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Because underdogs are expected to lose, there is more of a reward when betting on them. Moneylines are available for all sports, but they are predominantly used when betting on lower-scoring sports like baseball, hockey and soccer. In addition to setting a line for the favorite and the underdog, oddsmakers will also set a total number of points scored in a game by both teams combined. You could either bet the Over or the Under If you bet the Over and the total points scored end up being or higher, you win your bet.
If the total points scored are or fewer, you lose. The juice is the commission you have to pay to the sportsbook for them to accept your wager. With legalized sports betting spreading across America, sports bettors have never had more options to take advantage of. To see if sports betting is legal where you live, check out our state-by-state tracker.
Some of the biggest states that have legalized mobile wagering include Colorado , New Jersey , Pennsylvania , Indiana and West Virginia. The sportsbooks highlighted below are all trustworthy legal shops that take bets online. Click to return to table of contents. In the end, you have the final say on how much to risk on a game, but a good rule is risk only what you can afford to lose.
Sports betting is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be good days and bad days. As a result, we recommend a flat-betting approach. They are unique to the team, sport and league, and universal across most sportsbooks. Much like stocks on Wall Street, the sports betting market is fluid. Lines can vary based on the sportsbook, because different books have different clienteles. As a result, one book may post the Cavs -8 while another has Having access to more than one sportsbook allows you to shop for the best line.
Getting an extra half-point might not seem like a huge deal, but it adds up over the long haul and increases your chances of winning. Our live odds pages will automatically surface the best line for every game. These are all a good thing to know, and it can allow you to maximize your winnings. Check it out for free here. In this example, if you bet the Bulls, the Bulls must win by 4 points for you to win your bet.
If you bet the Lakers, any of the following will declare you a winner. If the Bulls win by exactly 3 points then the wager is declared a push and all money is refunded. Point spreads change constantly. The listed point spread the time you make your bet may be different from the point spread when the game starts.
The point spread that is listed on your ticket is your official spread. It makes no difference which team covers the spread. Simply add the final score of each team. You may combine several teams into one wager. Odds and the number of teams vary from casino to casino. The following are approximate odds:. Any game that results in a push reduces the parlay one team. A two-team parlay would become a straight bet. This increases the probability of winning your bet but decreases the odds of the parlay.
Odds and the number of points available to "tease" vary from casino to casino. To bet on boxing, tell the ticket writer the bet number of the boxer you wish to bet and the amount you wish to wager. Boxing odds are shown using a "Money Line. A "minus" - preceding the number indicates a favorite. Tyson is favored to win the bout. Boxing matches often feature money line proposition wagers on knockouts, draws, rounds and the duration of the fight.
Odds vary on each fight. To bet on football, tell the ticket writer the bet number of the team you wish to bet, with the point spread and the amount you wish to wager. The point spread: When betting on football, the team you bet on must "cover the spread.
If you bet the Dolphins, the Dolphins must win by 7 points for you to win your bet. If you bet the Jets, any of the following will declare you a winner. The listed point spread at the time you make your bet may be different from the point spread when the game starts. In some cases, bettors have the option to discard the point spread and bet on which team will win.
This is called betting on the "Money Line". Sports books offer a number of different cards, each one having different rules. Rules for parlay cards are placed on the back of each card. Read them carefully before wagering. The cards are simple to fill out. Simply darken the boxes, or circles, that apply to the teams you wish to parlay. Then darken the amount you want to bet. Sportsbooks offer bettors the opportunity to wager on the outcome of a season -- for example, which team will win the Super Bowl or the Stanley Cup or the American League East pennant.
This is known as "futures book" or "future book" betting. As an illustration, let's look at Super Bowl futures. For example, the Ravens may be , the Redskins , the Cardinals , etc. It does not matter whether your team covers the point spread in the Super Bowl. For the purposes of future book betting, the team has to win only the Super Bowl.
