What is a ‘Line’?
A line is a margin set by a bookmaker which handicaps a team, effectively making the game equal. Betting which uses this type of margin is called “line betting” and is only applicable to games or events where there are one of two possible outcomes – with one person, team or event being the winner and the other being the loser.
Commonly referred to as “betting on the line” or “handicap betting”, a line will be handicapped by the bookmaker in order for the team, individual or event which is considered to be the favourite to win to be equalled out against the side which is the “underdog” or most likely to lose.
For example, if a bookmaker considers one team or side to be 5.5 points better than the opposing team, a bettor can place a wager that this team will win by more than 5.5 points or that the opponent will lose by no more than 5.5 points.
Line betting is one of the most commonly used forms of betting in sports and offers players the smallest “vig” – or the amount charged by a bookmaker for taking a bet from a bettor – making it one of the fairest types of bets a gambler can place.
The margin which a bookmaker sets is dependent on the market and trends in the likelihood of the favourite to win. Trends can move up and down, making line betting an ever-changing form of betting and offering bettors the chance to research the market before they choose the team, event or individual on which to wager their stake.
It is also now becoming increasingly possible in many bookmaking establishments for bettors to “pick their own line”. This method allows bettors to choose from any number of lines in which the odds are roughly equal, rather than only one line.