So "the line" is decided by a model/ algorithm, not the odds?

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Bucking Bronco

Team Captain
May 5, 2014
AFL Club
I thought that the line was just proportionately related to the current odds for a team, but reading around online all the articles and Reddit posts suggest that it is determined by a formula by the bookies?

Of course, I know they call the head-to-head odds/ match odds, "money-line" in the US where I'm getting my info from, and they refer to 'the line' as we call it as "the spread", so I haven't got my wires crossed and am confusing the two - it's just that I always thought it was a product of the actual match odds, and looking on SB now GWS and Hawthorn are both $1.59 with a -8.5 line, so could it be that Australia calculates their 'line' differently?

If it is a product of the odds, is there anyway way to determine what odds will translate to a certain lines yourself?

And if it was determined by a formula, would the lines have been shorter than usual for similar match odds games from previous years due to shorter game times?

I hope it doesn't sound confusing...

I cannot find any answer to it after searching online for hours.


Club Legend
Jun 26, 2012
AFL Club
Other Teams
The way I think of it in a nutshell is... what is the number of points (typically) that you give away to the underdog where the win chance is closest to 50-50. So in a general sense it is 'linked' to the H2H odds (but I won't say 'tied to').

Another way of looking from a bookies perspective, you can say 'what is the number of points to offer the public where half of them take the plus and half of them take the minus and so we end up with a nice even profit'? Which is why you will see the line move, because the bookies are seeing more action on one side which potentially takes from their profit.

The 'formula' probably comes down to past result distributions, weather influences, other things that you can spend way too much time on. But in my view most of betting is pitting your odds against the market's odds.

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Norm Smith Medallist
Dec 5, 2012
AFL Club
West Coast
Both the line and odds are decided by an algorithm/formula and under average conditions will be heavily linked if not identical. Similar algorithms are used to determine the totals etc though which will also effect the line.

A point in a game that has a total points prediction of 200 won't be worth the same as it will in a match that has a totals line of 110


Premium Gold
Jan 30, 2013
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
I assume it's just a standard deviation and skew compensation which would generally mirror H2H odds unless the best defence team is playing the 2nd best. or best offence vs 2nd best offence, rain, unknowns, then maybe a difference.

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