Sports bettors have the opportunity to make a range of bets, including point spread, moneyline and over/under wagers. These three wagers are considered to be the most common sports bets. They are the standard fair for those who habitually bet on sports. Overall, these are considered to be good bets for two reasons.
First, they are bets that involve analysis and are skill based. If you know the sport, are able to analyze stats and matchups and can determine which spreads, moneylines and over/unders offer value, you’ll have a good chance of making money. Also, these wagers offer only two outcomes, which makes them a lot easier to hit than parlays, various exotics and other types of more complicated bets. One thing to remember about wagering, the bigger the odds, the tougher it is to win the bet. The lower the odds, the better your chance of getting it right and making money.
The point spread or spread bet gives points to one team and takes them away from the other. The team that is thought to be the underdog will be given points while the team that is favored has points taken away. When you make this wager, you are betting on the outcome as adjusted by the spread.
If you’re wagering on a NFL game and New Orleans is at -3 ½ and Chicago is listed a +3 ½, then that means that if you bet on the Saints, they must win by at least four points for you to collect cash, while wagering on the Bears and winning requires that Chicago either lose by less than four or wins outright. These bets pay a little less than even odds. If you bet $110, you would make a $100 profit if you win. Thus, one a win you’d get your original wager back ($110) and your profit ($100) for a total payout of $210.
With the moneyline, you’re betting on who will win the game outright. With the moneyline, it costs more to wager on the favored team and less to bet on the underdog. Thus, in the above example New Orleans would be listed at -150 and Chicago at +190. The favored team is always listed with a minus sign and the underdog with a plus sign. If you wager on the Saints, you’ll have to bet $150 (-150) to win $100, but if you bet on the Bears, you bet $100 to win $190 (+190). With the moneyline, you’re looking for a game that will be close or one in which the underdog is extremely motivated to upset their opponent.
The over/under bet is a wager on the total number of points, goals or runs scored by both teams in a game. A typical NFL over/under would be +/-37 ½. If you bet on the over, the points must total 38 or more for you to win. Wager on the under and the point total must be less than 38 for you to collect on the bet. This wager also pays close to even odds. If you bet $110, you’d win $100 plus get your original wager back. Note, if you perceive a blowout is going to occur, then consider the over. If you determine it’s going to be a defensive game on both sides, then take the under.
There are also wagers for sports bettors who want to take more of a risk. These include parlays, futures and proposition bets. A parlay occurs when you put two or more bets on one ticket. In order for the bettor to win, they must be right on each and every game. Parlays are attractive to sports bettors because of the payouts. A three-team parlay pays 6-1, while an eight-team parlay results in a payout of 150-1. Put $10 down on an eight-team parlay and you could win $1,500. Parlays have one major drawback, they are very hard to hit.
Many sports bettors enjoy wagering on futures. When you bet on futures, you’re trying to determine who or which team will win either an award or a title at the end of the season. Thus, these bets can be made well before the season begins and may also be played as a season progresses. Of course, once the season starts the odds on futures continue to change as who will win the title or award starts to become clear.
Finally, there are proposition or props bets. A proposition bet is, in essence, a wager on a specific occurrence either within a game or during a season. These may include which team will win the coin flip before the Super Bowl, how many times a player might be fined during a season or the over/under on a specific player’s homerun total for the year. These wagers tend to be inventive and very difficult to predict.
Although many sports bettors engage in parlay, futures and prop betting, the bread-and-butter of the professional sports bettor are the standard wagers, which are the point spread, moneyline and over/under. Focus on these latter bets, playing the former for a change of pace and when you have a little extra cash around. Steady wagering habits, careful use of units and value-based bets are all part of a winning formula. Make smart wagers and you’ll win cash.