Sports Betting 101: Explanation of Different Types of Wagers
by George Monroy - 1/8/2013
Sports betting is one of the most popular forms of gambling in America. It provides not only entertainment value, but it also provides the ability for sharp bettors to consistently make money wagering on sporting events. One of the main reasons behind its popularity is that sports betting offers an edge that is rarely found in casino gaming — a sharp sports bettor can consistently make money, and that fact will continue to bring in new players and help the industry continue to grow.
The sports betting industry has a plethora of terms, wagers, and jargon, and even experienced gamblers, at times, can get confused over the types of wagers and how they work. It becomes paramount for sports bettors, new or experienced alike, to understand the wagers at their disposal in order to get the most value out of their winning bets. Here is an overview of the types of wagers a bettor can make betting on sports.
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Point Spread: Betting the spread may be the simplest and easiest wager for a gambler to bet on. The spread is a wager that involves a team giving or receiving points during a game. For example, if the Los Angeles Lakers were to play the Charlotte Bobcats, they would probably be the favorite and have to give away a certain amount of points — let’s say six, as an example. The Lakers would then have to win by more than six points in order for the bettor to win his wager. Also, be aware that not every sport operates with a spread — baseball uses a moneyline, as well as boxing and horseracing.
Money Line: Wagering on a money line completely skips the points aspects of a game and only deals with wins and losses. When you bet a spread, the favorite can win the game but still lose your bet, which can be extremely frustrating at times. The money line bypasses all that and can be a simpler wager for gamblers, but it can also be far more expensive to bet in certain cases. If you were to bet a moneyline on a team that was a slight favorite, you might see a line of -110 — you’d have to bet $110 to win $100 — but if you wanted to wager on a huge favorite simply to win the game, you could see moneylines of well over -500 (-500 means bet $500 to win $100).
Totals: A totals bet is a wager on the “over” or “under” of a game. Betting totals is a relatively easy process, and it simply requires you do decide on whether a game’s total score will either go over or under. NBA games usually have totals that range from 170 to 210 points; NFL games range from 30 to 50 points; and MLB games from six to 11 runs.
Parlays: Wagering on a parlay may seem complicated at first glance, but it is easier than you might think. A parlay is a combination bet based on, at least, two teams, that pays out well above the standard even-money rate of a normal wager. You can bet as many teams on a parlay as you please, depending on the sportsbook that you use. Some sportsbooks allow up to a 15-team parlay that pays an astronomical 1500/1. One thing to remember is that any individual loss on your parlay wager will result in a complete loss on your bet.
Teasers: Betting on a teaser is similar to wagering on a parlay. It is a combination bet that pays out a higher-than-normal rate, with the major difference being that with teasers you get to add points to your wager. The most common teaser is a two-team, six-point NFL teaser, which allows you to take away points from the betting favorite or add points to the betting underdog. Teasers allow gamblers to add as few as four points to as many as 10 points or more to a game.
Props: A prop bet is a wager that involves betting on specific outcomes during a game. The most common prop bets are made during the Super Bowl, where gamblers can wager on anything from the coin toss at the beginning of the game to the length of the “National Anthem” before the game. Sportsbooks also offer prop bets on regular season games, and you can bet on things such as the number of points or rebounds that an NBA player will have during a game.
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