Line betting is a form of sports betting whereby the bookmaker handicaps a team by setting a margin, which effectively makes the game equal.
This margin is referred to as the line, hence where the term line betting originates. Line Betting is only available for events where there are two possible outcomes.
For example, if the bookmaker believes Team A is a 10 point better team than Team B, the bookmaker can handicap Team A 10 points. The line bet becomes Team A to win by more than 10.5 points or Team B to get within 10.5 points. The bookmaker sets the points margin to effectively make both outcomes equal, with odds of roughly $1.90 each.
A line bet is simply a bet taken on a line betting market or a ‘pick your own line’ betting market.
The example shown above is a market for a game of AFL football between North Melbourne and Essendon. North Melbourne are favourites to win the game at $1.60 in head to head betting markets. The bookmaker has imposed a margin on North Melbourne to make the betting contest relatively even. The bookmaker deems a margin of 14.5 points will make the contest even, this 14.5 point margin is referred to as the line.
If Essendon wins or get within 14.5 points of North Melbourne, the bettors who have taken the $1.91 about Essendon on the line will be successful, Essendon has covered the line. However, if North Melbourne wins by 15 points or more, those that have backed North Melbourne at the line will be successful.
Line bets are often confused with margin bets because a points margin is used when fielding the market. However, the two bet types are quite different. Margin betting does not involve the bookmaker handicapping one team or player. There are more similarities between line betting and handicap betting, in particular, Asian handicap betting where the draw is eliminated, as these bet types involve the bookmaker handicapping a team to even the contest and make the betting market more appealing.
Pick Your Own Line is a form of line betting now offered many of the best online betting sites. It takes the concept of line betting a step further and provides fixed odds prices on a range of different lines. Instead of just having one line to choose from where the odds are relatively equal, bettors can choose from any number of lines; naturally, the odds change depending on the chosen line.
Line betting is offered by all of the major bookmakers; popular sports include AFL, NRL and basketball. Line bets on all codes of football are very popular in Australian online betting and as such are typically used as legs in multi bets.