Betting lines are the odds that sportsbooks set to reflect how much they believe the public will bet on a particular game. They come in several forms including fractional, decimal and moneyline. Fractional odds are the most common and are expressed as a ratio of two numbers. The first number indicates the amount of winnings you would receive for every $1 bet and the second number is how much you must wager in order to win that amount. Generally, these types of odds are the easiest for beginners to understand and are always written in a positive or negative way depending on whether the underdog is favored.
As the sportsbook takes action, they will adjust the betting line to maintain their advantage. This could be due to increased betting action from well-known sharp bettors or new information that impacts the perception of the game. Knowing how to read betting lines will allow you to identify these changes and make educated bets.
Generally, when a sportsbook sees heavy bets on one side of a spread or total they will move the line to incentivize bettors on the other side. This is a common way to balance action and maximize profits. However, there are some cases where this doesn’t happen. This is known as reverse line movement and it can be very profitable for the savvy bettor.
In baseball, betting lines work a bit differently, but the concept is similar. The money line is an indication of how much you would win with a $100 bet on the underdog. For example, a +200 money line means that you’d earn $200 if you bet on the underdog. This type of bet is more popular in the NHL and MLB, where underdogs have a better chance to win than in other leagues.