Linemaker

What is a ‘Linemaker’?

The linemaker is the individual or group responsible for setting the original and subsequent odds for a given event. The role of the linemaker is crucial in bookmaking as they decide which side the odds should favour and by how much. A well-balanced line is directly proportional to profit, which is why linemakers use a vast array of resources and statistical analysis when setting the odds.

‘Linemaker’ Explained

Also known as an ‘oddsmaker’ or ‘handicapper’, the linemaker is in charge of setting a line that encourages a balanced amount of betting for both sides of the odds. Linemakers consider a myriad of factors when setting the odds using everything from previous betting lines or wagers to the consistency of individual players. Highly researched and technologically advanced, linemakers are traditionally secretive as to their approaches for setting the odds. The pressure on these individuals is often intense as betting lines can change up until the start of the contest and even during, such as with halftime bets.

One common misconception about linemakers is that they are trying to predict the outcome of a game. This, however, is not the case. Linemakers are more interested in the number of people that are likely to place a bet so that they can set a line that will split the bets across both sides and, therefore, guarantee a profit for the sportsbook with very little risk. Traditionally, linemakers set the odds for sporting events or contests such as golf, horse racing, baseball etc. Today, linemakers also often offer ‘exotic’ bets which refer to lines on non-traditional events such as political races.

The first well-known linemaker was Jimmy ‘The Greek’ Snyder who was an American football personality for CBS and brought gambling into the public eye through televised sport. He was recognised early on for his penchant for ‘exotic’ bets when he bet $10,000 on the US presidential election of 1948 between Thomas E. Dewey and Harry S. Truman at odds of 17-1.

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