Betting lines and betting odds: how to read and interpret them

Betting lines and betting odds: how to read and interpret them
For novice bettors, bet sheets often feature things that are quite difficult to understand and interpret, causing them frustration and disappointment when they are about to place wagers. Betting lines and betting odds are amongst those ‘complex’ things that frequently confuse new punters and therefore learning how to read and interpret them is of paramount importance.
Betting line is in its essence handicap betting. But what is handicap betting? And how is the betting line interpreted? Well, it is the ‘value’ that illustrates the marginal difference in the final score that would make the bet win, either with the match’s favorite winning by certain points or with the match’s underdog staying within a specific points range. In fact, the betting line is the advantage or disadvantage given to each of the opponents in order to spread the odds equally, when there is a more obvious favorite and a more apparent underdog in a given match.
So, the betting line, which is also known as “point spread”, is nothing more than  the practice of wagering on the handicap margin that is developed by the sportsbooks in making bets more attractive, when there is an uneven distribution of probabilities for each of the players or teams in a match.
A betting line comes with a sign, either positive or negative each assigned on the underdog and the favorite respectively and also, it is most often listed in half-points. This is to avoid having the end margin landing upon the exact point spread.
All about betting odds
Betting odds are quite different from the betting line. The odds in fact represent the probability that a given event will occur, if we consider that there are only two outcomes of a game.
Although there are three basic odds’ formats that punters will come across (American, decimal or European and frictional or British odds), depending on the regional market within which they subscribe to a sportsbook, we are currently dealing with the American odds that are the most popular across the US based online bookmakers. Learning how to read and interpret the odds is crucial in enabling punters to assess the value of any given bet.
Reading Betting odds
The American odds can be a bit confusing, because they are reflecting the amount you need to bet in order to win $100 or the amount to be won if you bet $100. Depending on the sign - positive or negative - the betting odds are telling you either how much to wager on the favorite (which comes with the negative sign) so as to get a winning of $100 or how much you will win if you back the underdog (which comes with the positive sign) with a bet of $100.
Interpreting Betting odds
Now that we’ve illustrated how to read the betting odds, it is also important to look into how to interpret them as well. After all, for the most part betting is about probabilities and unless you are able to convert odds into percentage probabilities, you can’t really make sophisticated choices and decisions.
For the underdog of a match, the probability of winning as set by the sportsbook is given by the formula: Minus moneyline/(Minus moneyline -100). This gives you a decimal number, which if multiplied by 100, generates the percentage probability of the underdog winning the game, as assessed by the bookmaker.
For the favorite of a match, the corresponding formula is 100/ (Moneyline +100). Again this gives you a decimal, which transformed to a percentage gives you the probability that the bookmaker assigns to the win of the favorite.
Having right there in front of you the implied probability that is reflected in the betting odds, you can more easily make informed and considerably more effective decisions concerning where to place your bets on or how much to bet. And at the end of the day it is these decisions that eventually make you a better punter.