Sports wagering is a game of skill. The challenge is to gather and analyze as much information as possible, weigh the probabilities, and compare your opinion with the odds maker. Make the right call and win! In our wagering guide, we have compiled all the necessary information concerning the various types of wagers along with detailed examples for specific sports to make you a more knowledgeable bettor. Take the time to educate yourself and watch the winnings role in! TOP
A straight wager, also referred to as a "side", is when you pick the team or person you believe is going to win. The straight or side wager can be governed by a point spread, money line, or sometimes both depending on the sport.TOP
The team perceived to have less chance of winning a game is given a handicap of a certain number of points for wagering purposes. This handicap is known as the "point spread," and is sometimes called the "line" or "price." If a team has a greater number of points after the point spread has been factored into its final score, it is said to have "covered the spread."
The favorite is always listed with a negative number. Why a negative number? For wagering purposes, 8 points are subtracted from the favorite's final score. If the favorite still has more points than the underdog after these points have been subtracted, then a bet on the favorite wins.
Conversely, the underdog is given a positive number because 8 points are added to the underdog's final score to determine a wager's winners and losers. If these additional points produce a score higher than the favorite's final score, then a bet on the underdog wins.
These types of bets are common in football, basketball, and some hockey (puck line) wagers. All point-spread bets are 11/10 payouts, or $11 to win $10, unless otherwise noted. For examples check out the individual sport you are interested in wagering on. TOP
The money line, also referred to as "odds", lists how much money your wager will return. In most sports "-110" will be offered for all side and total bets. For the moment, we will only discuss this number. Fluctuating money lines will be explained below.
The easiest way to understand the "-110" figure is to consider $110 the price of the bet if you would like to win $100: if you bet $110 and your bet wins, you will receive earnings of $100. Of course you may bet any amount between the minimum and maximum and it is this fraction (110/100 or 11/10) that will always be used to compute your winnings. So, if you bet $11 and your bet wins, you will win $10. If you bet $55, you'll win $50.
The -110 money line is used by the house to guarantee that it receives some payment for its services. If the house offered even odds (1/1) and the "action," or the total of all wagers received, was divided evenly across the two teams, the house would be doing volunteer work: handing all the loser's money over to the winners with nothing left over. This money line comprises, in a sense, even odds with a 10% house commission - sometimes called the "juice," "vigorish," or "vig" - for providing the action.
The types of bets are common in baseball, golf, tennis, horses and futures, but can also be applied to football and hockey on occasion. For examples check out the individual sport you are interested in wagering on. TOP
Point Spread with Odds
This type of wager is used mainly for golf and hockey matchups. This is a combination of the two. The selection must win by the point spread and the payoff is calculated by the odds. TOP
The total is the sum of all points scored in the game. Two bets are available on totals: the "over" bet, in which you wager that the combined scores of the two teams will exceed the listed number, and the "under" bet, in which you wager that the combined scores of the two teams will not reach the listed total. The number in parentheses (-110) is the money line, as explained above. If the sum of all points in the game equals the total exactly, it is called a "push" or "no action" and all wagers are returned, no one wins or loses. TOP
A parlay is a single bet that links together anywhere from 2 to 6 individual plays. The parlay can be comprised of a series of bets on a team, over/under bets, or any mixture of the two. For the parlay to be a winning wager, every one of its individual plays must win. If any of the individual plays is not a winner, then the entire parlay wager loses.
If, however, one of the individual plays is a "PUSH," or "NO ACTION", then the parlay is still on for the remaining plays. A three-play parlay would become a two-play parlay; a two-play parlay would become a straight bet, with corresponding reductions of the payoff.
Why wager on a parlay and not make several individual bets? The payouts for parlays are significantly higher than for individual bets. But remember, since every one of the individual plays must win, it's an all-or-nothing bet. If you win two out of three plays, the parlay still loses, whereas you would have won those two plays as individual straight bets. You are given better odds because predicting the outcomes of several plays together is significantly more difficult than predicting any individual play.
You cannot parlay circled games.
The risk/win odds for parlay bets is as follows:
PARLAYS PAYOFFS BOX
|# of Teams||Payoff|
Round robins are a useful tool to cover your bases when betting parlays. A round robin is not really a wager in and of itself, but rather a method or strategy of making 2 play parlays. (If you are not familiar with parlays, please read that section first). A round robin is akin to "boxing" an exacta in horse racing: you pick 3 or more plays (up to 18) and receive a set of 2 play parlays consisting of every possible combination of those three plays. If any two of the plays are winners, you are guaranteed to have that combination as a parlay.
Because a round robin is in essence a set of 2 play parlays, the payouts and terms of that wager apply: the payout is 5/13 and both plays in the individual parlays must win; if one play loses, the parlay loses (but you may still have other winning parlays in the round robin).
