Types of betting odds
Sports betting is slated to be introduced to multiple new markets every calendar year moving forward. That naturally means hordes of new bettors will constantly enter the marketplace for the foreseeable future. As such, an overview of the most common types of wagers is in order:
Moneylines, run lines and puck lines
Although bets based on point spreads may be more of a “mainstream” wager, moneylines (in football and basketball), run lines (baseball) and puck lines (hockey) are likely much more straightforward for a novice better to grasp and one of the most popular super bowl bets.
A wager of this type is simply a good, old-fashioned bet on which team will prevail in a sporting event. Typically, when one places a moneyline wager on the team favored to win the game, it will “cost” the bettor more than when placing another type of wager.
Favorites have a three-digit number with a “minus” sign preceding it in moneyline bets. This number quantifies how much the bettor would have to wager on that team in a moneyline bet in order to win $100. The minus sign is indicative of the fact that when placing money on a favorite in a moneyline bet, the bettor will to wager an amount greater than the one that he/she will potentially win.
Conversely, underdogs have a three-digit number with a “plus’ sign preceding it in moneyline bets. This number quantifies how much the bettor will win if they wager $100 on that team in a moneyline bet. The plus sign is indicative of the fact that when placing money on an underdog in a moneyline bet, the bettor will potentially win an amount greater than the one he/she puts in.
Incidentally, $100 is the figure because it is a round figure that helps to better illustrate how a moneyline wager works. Moneyline wagers are actually accepted in all types of amounts.
To more specifically illustrate how a moneyline wager would work, let’s utilize an NFL example.
In a Cowboys-Giants game where Dallas is listed as the favorite, the moneyline might be listed as such:
- Cowboys -150: This means that a bettor who wishes to wager on the Cowboys to win the game outright will have to bet $150 to win $100. Therefore, if the Cowboys win the game, the bettor receives his/her original $150 back, plus $100, for a total of $250.
- Giants +180: This means that a bettor who wishes to wager on the Giants to win the game outright will win $180 if he/she wagers $100. Therefore, if the Giants win the game, the bettor receives his/her original $100 back, plus $180, for a total of $280.
Point spreads are one of the most popular forms of sports wagers, and they might be the most commonly known to a sports betting novice. The point spread is essentially defined as a projected margin of victory or defeat for the two teams in a given matchup.
- For example, if the Cowboys and Giants are squaring off and the point spread is Cowboys -3, that means Dallas is expected to win by at least three points. Those betting the Cowboys and “giving up” those points are banking on Dallas to outscore the Giants by at least that much in that game.
- Conversely, those who bet the opposite sides – the Giants +3 – are banking that even if the Giants lose, it will be by less than three points.
- If the Cowboys win the game but only do so by exactly three points, then the line is considered a “push”. Bettors who wagered either side of the game get their bets refunded.
Payouts on point spread bets depend on the odds assigned to either side of the wager. A favorite may nevertheless have better payout odds than an underdog, depending on the size of the spread. To utilize another NFL example, say the Rams are listed as 14-point (-14) favorites over the 49ers. Despite the fact Los Angeles is clearly expected to win the game, the odds of a two-touchdown or greater win in football are worse than one by a lesser margin.
Therefore, your payout if you bet the Rams to win by 14 or greater might be -105 (must bet $105 to win $100). Alternatively, your payout if you take the 49ers to cover – i.e. lose by less than 14 points – might be slightly worse at -115 (must bet $115 to win $100)
Point spreads are set by oddsmakers with the idea of getting wagers to come in on both teams as evenly as possible. Sportsbooks naturally want to avoid being “overexposed” to one side of a wager as much as possible. This helps prevent some potentially sizable losses for the casinos.
Totals, or “over/under” bets, are another fairly simple concept to grasp, even for the inexperienced bettor. In a totals wager, the bettor is simply putting money down on whether or not the cumulative point/run total of the two teams in a game will be more or less than the total set by the sportsbook.
Totals bets are usually set with odds of -110, meaning the bettor must wager $110 to make $100 (utilizing the “100” figure as the example once again).
A totals bet for a Yankees-Red Sox game might be listed as follows:
- 9.0 runs (-110): The sportsbook has set the projected total number of runs to be scored between the two teams at nine. Bettors who wager that the two teams combined will score either more or less than that total will need to wager $110 to win $100.
As with the point spread example provided above, there is also the possibility of a “push” when it comes totals bets. In our Yankees-Red Sox example, this would occur if the cumulative run total is exactly nine. Bettors would receive refunds on their original bets in such an instance.
Parlay bets are wagers that involve at least two games. There are various forms of parlay bets based on the different bet types already discussed above. In other words, bettors can place point spread parlay wagers, moneyline parlay wagers and totals parlay wagers.
For a parlay to lead to a payout, there cannot be a losing bet within it. “Pushes” won’t disqualify a parlay wager from cashing, however. Parlays also survive eventualities such as a rainout in baseball or a game that ends in a tie. However, the payout in those cases is calculated factoring out that game, meaning that it will be less than if all of the “legs” of the parlay would have been valid.
Odds for a parlay vary from sportsbook to sportsbook. Once a parlay bet is placed, however, the odds and lines are locked in. That’s the case irrespective of any other changes the point spread, projected totals or moneyline involving any of the teams within the parlay undergo after the parlay wager has been made.
The more teams wagered on in a parlay, the better the payout. As with all other wagers, the more difficult the bet appears to be, the larger the reward if it hits.
Teaser bets are a form of parlay wager that excludes moneyline bets. In a teaser, the bettor can manipulate a point spread or total within a certain predetermined range in order to improve their odds of winning the bet. Naturally, a teaser will pay out less than a conventional parlay because of the greater probability of the bettor coming out on the winning side.
The one requisite with a teaser bet is that the movement of the line or total must be applied to each team in that parlay. However, it can be applied in different “directions”.
An example of an NBA teaser on a two-team parlay that incorporates the above would be the following:
- In a Heat-Nets matchup where Miami is favored by 3.5 points, the bettor moves the line an additional four points up to 7.5 points and bets on the underdog Nets to lose by less than that amount.
- In a Warriors-Pelicans game where Golden State is favored by 7.5 points, the bettor likewise moves the line four points, except in the other direction. Therefore, the Warriors’ projected advantage goes down to 3.5 points and the bettor then places a wager on the Warriors to cover that spread.
A futures bet is any bet made for an event which has an outcome that will occur in the future. Most future bets involve odds for a team to win a championship or division, but there are other futures wagers available for various sports. In golf, for example, a bettor can wager on a golfer finishing in the Top 10, Top 20, or Top 30 of a future tournament.
Futures odds are set by an oddsmaker based on the potential outcomes.
Current futures odds in sports betting
Major League Baseball World Series
National Football League Super Bowl
National Hockey League Stanley Cup
National Basketball Association Finals
College Basketball March Madness
College Football National Championship