When you make a futures bet, your odds are "locked in. Futures betting also is offered on the major events in horse racing, such as the Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup. In horse racing futures, if your horse does not start the race due to injury or any other reason, you lose the bet -- there are no refunds. On the other hand, the odds on your horse racing futures bet also are "locked in," regardless of the horse's odds on race day. Some sportsbooks offer futures betting on unusual propositions, such as which major league baseball player will hit the most home runs in the regular season.
Note that in this type of wager, all bets are action regardless of injuries or other unforeseen events. This type of wager is typically found on pro football and major league baseball, and sometimes on pro basketball.
If the Yankees go on to win 94 or more games, the "over" is a winner. If they win 92 or fewer games, the "under" is a winner. If they win exactly 93, the bet is a push and tickets are refunded. Among Las Vegas gamblers, golf is considered one of the two fastest-growing sports to bet on auto racing is the other. The most basic form of golf betting involves picking the winner of a tournament. Typically a sports book will list 30 or more individual golfers along with a field all others option, at various odds.
Another popular form of golf betting involves matchup propositions, in which two golfers are paired against each other in a head-to-head wager, with a betting line on each golfer set by the oddsmaker. The golfer with the better lower score wins the matchup. If one golfer continues play in the tournament after his opponent misses the cut, the golfer who continues play wins the matchup. For example, a matchup may pit Lehman minus against Jim Furyk plus Some matchups pit one usually very good golfer against two or more others.
To determine the winner, take Woods' score and compare with to the best lowest score recorded by the three others. If he finishes first, second or third in the tournament, the "under" wins; if he finishes fourth or worse, the "over" tickets cash. Rules vary by casino, but usually your golfer must tee off in the tournament for "action" meaning once he tees off, you will either win or lose your bet. If for some reason he does not tee off, this is usually considered "no action" and tickets are refunded.
To bet on hockey, tell the ticket writer the bet number of the team you wish to bet and the amount you wish to wager. If your team covers the goal spread, you win. The payout is based on a "Money Line". When betting on hockey, the team you bet on must "cover the spread. The Red Wings must win the game by at least two goals to be a winner. If you bet on the Sharks, you win your bet if: a The Sharks win the game.
Note: The money line is used in conjunction with the point spread. All teams must win to win the bet. Hockey parlays are figured out by calculating the payout for the first game, based on the money line, then applying that amount to the next game and so forth.
Thanks to satellite feeds from racetracks around the nation, Las Vegas is a sort of nirvana for horse racing bettors or "horseplayers," as they are sometimes called. Because there are so many tracks to choose from, in Las Vegas race books it is usually necessary to identify which track you want when you place your bet. For example, tell the ticket writer, "Churchill Downs, eighth race, five dollars to win on No.
Otherwise, betting procedure in the race book is the same as at the track: For you to collect on a "win" bet your horse must win the race, to collect on a "place" bet he must finish first or second, and to collect on a "show" bet he must finish first, second or third.
Betting a horse "across the board" is really three separate bets: one to win, one to place and one to show. Hitting an "exacta" entails picking the first two finishers in a race in the correct order; a "quinella" is the first two finishers in either order. A "trifecta" is the first three finishers in exact order; a "trifecta box" is the first three in any order. A "superfecta" is the first four finishers in exacta order.
A "daily double" is a wager that calls for picking the winners of two consecutive races. A "daily triple" entails picking the winners of three consecutive races. And a "Pick Six" calls for picking the winners of six consecutive races, an extremely difficult feat that is usually rewarded with an enormous payout.
In Las Vegas, race books frequently offer promotions such as free contests with cash prizes, special house-banked betting pools that grow larger if no one hits them for a few days or horse racing tournaments. Rules and details vary greatly by casino so be sure to shop around to find those that appeal to you.
Nevada sportsbooks are not permitted to accept wagers on presidential elections, the Academy Awards or the winner of the TV show "Survivor. They are not real betting lines. Under state law, wagers must involve the outcome of "athletic contests" rather than elections or votes of any kind. Even so, "wacky" proposition bets can sometimes be found in Las Vegas sportsbooks. They are often linked to the Super Bowl or another major sporting event. For instance, in Super Bowl XXXV gamblers could bet on whether the Ravens would score more touchdowns than the Chicago Blackhawks scored goals on Super Bowl Sunday -- and that was just one of countless "wacky" propositions.
