If you never placed a bet on a sports event before, there are a few things you should know before you plunk down a couple of pennies. Here are all the basics of betting on sports.
The Money Line
Some sports use odds to determine how likely it is one team will win and one team will lose. If you take the odds on a match or a game, it is called taking the money line. The money line doesn’t bother with scores, it just cares about the outcome of the game. There is one team that is favored and one team that is not favored to win. You have to place more money to bet on a team that is favored to win—otherwise the bookies would lose all of their money, since these bets most likely pay off. If you bet on the underdog, the team that is expected to lose, you place a smaller amount of money, but if you win, you win more than placed. Betting on the underdog is tempting that way. It’s not as safe a bet, but betting on an upset can be worth the risk.
The Point Spread
The point spread is a range of score outcomes that bets are placed on. These bets are different from money line bets because they assume that one team is going to win, the question is how many points they will win by. When bookmakers invented the point spread in the 1940s it revolutionized sports betting. Before the point spread, everyone was betting on money line winners, which means the bookmakers wound up paying out a lot of cash. With the point spread, bets are often spread between both teams.
The point spread works like this: Let’s say Team A is expected to beat Team B. For bets made on Team A to pay off, Team A must win by at least the predetermined number of points. This is called covering the spread. If they are a heavy favorite in the game, the point spread could be as high as twenty points. If Team A wins, but only by nineteen points or fewer, the point spread isn’t covered and the bet is lost. In this case, a bet made on Team B would win. A bet on Team B would also pay out if Team B upset Team A and won the game. In this way the point spread makes betting on the underdog much more enticing.
Totals and More
Totals are bets that don’t care who wins or loses the game—bets are placed on what the expected total number of points scored by both teams during the game will be.
Bookmakers are always inventing new types of bets for gamblers to put money on. Parlays are bets that combine winning results of a number of smaller bets—for example, a parlay bet that you will win the money line on four games. Teaser bets are when you bet that at least two teams will cover the spread.
Where to Bet
The laws about sports betting are different everywhere. If you want to place a bet on a game, the best place to do it is with a sports bookie online. Just be careful and make sure that you place your bet with a reputable site. The leading online bookmaker is bet365.