What is the Difference Between Odds and Lines in Sports Betting?

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There are many terms in sports betting that you will see on a daily basis as you begin your sports betting journey. You probably have heard the terms “lines” and “odds” as they are a few of the most important terms in sports betting. Now, are they the same thing? Let’s break down the difference between lines and odds.

More: See our complete sports betting guide for terms and explanations

What are Odds in Sports Betting?

Odds in sports betting are related to how much you will win and are also tied to the probability. For example, if the spread of a game has odds of -110, that means it takes a $110 bet to win $100.

In terms of the probability, you can calculate it with the following formula:

  • (Negative Odds / (Negative Odds + 100)) x 100
  • (110 / (110 + 100)) x 100 = 52.4%

For -110 odds, the probability is 52.4%. Every single bet on a sportsbook has odds attached. The odds for the favorite are represented with negative numbers while the underdogs are represented with positive odds. Let’s look at some examples.

More: Understanding odds in sports betting

Examples of Odds in Sports Betting

Here are some odds for an NFL matchup between the Packers and Eagles. The odds are listed in bold.

Packers+1 (-108)O 48.5 (-110)+102
Eagles-1 (-112)U 48.5 (-110)-122

As you can see, the spread, total, and moneyline have odds for this game. The spread and total also have a line but we will talk about that later. As you can see, the odds for the Eagles to cover a -1 spread are -112. That means a $112 bet wins $100.

If you look at the moneyline, the Packers are the underdog with +102 odds. A $100 bet wins $102 ($202 payout because you get your stake back). The Eagles are the favorite at -122. A $122 bet wins $100. If you want to calculate the Eagles’ probability of winning, use our formula from above.

  • (122 / (122 + 100)) x 100 = 54.9%

What are Lines in Sports Betting?

A line is usually referring to the point spread of a game. It can also be used to refer to the over/under for the game. It’s strictly looking at the point total or differential. For example, the spread for the Titans vs Giants game might find the Giants as a -6.5 favorite. The line for the game is -6.5.

Examples of Lines in Sports Betting

Let’s use the same example as above.

Packers+1 (-108)O 48.5 (-110)+102
Eagles-1 (-112)U 48.5 (-110)-122

The line for this game is the Eagles -1. As we said before, sometimes people might use the word “line” when referring to the total as well. Usually, if someone asks what the line is, they are referring to the point spread in the game.

Compare Odds and Lines at Sportsbooks

Sportsbooks can differ when it comes to odds and lines for particular games. This is why you should always compare odds before placing wagers. You might see one sportsbook has a moneyline at +120 while the other is +125. The +125 has more value because it is a bigger payout.

The same thing applies to lines. You might see a sportsbook have the line at -6 for the Patriots and another at -5.5. The -5.5 is a better bet if you plan to pick the Pats to cover the spread.

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written by

Sam hails from Grandville, Michigan. He has a rich sports background, including playing baseball at Central Michigan before covering high school sports and working with the Orlando Magic. He earned his broadcasting/journalism degree from Central Michigan University and was a member of the 2010 MAC Championship baseball team. Sam developed his expertise while working with Betsperts, Bleacher Nation, and 4for4 in various areas such as writing, social media, betting research, and business development. He's a big fan of the NBA, NFL, and MLB, highly interested in data and statistics.

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