As another example, to generate interest in Monday Night NFL games, many sportsbooks offer odds on which player will score the first touchdown in the game. These "wacky" bets can be lots of fun, but odds and details vary tremendously by casino, so read the fine print before getting involved. The toolbar contains the following The AudioEye Help Desk to report accessibility and usability related issues. Please click here if you are not redirected within a few seconds.
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If you bet the Over and the total points scored end up being or higher, you win your bet. If the total points scored are or fewer, you lose. The juice is the commission you have to pay to the sportsbook for them to accept your wager. With legalized sports betting spreading across America, sports bettors have never had more options to take advantage of.
To see if sports betting is legal where you live, check out our state-by-state tracker. Some of the biggest states that have legalized mobile wagering include Colorado , New Jersey , Pennsylvania , Indiana and West Virginia. The sportsbooks highlighted below are all trustworthy legal shops that take bets online.
Click to return to table of contents. In the end, you have the final say on how much to risk on a game, but a good rule is risk only what you can afford to lose. Sports betting is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be good days and bad days. As a result, we recommend a flat-betting approach. They are unique to the team, sport and league, and universal across most sportsbooks.
Much like stocks on Wall Street, the sports betting market is fluid. Lines can vary based on the sportsbook, because different books have different clienteles. As a result, one book may post the Cavs -8 while another has Having access to more than one sportsbook allows you to shop for the best line. Getting an extra half-point might not seem like a huge deal, but it adds up over the long haul and increases your chances of winning.
Our live odds pages will automatically surface the best line for every game. These are all a good thing to know, and it can allow you to maximize your winnings. Check it out for free here. Sports Betting. Best Books. Action Network Staff. Download App. The spread - The point spread is used in high-scoring sports like football and basketball. It is basically a handicap used to make all games competitive in the eyes of bettors.
The spread gives one team an advantage of a few points. Standard notation for the point spread shows the favored team first, followed by a negative number the actual spread. The home team is shown in capital letters.
So if Buffalo was playing against Green Bay in Green Bay, and they were favored to win by seven points, it would look like this:. If someone bets on Buffalo to win, Buffalo would actually have to win by more than seven points for the bet to pay off. It's as if Green Bay were given a seven-point lead at the start of the game. The money line - In sports like baseball , scoring isn't high enough to use a point spread.
The money line is used instead. A money line listing might look like this:. Sometimes the decimal point is left out, so is the same as 1. This is known as the dime line, because ten cents separate the favorite from the underdog. Most bookies offer a dime line, although it can increase to a 20 cent line or greater if one team is heavily favored. If the money line seems confusing, think of it as a simple pricing system. You want to win a certain amount of money on your bet.
Chances are greater that the favored team will win the game, so it costs more to bet on the favorite to win that amount than it costs to bet on the underdog. Pick'em - Sometimes money line games will be listed as "pick" or "pick'em. Pools, cards, and parlays - A parlay is just a combination bet. Instead of making five separate bets on five different games, the bettor places a single parlay bet, hoping he or she can predict the outcome of all five games.
If any one of the games is a loser, the entire parlay is a loser. The payout is better for parlays, because the odds of successfully picking multiple winners are much tougher to beat [ ref ]. Most people are familiar with parlays through office betting pools or football cards. Office pools don't usually involve actual bookies beyond the person who organizes the pool, and no one takes juice from the pool.
All the money is distributed to the winner or winners. What's the difference between an oddsmaker and a bookie? A bookie's job is purely mechanical. He gets the line from Vegas or another source, offers bets at those odds, then collects money from the losers, pays out to the winners and keeps the vig. Oddsmakers don't actually take bets -- they study the games and set the lines. Bookies often adjust the spreads for their games, so they do a little oddsmaking, and oddsmakers work for casinos, which operate sports books that take bets.
