Pro-Line vs Online Sportsbooks

In life, people tend to take the path of least resistance. Whatever is the easiest route, that's the way they are probably going to go. It's a trend that even finds its way into sports betting, at least in some parts of the world. Pro-Line is a sports betting game offered to Canadians by lottery corporations, which allows you to place bets on sporting events in the same manner that you play your regular lottery numbers, and in the same venues where lottery tickets are offered.

Pro-Line vs. Online Sportsbooks

On the surface, this seems much easier than going online, assessing the mass variety of sportsbooks, determining which one you are going to go with and then going through the tedious process of opening an account. With Pro-Line, you need not open any accounts, and you can bet on games at the same time you are picking up milk and bread at the corner store, or while with are at the filling station pumping gas into your car. It's easy, so it must be better, right?

Wrong. And pay attention, because we are going to tell you why. We're going to parallel Pro-Line betting to online sportsbook wagering and when we are done, you are going to realize that just because something seems simpler on the surface, that does not mean that it is better. Perhaps in the early, pre-internet days of Pro-Line, it made sense to go to the corner store and bet on the NHL. But now you can do it at any online sportsbook from the comfort of your own home or while on the go or on your mobile device.

The Birth of Pro-Line

Pro-Line and online sportsbooks both began to emerge around the same time, in the early to mid-1990s. Actually known nationwide as Sport Select, which is the name it operates under in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, the sports betting lottery operates across Canada under a variety of handles. It is known as Pro-Line in Ontario and the Maritime provinces. Quebec calls the game Pari sportif, while British Columbia refers to it as Sports Action.

You can play this game at any venue that offers lottery ticket sales. The rules, though, are the same in every province that offers this form of lottery style sports wagering. And they are extremely more complicated than the regulations you will find in an online sportsbook.

Pro-Line Wagering

Pro-line offers wagering on the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL, NCAA, MLS, European and World Cup soccer and the Olympics. To make a Pro-Line bet, first you must go to the local lottery sales venue and get a betting slip. For starters, you mark the number of games you wish to play, between three and six. Then you pick those games, and they can be from any of the sports on offer that day.

Next, you choose a result for each game between visitor win (V), tie (T) or home win (H), but you are limited to a maximum of four ties on any one ticket. Then you indicate the value of your wager, which can range from $2 to $100.

So, say you are an NHL bettor and you like the Minnesota Wild to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets in an upcoming game. At an online sportsbook, you can go ahead and make that bet, and then you are done. You can also bet the Wild over the Blue Jackets on Pro-Line, but then you will be required to bet on at least two more games to make the ticket valid, because Pro-Line only accepts parlay wagering on straight bets.

Other Pro-Line Wagers

Pro-Line also offers point spread wagering, but you have to pick at least two games on that card. But a bonus here is that they will pay out subsidiary prizes on cards where you correctly hit on nine of 10 games, 10 of 11 or 11 of 12. 

Pools wagering, a popular form of betting in British soccer, is also offered at Pro-Line. For a minimum of $5, you can play any of the pools tickets on offer that day. You must indicate your wager on your ticket and then pick a winner for every game on offer. If there are tie games, those are considered a push and counted as a win. The player who correctly picks the most winners each day wins the pool.

As well, Pro-Line offers over-under wagering. You must select at least two games and bet a minimum of $2. All lines include a half goal or half point to ensure a victor. Hockey games are considered over at the end of regulation time. Other sports include overtime or extra innings as part of the wager.

Combo play is a Pro-Line wager where you can combine bets on the same game. Again, you must wager on a minimum of two games to enter. Double Play allows you to include Pro-Line and over/under wagers on the same ticket. Here, you must pick at least three games to enter.

Props enables you to pit player against player in a game in the following categories - basketball points, hockey points, baseball hitters, soccer goals, golf scores, and in football, quarterback, running back and receiving yards. You must make at least three picks on this bet.

The Verdict

As you can see, there are a lot of easy-play options at Pro-Line, but there certainly aren't a lot of easy-win wagers. Anyone who plays parlays will tell you how difficult it is to get several games right at the same time. When Pro-Line was born, it was a wonderful opportunity to wager on sports, something that you couldn't legally do outside of Las Vegas at the time. But then the internet came along and like a lot of other things, Pro-Line was basically rendered obsolete.