What does “line” mean as a sports betting term?
Another term for “point spread.” It is the betting “line” or gambling odds used to determine the parameters for wagering on either the favorite or underdog in a sporting event. The practice of wagering on a line was encourages betting on both sides involved in the contest.
Rather than just picking an outright winner, gamblers are able to wager on the final margin of victory, with the favorite needing to win by a certain number of points and the underdog needing to stay within a certain range of points.
For example: Green Bay –6.5 means that Green Bay is the favorite and must win by at least 7 points. Chicago +6.5 means that Chicago is the underdog and has been “spotted” or “given” 6.5 points; if Chicago loses by 6 or fewer points, it is a winning bet (if Chicago pulls an outright upset, it is also a winning bet).
Usually, there is a 10 percent “juice” that the house or sportsbook charges for line betting. For example: Green Bay –6.5 (–110) or Chicago +6.5 (–110) means you’d wager $110 for the chance to win an additional $100 if you bet on the point spread.
Depending on which side is receiving the most action, a sportsbook will often move the line up or down in order to incentivize betting on the less popular side. Injuries or unforeseen changes can also impact a gambling line.
Lines are often listed with a half-point (ex: 6.5) in order to prevent the final margin from landing exactly on the point spread (ex: 7-point spread, final score of 20–13). A “push” or “tie” usually goes to the house or sportsbook, unless another arrangement has been agreed upon beforehand.