There are a variety of ways to bet any sport on the board. The precise number will vary from one sportsbook to another but there are some bets that are common to all bookmakers. In most cases, there’s also some commonality from sport to sport. They’re not quite as universal as are the straight bets in horse racing but they’re a basic concept that every sports betting enthusiast should know. In fact, like horse racing they’re referred to as ‘straight bets’.
POINT SPREAD BETS
Point spread bets are most often associated with pro and college football but they’re used in some form or another in virtually every betting sport. The pointspread was instrumental to the growth of betting on American football which in turn helped the NFL and bigtime college football to grow into massive revenue generators for teams and the TV networks that cover the games. In the rest of the world, this type of bet has traditionally been called a ‘handicap’ bet but the use of the Americanized term ‘pointspread’ is becoming increasingly common.
In most team sports game matchups it’s evident that one side is better than another. Furthermore, even in a game between evenly matched sides one might have a more advantageous situation over the other due to the venue (playing at home), weather or other extenuating circumstances such as injuries. The pointspread is a way to give the better team (the favorite) a ‘handicap’ in the form of a specific number of points. On the other side, their opponent (the underdog) is given an advantage from a betting standpoint of the same number of points.
In order for a player to win a bet on the favorite the team he has backed must win the game by a greater number of points than indicated by the pointspread. An underdog better will win if the team he’s back wins the game by any score or loses the game fewer points than indicated by the pointspread.. This will make more sense if we illustrate it with an example:
TEAM 1: -3
TEAM 2: +3
In the example above the pointspread is 3. The minus sign (-) indicates the favorite while the plus sign (+) signifies the underdog. In this hypothetical matchup a bettor who puts his money on Team 1 will cash his bet if they win the game by 4 or more points. A bettor who takes Team 2 needs them to win the game outright or to lose the game by 2 points or fewer. If the game lands right on the pointspread it’s called a ‘push’ and all bets are returned. Many bets have a half point added (eg: +3.5 or -3.5) which eliminates the possibility of landing on the pointspread and thus ending in a ‘push’.
In most cases, a bettor must lay 11 to 10 on a pointspread bet. This means that he’ll bet $110 to win $100. If his team is victorious, he receives his original $110 stake back plus $100 profit for a total of $210. If his team loses, he’s out $110.
Moneyline bets are the most basic type of sports wager. The player bets on a specific event to occur—usually a team winning a game. If the eventuality he’s selected transpires he’s a winner. In most cases, there are odds involved. How they’re expressed will vary depending on which country you are in. In Europe you’ll see fractions or decimals but in North America moneyline odds are most common. A basic moneyline bet might look like this:
TEAM 1: -180
TEAM 2: +150
To bet Team 1 a player must lay -180 to win 100. We can express this in dollars by saying that he must lay $180 to win $100. If Team 1 wins, he’ll receive his original $180 stake back along with his $100 profit for a total of $280. If he’d rather beat Team 2 the bettor will lay 100 to win 150, or $100 to win $150. If Team 2 wins the bettor receives his $100 stake back plus $150 in profit for a total of $250.