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When it comes to sports betting lines, you probably are wondering what the lingo of lines, odds, and spreads really mean. Understanding what these terms mean is essential to making proper picks on your favorite teams. For the most part these rules apply to all the main sports such as football, basketball, soccer, and hockey. But there are some key differences when betting against the big leagues like the NFL, NBA, and MLB.
A betting line is another terminology for point spread, which is tied to the outcome of the event. It is a forecasted prediction of how many points an anticipated stronger team will win by against a weaker team. In the betting world the stronger team is referred to as the favorite, and the weaker team is referred to as the underdog. These collectively are referred to as spreads.
In a point spread, you have to bet against the forecasted outcome one way or the other, you cannot just pick a team to win lose or it without laying down a lot of money or it would be too easy to beat a highly likely winner. Instead if a team is predicted to win by 7 points, the spread would be -7 towards that team. You then must place on a bet on whether you think the favorite would beat the underdog by at least 7 points, or if you think the underdog could cover and lose by less than 7 or win. Sometimes a game is considered highly contested and balanced that you might have what is called a pick-em where you simple pick which team will win. Point spreads are common in the NFL.
After point spreads are established, you can then look at the moneyline bet. This is generally correlated to the point spread except it shows how money you can win based on your wager. Some sports do not use a point spread but rather just stick to a moneyline bet. For example, a team that was a -7 favorite would likely have a moneyline negative as well, say -200. That means, you would have to bet $100 to win $200. Alternatively there is a plus bet that goes with the underdog, say at 250. That means if you bet 100 and the underdog wins, you can win $250. Moneyline bets generally involve a higher wager to make money as opposed to point spreads. Moneyline picks are the most common wager instrument in the major sports of NBA, MLB, hockey, and soccer.
In unique situations, where a game has a lot of prestige such as the NFL super bowl , NBA playoffs, or the Stanley Cup, you can bet on prop bets which are bets on specific things that could happen during a game. This is a play strictly based on odds of something happen against it not happening. An example might be whether a field goal would be the first type of score in the football game. At any time as people are betting one way or the other, the odds will adjust as people make picks one way or the other.
Opening lines generally come out a week before an event but for major events like the Superbowl, it might be out for two weeks once the matchup is established. Football events opening lines generally come out on a Tuesday after all the previous weeks games have been played and is usually the sport most heavily used to gamble on. Basketball and MLB have games more frequently and usually the opening line might only exist for the day of an event.