Compared to just a few short years ago, there are more legal options these days for sports betting in Ontario. That’s a fantastic development and all, but new and experienced bettors alike continue to miss out on one of the most critical choices that they have control over.
Line shopping can be a real difference-maker for your bottom line. The simple act provides you with more control over the odds you wager on and even on the numbers you ponder for spreads and totals.
So exactly what is line shopping for sports betting? How do you do it? Is it worth taking the time? We have the scoop in this complete look at line shopping at the legal Ontario online sportsbooks.
What is line shopping?
Line shopping means comparing the numbers from across the industry before you actually place your bets. There may be some ticks of difference in the odds to be found when you look around.
Since each point of difference can have an impact on your potential profits, the value is obvious. You can (and should) also compare the spreads and totals before wagering.
Shopping for lines isn’t just for professional sports bettors. Regardless of experience level, anyone can take the time to do so. We have a fantastic real-time odds feed that you can lean on to boot. Put it through its paces and see how it works down below.
How to read sports betting lines
Before diving into all the ins and outs of line shopping, let’s hit a refresher on how sports betting lines work. When you visit one of the legal Ontario sportsbooks, the main betting lobby will be filled with upcoming games and events. You can select the sport that you want to see and then browse through all of the upcoming games.
|Ottawa Senators||+135||+1.5 (-105)||5.5 (-110)|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||-155||-1.5 (+115)||5.5 (-110)|
The above listing is in American odds. When reading the numbers from left to right, here’s what to remember.
- Moneyline: Negative odds for favourites, positive numbers for underdogs.
- Puck line: The team with negative goals is the favourite, odds on both sides.
- Totals: You’ll see the over/under number plus the odds for both choices.
You can also view the numbers in decimal form.
|Ottawa Senators||2.35||+1.5 (1.95)||5.5 (1.91)|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||1.65||-1.5 (2.15)||5.5 (1.91)|
For odds in this format, the lower of the two decimal numbers is the favoured side. In our example, the Maple Leafs’ odds show they are the moneyline favourites. The odds for the Senators on the puck line indicate that they’re getting a 1.5-goal cushion, while the totals odds are equal on both sides. You can read the odds board the same way for all of the major team sports.
Do all sportsbooks have the same odds?
While the odds on games tend to fall in a similar range across the industry, they won’t always be the same. Each sportsbook sets its own lines and may have a slightly different view than its competitors.
Additionally, operators will make adjustments to the lines as needed in response to betting action. When you start shopping around, you’ll find a similar story at most sportsbooks: favourites and underdogs will be the same, and spreads and totals will be in range.
However, the shopping part comes into play due to the differences that you may uncover. Every tick in the odds can impact your potential profit, while a half-point or more can prove to be very valuable when wagering on totals and spreads.
Which online sportsbooks have the best lines?
There’s no one sportsbook that continually blows away the competition. All operators follow the same general concepts when setting the lines. Numbers that are completely out of whack would be quickly brought back in line after the betting public takes advantage.
Additionally, the more popular shops bring in more volume, so the odds board is more efficient on their websites and apps. The sportsbooks that don’t attract as much action may not have as much movement in response to volume.
All that said, there are some shops that just have more of a tendency to be on point than their competitors. Here are some that you’ll want to check out regularly.
- DraftKings Sportsbook: Featuring an awesome platform, a fantastic live betting section and unique betting pools, DraftKings is a top-notch place to play.
- FanDuel Sportsbook: Simple and user-friendly while still filled with features, there’s a lot to love at FanDuel Ontario, including its dedicated section for same game parlays.
- BetMGM Sportsbook: Live betting is one area that you’ll definitely want to check out, as well as the extensive menu of sports available for wagering.
- Caesars Sportsbook: A great selection of sports and bet types, as well as competitive odds that always seem to be on the money.
All sports bettors eventually wind up having a favourite place or two to play. That’s perfectly fine, but you can also keep the options open by having accounts at several top shops. When appealing odds and lines come up, you’ll be ready to pounce.
Why shopping for sports odds matters
If you like where you play regularly and they’re not ripping you off on the odds, then line shopping doesn’t matter, right? That’s an incorrect statement. You can certainly dedicate the majority of your action to a favourite shop, but you won’t always be getting the best odds.
How can we say that for certain? Quite simply, there’s just no way for the odds to be exactly the same across the industry. Due to market action and the varying opinions and responses from oddsmakers, it’s impossible.
Line shopping is quite important, as a result. The odds at the time of your bet placement will have a direct impact on your potential winnings. Also, don’t forget that a spread or totals bet can make sense at one number but lead to a loss at another.
