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How do betting lines work?


One of the first actions a novice should make is learning how betting lines work. This is important because it allows you to understand how much money you can win and lose on each bet.

What is probability?

To understand how betting lines function it is essential to understand probability. The barebone definition of probability is the outcome of a certain event occurs. When you bet with the probability in your favor you have a higher chance to earn money. An easy way to understand probability is to visualize a dice. A dice has six faces so that means there are six possibilities. Each has a sixth, or ⅙, of occurring. To understand probability it is important to understand fractions. The numerator is the number above the slash and denominator is the number below the slash. The closer the numerator and denominator are to each other the more likely the outcome. Understanding how fractions intertwine with betting lines is important because it is one of the formats that lines are written in.

betting lines

The use of betting lines?

Lines are calculated to give a probability of an outcome. You can use the probability to your advantage by using betting strategies tailored specifically for a certain lines. An easy way to read them is to examine if the number is high or low. This is especially true when an odd is formatted in decimal form. When in decimal form the lines are low then the outcome favorable. If it’s high the outcome isn’t likely to occur.

Different formats of betting lines

Lines can be formatted in two different ways, fractions and decimals. Fraction form is popular in the UK, and especially in horseracing. The fractions are formatted as two numbers separated by a slash. Such as 10/1. By looking at these numbers you can calculate the chance the event occurs and the probability of it.

How to read betting lines in fractions

When you see a fraction such as 9/1 it shows a betting odd. The number in the numerator, nine, is the winnings if the lines come out in your favor. The denominator is the stake that is put down. The addition of the numerator and denominator is the amount of money that is returned. Thus subtracting the amount returned and the initial stake, the denominator, will show the amount earned.  So in this situation with the lines at 9/1, it is a return of 10 if the bet is won. When examining it more the stake, the denominator, is 1 and the profit is, the numerator, 9. A good way to examine the risk of a bet is adding the denominator and numerator together. If it is a large number there is a higher risk associated with the bet and vice versa for smaller numbers.

Here are some examples:

Lines Calculation Winnings
4/2 4 + 2 – 2 = 4 Place a 2 to return 6 with a chance to win 4
5/1 5 + 1 – 1 = 5 Place a stake of 1, return of 6, chance to win 5
9/2 9 + 2 – 2 = 9 Place a stake of 2, return of 11, chance to win 9.
10/1 10 + 1 – 1 = 10 Place a stake of 1, return of 11, chance to win 10.

How to eead betting lines with decimals

Decimals are more commonly found on betting websites. Decimals are inherently the same as fractions but formatted in a different manner. The higher the decimal the higher the odd, this means that it has higher potential earnings. The calculation to read decimals can be seen as profit = (lines* stake) – stake.

Here are some examples that depict how these lines function.

We will examine these lines with the base stake of 100 euros

Odd Calculation Winnings
4.8 4.8 * 100 – 100 380
9 9 * 100 – 100 800
7.2 7.2 * 100 – 100 620
1.3 1.3 * 100 – 100 30

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Incorporating betting lines into Different Betting Situations

Now we will examine how lines can be helpful when reading the different type of betting situations.

Decimal Lines

This bet will function under the stake of 100 Euros.

Game Lines Calculation Winnings
England vs Norway England at 1.40 100 * 1.40 * 4.30 – 100 502
Portugal vs Spain Spain at 4.30

Fractional Lines

This bet will function under the stake of 100 Euros.

Game Lines Calculation Winnings
England vs Norway England at 7/5 100 * 7/5* 43/10 – 100 502
Portugal vs Spain Spain at 43/10



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