The point spread for a football game or the money line for a baseball game are both referred to as "the line. When a big Las Vegas casino issues the first line on a game, it is known as the "opening line. Setting the line is a matter of intense research, carefully cultivated contacts, years of experience and plain old intuition. An oddsmaker's reputation is based on his accuracy, and he has many variables to consider when determining the odds:.
Oddsmakers don't try to predict the outcome of the game when setting point spreads. If a team is favored by seven points, that doesn't mean that the oddsmaker necessarily thinks it will win by seven points. The oddsmaker's goal when setting the line is to keep an equal number of bets on both sides of the game.
The betting public's perception of the game can be as important as the actual comparison of the two teams. Why do oddsmakers try to keep the action even on both sides of a bet? A bookie's worst fear is being "sided. If that side turns out to be the winning side, the bookie will lose a lot of money.
Ideally, half the bettors lose, and their money goes to pay off the other half, who won, with the bookie taking the vig. Oddsmakers are so intent on keeping the action even that they actually move the line in response to betting patterns. If too many bets are coming in for the underdog, then that team might have been given too many points, so the line is moved. Bets made prior to the move are still counted at the old line. Some bettors will make additional bets after the line moves, on the opposite side of the game.
This is known as middling. A lot of people might think Tampa Bay will beat San Francisco by more than seven points, so they all bet on Tampa. The oddsmaker sees this pattern and moves the line, giving Tampa Now, Tampa has to win by more than ten points for bets placed on Tampa to win. A bettor can place another bet with the new line, this time on San Francisco. If Tampa wins the game by eight points, the bettor has middled -- he's won on both bets.
Sometimes a single well-known gambler can force oddsmakers to move the line. When one of these gamblers makes a bet, a lot of people pay attention and bet the same way, because he has a reputation for winning frequently. This can draw so much action to one side of the bet that the oddsmaker must move the line. Often oddsmakers will move the line independently of the Vegas line in response to local betting patterns.
Over time, they gain experience in setting the odds themselves. If they develop a reputation for setting accurate lines, they might be hired by one of the Las Vegas casinos, the only places that can legally hire oddsmakers in the United States. It is rare for an individual oddsmaker to set a line by himself.
Most sports books employ teams of oddsmakers who meet with each other and pool their knowledge before they agree on a line. Becoming an oddsmaker isn't easy -- there are no oddsmaker schools. Plenty of books describe handicapping and oddsmaking, but the only way to get an actual job as an oddsmaker is to have lots of experience. Some of them learned the business from relatives, while others just hung out at old sawdust rooms and pool houses, learning everything they could about the game.
They watch sports constantly, read dozens of newspapers, and have friends and contacts around the country to provide detailed information on every team and every game. People have been informally betting on sports just about as long as there have been sporting events. Organized sports betting took off in the United States at the horse racing tracks that sprang up in the s.
Betting really caught on in the early s when the pastime became more accessible to the middle and lower classes. At first, an auction system was used. Bettors bid on a lot that represented one horse in a given race. In this system, the bettors themselves automatically set the odds. Each bettor was vying for the full pot, and whoever had the lot for the winning horse got it.
Horses that were highly favored to win were auctioned off at much higher prices, since the holder of that lot had the best chance of winning the pot. Lower-rated horses allowed bettors to take a chance at the pot for a smaller bet with a reduced chance of winning. The auction system was limited because you could only take bets for the number of horses in each race.
While some bookies opened multiple auctions on a single race, they still missed out on a lot of handle. The solution was to offer odds on each horse. Longer odds like meant a higher payout but a lower chance of winning. Horses given better odds were more likely to win but paid out at a lower rate , for example. A similar system was used in other sporting events, such as boxing and early football games. It was hard for oddsmakers to set the odds accurately, and when a long-shot team came up with an upset win, bookies lost a bundle.
Around World War II, the point spread concept was developed [ ref ]. This made betting on sports even more popular. The broadcast of sports on TV kept the cycle going -- sports became more popular, which made betting more popular, which made some people enjoy sports more. Sports betting hasn't always been legal in Nevada. Once the state legalized it, bookies were required to pay a ten percent tax.