It’s not time-consuming at all and can quickly be built into any routine. Line shopping is far from a magic answer to finding consistent profits, but it is part of the process that can lead you further down the path toward success.
How to shop for the best sports betting lines
Once you get the hang of it, line shopping is a straightforward process. You can simply check out the odds at the books that you’re set up with, but there’s also a great shortcut to lean on. Our live odds feed pulls together real-time data from across the industry.
You can compare numbers at multiple shops with a single glance. If you see a great number at a shop that you haven’t played with, just click on our exclusive links to get the ball rolling. You’ll get fantastic sports betting promo offers for doing so.
When you’re looking at our feed or checking out the lobbies at different shops, you’re basically just comparing the odds and lines side by side. Here’s what you’re looking for.
- Compare moneyline odds to find the most favourable numbers for the side that you’re interested in wagering on.
- Review the listed spreads and totals, and look for differences that you can use to your advantage, i.e. the side you like getting an extra half-point or more.
- Check out the odds for spreads and totals, and look for the best possible return on the sides that you want to bet on.
That covers the process for the main pregame bet, but line shopping doesn’t have to end there. You can also compare the prop bet offerings at various books. Some shops may have different options than others, and the odds can also be different here as well.
For futures betting, always compare prices across the industry before placing your bets. If you can get your selection at a more favourable price, then the time is very well spent. There can be better opportunities out there, but you won’t know if you don’t line shop.
Line shopping examples
To further understand the value of line shopping, let’s walk through a pair of examples. Let’s say that you’re interested in betting on the NHL moneyline result for an upcoming NHL game between the Leafs and Montreal Canadiens. One shop is offering the following odds.
|American Odds||Decimal Odds|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||-140||1.71|
You like the Leafs odds to win the game but decide to compare prices before betting. While doing so, the following lines from another book catch your attention.
|American Odds||Decimal Odds|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||-130||1.77|
The second shop has the game priced tighter. If you bet $100 at the first book, you’ll get back $71.40 if the Leafs win. The same bet at the second book would return $76.90. For a single bet, it’s not a game-changer, but differences like this absolutely add up over time.
Next up, let’s say you want to try your hand at a CFL spread odds. The Argos are home favourites over the visiting Redblacks, and the following set of numbers are up at your book of choice.
|American Odds||Decimal Odds|
While you expect the Argos to win, you’re also anticipating a close game. You decide to take a look around and compare the spreads across the industry. Most of the shops are at the same number, but you stumble across an outlier.
|American Odds||Decimal Odds|
|Ottawa Redblacks +2.5||-108||1.93|
|Toronto Argonauts -2.5||-112||1.89|
You can get an extra half-point cushion by placing your bet here, but the odds are slightly different. There’s a better potential return at the first shop, but the half-point on the spread gives you that much more confidence. You place your bet accordingly and enjoy the game.
Tips for comparing odds and line shopping
Getting up to speed with line shopping doesn’t take much time at all. Still, you do need to have a full understanding of your goals. In addition, you need an intuitive feel for why the numbers move and what those movements are telling you. Here are three tips that can help you make sense of line shopping in no time.
- Know what you’re looking for: First things first, line shopping won’t make any difference for you if you don’t have a handle on what you want. In a nutshell, you want odds that are more favourable on the sides you’re interested in. Some extra cushion on spreads and totals is more than welcome. Just keep those points in mind, and shopping will be a snap.
- Why did the line move?: Odds can move in response to market action, so do your best to interpret what that means. If one side is becoming less favourable, then there’s a good chance that the book has taken in a lot more bets on that side. Also, when the line moves substantially, check to see if there’s any breaking news impacting the matchup.
- Follow the money: The odds can and will move in response to betting action, but the movements won’t be synchronized at every book. While you’re shopping, make a note of the numbers that seem to be really different from elsewhere. This could signify that a side has been heavily bet or an indicator of where the sharp action is flowing.
Once you dedicate yourself to making odds shopping a habit, you’ll find that it takes just a few minutes of your time. It also helps to expand your understanding of the various movements that you see on the board. While not a prerequisite for success with sports betting, it can absolutely help you get that much closer.
Is line shopping really worth it?
When making a purchase, everyone likes to get the best deal possible. If you take that line of thinking over to sports betting, then the value of line shopping becomes readily apparent. It can have an impact on your potential returns and even point you to more favourable circumstances with spreads and totals.
The time spent is rather negligible, and that’s especially true when you lean on our handy live odds feed. By simply comparing the prices from the top Ontario sportsbooks, you’re putting yourself in an even better potential position. Since sports betting is about making the best possible decisions before wagering, the benefit is clear.