What is a point spread in betting?
When two teams go head-to-head, there’s always going to be a favorite to win and an underdog looking for glory. A point spread – or handicap – is determined by oddsmakers on their prediction of the outcome of the game, match, race, competition, etc. If you bet on the team favored to win, you will take the points based on the favorite team’s final score. Reversely, if you bet on the underdog you add these points to that team’s final score.
Take this scenario: If Brooklyn is the favored team to beat Washington by 2.5 points, and you bet on Brooklyn to be victorious, you’re betting Brooklyn will win by more than 2.5 points. Alternatively, if you bet on Washington (the underdog) to win, then they can either win, tie, or lose the game by less than 2.5 points and you will still win your bet.
How do bookmakers calculate points spread?
Bookmakers use several methods when calculating a point spread. The goal is to find a line that accurately reflects the competitive difference between two teams. Determining factors include the team’s or player’s recent performances, injuries, weather, and player or coaching matchups. These factors will be accumulated to derive a numerical team rating – often called power ratings – which will then be used to determine the spread.
What is a moneyline bet?
A moneyline bet is the simplest bet you can make when betting at a sportsbook. There are no point spreads to consider; moneyline bets are simply about who wins. When betting the moneyline, your potential bet pay-out will change depending on which team is favored. The payout is presented in relation to a $100 wager. A + sign represents how much more than $100 the bet pays. Reversely, a - sign represents how much you must bet to win $100.
If Brooklyn is seen as the stronger team at -143, then the bettor will have to bet $143 in order to win $100. Adversely, if you bet $100 bet on the underdog Washington at +120, the bettor will win $120 from the same $100 bet.
Points Total (Over/Under)
What is an over/under in sports betting?
The points total allows you to bet without picking a side in the matchup. You are simply betting on how many points will be scored. Also known as “Over/Under,” this bet is a wager on the combined points scored by both teams in a game.
For example, in the Brooklyn vs Washington game, the Over/Under is 233.5 points. If you bet the over, you’re betting on the total points (scored by both team) in the game being 234 points or higher. If you bet the under, you’re betting the total points will be 233 or lower.
What is a parlay bet?
A parlay bet includes multiple wagers in one bet. The odds of winning are higher therefore the payout is higher. If any of the bets are incorrect, the entire winnings in the bet are lost.
For example, a wagerer can combine, or “parlay,” the Brooklyn Nets with a -2.5 spread, and the New York Knicks with a -1.5 spread, into a single bet at an attempt to earn more winnings; parlay bets have a higher risk, but higher reward. If the first bet wins, the bet is rolled into the next game. If the next bet also wins, the payout will be much higher than if game had been bet on separately. However, if both bets in the parlay loses, then the entire bet and potential earnings are lost.
How are parlay bet odds calculated?
The reason parlay bets pay out much more money than non-combined bets have to do with how the odds are calculated. Parlay odds are calculated by multiplying each line’s odds sequentially. The more lines you add, the more the multiplier grows, which, in turn, offers longer odds and greater payouts.
As an example of parlay bet payouts, let’s compare betting three individual matchups at -110 odds versus combining them into a three-line parlay:
If the wagerer wins all three individual bets of $100 at -110, the total profit would be $272.73. However, if the wagerer had played all three games as a parlay wager, the profit on a single bet of $300 would be $1787.40!
Parlay bets are for people who like big payouts and aren’t worried about longer odds of winning.
Also known as “proposition bets”
Prop bets are wagers on a result that will occur in-game, and often has nothing to do with the game’s final outcome. Prop bets can be placed on a team’s or player’s performance.
In the graphic to the left, this football game prop bet is on the combined number of touchdowns scored by both teams. The wagerer can bet over or under 6.5 points.