Each of the parlays that make up the round robin is a separate wager, so you must risk the original amount of your wager for each combination you receive in asking for a round robin. For example, a three play round robin has three possible parlay combinations. A $50 round robin would thus require that you wager $50 for each of these combinations, for a total of $150. At a 5/13 payout for each of the parlays, the maximum amount that you could win would be $130 for each, or a total of $390.
"If bets" are used by many players as a method of money management. Like a parlay, an if bet links together 2 or more individual plays. Unlike a parlay, an if bet is not an all-or-nothing wager: the individual plays remain individual wagers and pay at the listed money line if they win.
For purposes of explanation, let's concentrate on an if bet that contains just two wagers. You bet on an initial team or total, if that wager wins then the second wager that you chose will automatically be placed. You should therefore always list the bet you are most confident about first. If your initial bet loses, then the second wager is not placed. The status of the linked bets has nothing to do with the games' starting times or what order they are played; it is strictly a logical relation. Even if the first game in your if bet is played hours after the second one, the status of the second bet must wait for the first game's results.
The amount of the total wager is collected at the time you place the entire bet sequence. All individual wagers that comprise the 'if bet' must be for the same amount. You can only bet the same or less on the following wager. The advantage of playing an 'if bet' is that it reduces your exposure to losses. Since the second wager is placed only if you win, the maximum amount that you can lose is the amount of the first wager. If the first wager wins, then the original stake is used to place the second wager and so on.
If bets can contain up to 6 individual plays, and the process just described continues for each one. If at any time an individual wager loses, then the remaining wagers will not be placed.
Players have an option for choosing the conditions of an if bet: "single action" or "double action." Single action specifies that the remaining bets in the sequence will only be placed if the preceding bet wins. If the preceding bet is a "push" or is cancelled for any other reason, then the remaining bets will not be placed. Double action specifies that the remaining bets in the sequence will be placed if the preceding bet wins, results in a "push" or is cancelled for any other reason. In other words, "double action" means that the remaining bets in the sequence will be not be placed only if the preceding bet loses.
Reverse bets are simply "if bets" that work in both directions. If you aren't familiar with "if bets," please read that section before continuing.
All reverse bets are double action: the remaining bets in the sequence will be placed if the preceding bet is a win, a "push," or is cancelled for any reason. An "if bet" (double action) follows the sequence "if X wins, ties or cancels then Y." Placing a reverse bet will include that sequence and its opposite: "if X wins, ties or cancels then Y" AND "if Y wins, ties or cancels then X." As you can see, reverse bets contain two "if bet" sequences, and you must lay down an equal amount for each one: an if bet for $110 is $220 as a reverse bet.
A reverse bet merely reverses the order of an initial "if bet": if there was a third bet "Z," then a reverse bet would include these two sequences: "if X wins, ties or cancels then Y. if Y wins, ties or cancels then Z" AND "if Z wins, ties, or cancels then Y. if Y wins, ties or cancels then X." It would not, however, include this sequence: "if Y wins, ties or cancels the X. if X wins, ties or cancels then Z." You must specify the exact order of the initial "if bet," and the reverse does exactly what its name implies: it reverses the order of that sequence but cannot shuffle it.
The advantage of playing reverse bets is that you are still able to limit your exposure to losses while expanding the possible combinations that will produce winning wagers.
A future bet is a straight bet on an event or outcome that is relatively far off in the future. For example, you can bet that the Minnesota Vikings will win the Super Bowl long before the NFL season even starts, or that Jeff Gordon will win the Winston Cup before the first race in the series has even been run. Check the Futures Bets section to see what bets are currently offered.
Future bets are money line bets and the odds are continually updated during the period leading up to the time when the bets are taken off the board. You receive the odds that are in effect at the time you place your bet. Because circumstances can change so much from the date the bet is offered to the date of the actual event - making predicting outcomes very difficult - futures bets often offer very attractive, high odds to the bettor.
Future bets are always circled (straight bets only).
A proposition bet is a very specific bet offered by the house. The individual bets have titles that explain on what event or action or player the wager is placed. Proposition bets are always money line bets: some are totals bets; some are side bets, some utterly unique. Rather than attempt to explain the vast array of proposition bets, we'll give you a sample page that shows just some of the possibilities.
Proposition bets are always circled (straight bets only).
Scored Official for Individual Sports
Sport Scored Official After:
Football 55 minutes of play
Basketball (NBA) 43 minutes of play
Basketball (College) 35 minutes of play
Baseball 5 innings of play (see Baseball for details)
Hockey 55 minutes of play
Golf 54 holes of play
Boxing After opening bell is rung
Other Sports For time events, must have less than 5 minutes remaining