setting the odds

Sports Betting Odds: Who Sets the Lines?

If a sports betting site or app is going to stay afloat and make a sufficient profit, they have to make sure that it sets its odds at the right level. A failure to do so can prove disastrous, and the calculations are therefore driven by those who are professionals in their respective sporting fields. 

Every sportsbook will have a head oddsmaker, perhaps more than one, and it’s their job to set the lines for relevant games and bets. 

The lines, such as moneylines, are then pretty much similar across the market, with minor fluctuations; this is why it’s essential for sports bettors to check out what competitors are offering so as to make sure that when they place a bet, they’ll end up with a decent payout.


What is the Moneyline?


The moneyline is the most popular type of head-to-head bet around. It’s basically the odds offered on two teams or individuals doing battle, and here’s an example of how they might look.


  • Detroit Pistons +195
  • Chicago Bulls -235


So in this example, a $100 bet on the Pistons would win you $195, and it would take a bet of $235 on the Bulls to win $100; in other words, Chicago is the big favorite, and Detroit is the underdog.

Other sports betting guides and sites will offer very similar odds to this, mainly because the relevant head oddsmakers will have very similar metrics to consider. 

NFL games

A linemaker, which is another term for the individuals who set odds, has to be very knowledgeable about the market, and often the lines may alter as bets start to come in, with the sportsbook making sure they don’t get caught out. 

Obviously, sportsbooks see what their opposition is doing and may change their approach accordingly, and remember; sports lines are changing all the time. This is particularly evident when betting live and in-play, during a game, when the odds are changing almost every second.

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