Sports Betting FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
by George Monroy - 6/24/2013
If you are new to sports betting, placing a bet can be a daunting and intimidating process. How do you even begin to walk up to a sports book and wager on a team? How about doing it online? And actually trying to understand the lines and what the odds mean? Forget about it. You’re better off trying to understand what Metta World Peace is Tweeting about these days.
Even though the world of sports betting seems complicated, it is anything but. Once you have placed a few wagers and suffered a few losses or bad beats — as they are commonly called by anyone whose bet has failed to cover the spread because of a meaningless last-second score — you will be a seasoned veteran. In order to help out the new bettor, here is a quick list of frequently asked betting questions in Doc’s Sports sports betting FAQ.
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What is a spread?
A point spread is one way to wager on a sporting event. In order to make things even between two teams that are typically not evenly-matched, oddsmakers will entice bettors to wager on an event by offering a point spread. The favorites (or better team) will usually have to give away points, while the underdog receives them.
For example, during Super Bowl XLVII, the San Francisco 49ers were a four-point favorite over the Baltimore Ravens — which meant that the 49ers needed to win the game by four points or more. The easiest way to figure out a spread is to add or subtract the points to the final score to see who won the bet.
Do all sports use a spread?
Not every sport uses a point spread in order to bet on the games. In situations like boxing, mixed martial arts, or even baseball, a moneyline is used as the tool for betting on an event. Moneylines are a wager that is only concerned with who won the actual event, and no margins of victory are involved. When wagering on a moneyline, favorites cost more to bet than the underdog, and the underdog will typically provide a positive payout. For example, betting on a moneyline favorite of -300 will cost $300 to win $100, while betting on an underdog of +250 will win $250 for every $100 bet on the wager.
What happens during a tie?
Oddsmakers will frequently use half-point lines like 4.5, in order to avoid ties, but if you wager on a four-point favorite and the team wins by exactly four points, what happens? All reputable sportsbooks will treat ties as a “push” and wagers will be refunded. During a tie the bet is essentially cancelled. If you are dealing with a sportsbook that treats ties as losses, you are losing value and should move to a more favorable situation like the Doc’s Sports affiliated online sportsbooks.
What is Juice? And how much should I be paying?
Juice or vigorish is the commission that sportsbooks charge for taking bets. A vig will look something like -110 to place a wager on a team, which means that in order to win $100 on a wager you need to pay $110. Vigs vary based on the team and the situation, but in general shopping around and searching for the lowest possible price is in your best interest. Many online sportsbooks like 5Dimes offer reduced juice at a -105 price.
What do ATS and SU mean?
ATS is short for against the spread, which is an indication of how a team does betting-wise. Just because a team has a very good regular-season record does not mean that they are covering spreads. SU is short for straight up and deals with how a team did without taking the spread into account. Remember a team can win the game but not cover the spread.
What is a parlay?
Parlays are combination wagers that have a higher-than-normal payout. Generally, during a parlay a player will wager on anywhere between two and 15 different teams or events, and in order for the bet to cash every event must win. Large parlays can have an astronomical payout, but at that point they are closer to a lottery ticket than to a well-researched bet. Here is a quick look at a typical parlay payout structure:
Standard payout odds:
Two-team: 2.6 to 1
Three-team: 6 to 1
Four-team: 10 to 1
Five-team: 20 to 1
Six-team: 40 to 1
Seven-team: 75 to 1
Eight-team: 100 to 1
What happens if there is a tie on my parlay?
If you are wagering on a large parlay, there is bound to be a tie or two. Typically, if an event on a parlay ties and the rest of ticket wins, the wager will pay out at the previous parlay payout rate. So if you wager on a six-team parlay and five events win and one ties, then the ticket will turn into a five-team parlay and payout at 20-1 instead of 40-1. But, remember, all events must win, so if even one game loses the entire card becomes worthless.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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