds explained, or sports betting explained to you.

You may have questions like: “How does betting work?’ or ‘How do sportsbooks make money?’

We’re going to answer some of those questions for you. Specifically: How do sportsbooks set lines? And what is a sports betting money line?

Sportsbook Lines: How Do They Work?

If you are new to sports betting and the money line, there are probably a few things that you need to know. We’ll be investigating what a money line is, how to find the best lines, how to get the best odds, and the questions, ‘How do sportsbooks set lines?’ and ‘How do sportsbooks make money?’

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Key Points Covered in This Guide

  • A sports betting money line is one specific type of bet.
  • A sports betting money line is written in the format of a $100 wager.
  • Negative numbers show how much you need to wager to win $100.
  • Positive numbers state how much you stand to win on a $100 bet.
  • Betting lines are not a sign of which team is most likely to be victorious.
  • Bookmakers set betting lines in anticipation of how bettors will place their wagers.
  • Bookmakers aim to make a profit, not to make you one.
  • Betting lines may change before a match begins, but not after.
  • How to register at a sportsbook

Sports Betting: the Money Line

Time to get these sports betting point spreads explained.

One of the main types of wager in sports betting is the money line. They are known as either the money line or American odds.

In the broadest terms, a sports betting money line is a type of wager expressed in terms of a $100 bet. If you see a negative number, then that’s how much you wager to win $100. If you see a positive number, that is your potential winnings on a bet of $100.

Most of the top bets at a sportsbook have lines that are expressed in this way.

Betting sites will have different lines to give you the best odds. For example, in sports betting, the best odds might be on lines known as point spreads. When you bet on these lines, you are betting for or against a specific team to win by a certain amount of points.

Others may argue that the best odds for lines in online sports betting come from the plain old-fashioned money line. When you bet on a sports betting money line, you are betting on whether a specific team will win. If you’re right, you win. If not, better luck next time.

How Do Sportsbooks Set Lines?

Need gambling odds explained?

Even if you’re a no-holds-barred gambler, we’ve got you covered. Check out our US Gambling Guide for Beginners 2023, followed by our online casinos for beginners.

So how do sportsbooks set lines? This involves algebra, calculus, and public opinion – sounds like high school to me.

Before you start participating in sports betting on the money line, let’s have a closer look.

A sports betting Money line, also known as American odds, is a type of bet that works on basically the same concept as an algebraic equation. For those of you who were secretly dreaming about Saturday’s baseball game during algebra class, the number one rule of an algebraic equation is that both sides of the equation need to match.

Newton’s law is a more apt description when it comes to sports betting and the money line: For every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction. We hope this helps you find the best odds and lines at your betting site.

If you’re interested in legalities, look at our articles about the legal age of gambling, and gambling, winning, and tax.

How Do Sportsbooks Set Lines #1 – Probability and Statistics

The best sportsbook odds and lines are set statistically. Oddsmakers agonize over past performances of teams for days and weeks before a specific game. They’ll look at the previous results of games when two teams have played, and so on.

This information goes a long way towards the initial setting of the money line. It’s not the actual probability of a win or a loss that the oddsmaker looks at, though, it’s the probability that people will bet either for or against a specific team.

A team’s past wins, and losses, will influence the general probability of people betting for or against that team. That being said, many bettors will remain absolutely loyal to their team of choice, irrespective of their past performance.

Bookmakers take all of this into account before setting the initial lines. They then try to set a balanced range that will equal out between the favorite and the underdog.

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How Do Sportsbooks Set Lines #2- Favorites and Underdogs

A Sports betting money line is set, at least in part, according to the behavior of the bettors.

Many people are sadly still under the impression that betting odds are a sign of what is likely to happen and who is expected to win. However, this is absolutely false.

The money line is set in an attempt to create a balanced betting environment. Ideally, a bookmaker wants to set the line so that it’s equalized between the favorite and the underdog.

The favorite, of course, being the team that people believe will most likely win. The underdog, of course, is the team that they think is most likely to lose.

Looking for more? Our guides on sports betting bankroll management and gambling over under are loaded with hints and tips from our pros to set you on the right path.

How Do Sportsbooks Set Lines #3 – Following the Crowd

While you’ll never hear it openly admitted, sportsbooks are somewhat dependent upon one another. One of the ways that they employ to help determine their odds is to keep an eye on the other sportsbooks to make sure they aren’t too far off the mark.

How Do Sportsbooks Set Lines #4 – Monitoring the Team

The last way, but not the least important, that bookkeepers determine the odds in the time leading up to a match is to keep an eye on the teams themselves. Injuries that are sustained by critical players can affect the odds drastically.

For example, if a specific team has one player that is a fan favorite, and is considered a goal maker, an injury to that player might influence the odds. This is also explained in our hockey betting for beginners and basketball betting for beginners guides.

Therefore, bookmakers watch all key players in a team for any significant events and adjust the odds and money lines accordingly.

Sports Betting & the Money Line: How Bookmakers Make Money

How does betting work? Bookmakers offer you a service, but in the long term, the goal is not to make you a profit. In fact, the only goal of a bookmaker is to make a profit for themselves.

They accomplish this by adding a certain amount to each bet. This minor extra fee is known as the juice or the vin. For example, instead of paying $100 on a $100 bet, you spend $110 on a $100 bet.

If you win your bet, the bookmaker uses someone else’s $100 wager to pay you your winnings. They get to pocket the $10 on both bets. So, whichever way the game goes, they win. It’s obvious, therefore, that bookmakers are not skewed toward any one side, but their goal is to get as many people to bet as possible. You’ll find more info like this in our 1.01 betting explained and value bet explained articles.

Favorite GamblingGuy Betting & Strategy Guides To Try!

In addition to our articles about the sports betting money line, and answering the question ‘How do sportsbooks set lines?’, we offer many other articles.

For those of you who are new to sports betting, or simply want a recap, you may want to head over to our sport-specific articles: Soccer betting for beginners, hockey betting for beginners,  cricket betting for beginners, and basketball betting for beginners. They are jam-packed with information about the meaning of sports betting.

We also have a vast array of articles for serious bettors. You’ll have no questions after reading our articles about 1.01 betting explained, matched betting explained, value bet explained, and pick 3 betting explained. If you want to know even more about betting, we also have articles about how to register at a sportsbook.

Whichever way you wish to charm Lady Luck, we’ve got the articles that will help you do it.

Guides for your region

Looking for a specific guide for your region? We got great guides on the best betting strategy for the UK as well as a US sports betting guide.

How Sportsbooks Set Lines: the Conclusion

We hope that you’ve learned one or two things about how sportsbooks set lines, as well as gambling, winning, and tax from our article. Try to keep these tips and tricks in mind moving forward – whether you are professional or not.

Bookmakers are not on anybody’s side; they try to get bettors to place an equal amount of bets on each side. To accomplish this, they use probability and statistics. They are influenced by bets placed, and they keep an eye on the key players of each team.

All of these things affect the odds. The odds themselves are also not a sign of who’s likely to be victorious.

We wish you all the best, and may the odds ever be in your favor. If you’re still looking for the ultimate guide, why not take a look at our guides on football betting for beginners, and derby betting explained.

Perhaps you enjoy the excitement of slots and live poker games instead? We even have articles about how to win at slots, and the best slot machines to play.

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