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Sports Betting 101

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Confused on how to place a bet at the sports book? You’re not alone. There are many games going on everyday, and many different bets to place. Fortunately you’ve found some expert friends in the sports betting world and we’ve simply broken down what everything means!


If you are familiar in the least bit with sports betting, you know that it’s not just about game lines and point spreads that can be wagered on. In fact, that is just the tip of the iceberg. The fact of the matter is that online sports betting covers a great range of lines and odds that are available all year long.

One of the most popular types of betting line out there is the futures wager. Futures odds cover just about every sport, and formulate odds that are specific to championships in a particular sport. We cover everything about future betting lines throughout this section and what ones you can find when looking at different leagues.

What Are Future Betting Odds?

In simple terms, future odds are betting lines formed well in advance, usually for championships, or some sort of title on the line. Futures odds can be formed months and even sometimes years in advance depending on the event. For example the World Cup in soccer can see futures wagers up four years prior. Most odds like that are not that far in the future, but that is just an example of what it could look like.

Among the most popular futures lines are Super Bowl odds, World Series odds, BCS Championship odds, and things along those same lines. You can see a theme of a championship, and overall odds to win a future event. Think of futures as a grand-scale betting line, predicting big outcomes down the road.

Understanding Payouts When Betting On Futures

One of the things about futures betting lines is that they can be some of the highest straight wager payouts of all. With the fact that wagers are made on predicting outcomes well in advance, payouts can range quite a bit. A bet can be paid down months in advance, and you can see that team’s odds fluctuate quite a bit. But the good news is that once you lock into that bet and place it, you are good for that payout no matter what the betting line does the rest of the time up until the outcome is decided.

Payouts for futures will largely depend on the sport and which event is being bet. You can see favorites be at even money or better, or sometimes have 10 or 20 times that payout. That’s one of the neat things about the odds for futures, is that the potential to make a nice profit on favorites is there.


One of the most common types of sports betting lines when wagering on a game is the moneyline. You will see moneyline odds for every game and every sport played. A moneyline is a type of straight wager where the bettor wagers simply on who will win the game/match/etc.

Quick Explanation – The easiest way to think of moneyline betting odds is that you are only betting on who wins the game. It does not matter how many points or goals they win by, all that matters is who wins. If you see a – (negative) symbol then that team is the favorite and the team with the + (plus) sign is the underdog.

Understanding How Moneyline Betting Odds Work

Well, to understand the moneyline, you must also understand betting against the point spread. Most everyone familiar with betting has heard of betting against the spread at some point. The moneyline and the point spread are along the same line, though there is one very big difference.

Betting the moneyline would simply be picking the team in a matchup that you believe will win the game straight up. If that team wins the game, no matter the margin, then you win the bet. If that team loses, no matter the margin, then you lose the bet.

Seems pretty easy right?

Well, it’s definitely easier than betting the point spread, in which a team has to cover a spread installed for a match up however you should know that moneyline wagers do not payout the same as a wager against the spread. Keep reading to learn more about payouts when betting on the moneyline.

Understanding Payouts When Betting On The Moneyline

The biggest differences on the moneyline though, aside from no point spread, is the payout. The idea behind a point spread is to bring the two teams in a match up to a more even playing field. If a team is better than the other, the points given by the favorite brings the underdog to a more even field. That is not the case on the moneyline.

Simply put, you will have to risk a whole lot more money on a favorite to profit. On the flip side though, if you bet on the underdog, the potential profit is a lot bigger on the moneyline than betting on the point spread. That is because the likelihood of the underdog winning is slim on the moneyline.



Betting on the over/under point total of a game is quite popular when making a sports wager. Bettors tend to really like betting on over/under because they don’t really have a rooting issue for one team or the other, but rather offense or defense. It is one of the main ways to make a wager for any given match up and the over/under point’s total can be found along with other game lines including the points spread + the moneyline (payout for a straight up win).



A straight wager is the most common type of bet made on sports. It is made on a point spread, money line, run line, or a game total as examples. A straight bet is won by covering the betting line, with the payout varying on what oddsmakers have set down.


A parlay is a single wager placed down that links two or more outcomes together. The wager can only be won by all of the outcomes winning. A single loss, and the bet is lost. If the parlay is pushed at any point in the bet, then the bet is reduced down to that outcome with the wager odds shifting accordingly. In other words, if you have an 8 team parlay and one of those picks is a push, you essentially are left with a 7 team parlay.

Why Bet On Parlays

A parlay is enticing to bettors because of the high return on investment should the bet be won. The payouts for a parlay can be very high, and thus very rewarding. The more teams you take in a parlay, the greater the return and it is completely possible to win thousands of dollars with a $1 parlay if all your picks are correct.

Example Of How A Parlay Bet Works

Let’s say that you placed a three-team parlay on the Falcons, Cowboys, and Packers covering their respective point spreads in their match ups. Typically, a three team parlay will pay out at 6/1. If all three of these teams cover the point spread, then the bet would be won. For every $100 wagered on this parlay, a $600 profit is made.

More About How Parlays Work In Sports Betting

As the parlays increase, so too does the margin of profit and payouts. But the more games linked together on the parlay, the more difficult the bet becomes to win. Parlays usually can go up to as many as 15 games. It’s also important to know that parlays are not made for you as a bettor on the sportsbook. You have the power to fill out your own parlay slip for the games that you want to place a wager on.

Betting a parlay does not have to be on the point spread however. There are money line parlays that can be made. But on the money line, which is a wager on a game without a point spread, the payouts can be a lot different. If a bettor takes the favorite on the money line for every parlay, the payout won’t be the near the amount than if one or more underdogs had been selected.


A teaser is another type of wager available to bet on sports. A Teaser is not a straight bet, but is more similar to a parlay or a pleaser bet however it offers much better odds of winning. Often under-utilized, the teaser can be a value weapon in a bettors arsenal if they know how to use them correctly.

What Is A Teaser Bet

It is a parlay placed on a number of games, but the difference is that points are adjusted more in your favor. So instead of a team needing to cover 7.5, they need to cover a half point (depending on the size of the teaser) which then makes it easier for the picks to cover. But, the cost of using teasers versus parlay wagers is that the payout is less due to the increased chance for the bettor to win his/her wagers.

Why Bet On Teasers

Teasers can be advantageous to bettors that are fond of using parlays, but are not comfortable with the particular spreads or totals that have been set within a desired game.

A teaser allows the line to be shifted for these parlay-type wagers so that the percentage of winning them goes up in theory. As such, it makes them easier to win, unlike the opposite of a teaser, which is a pleaser. A pleaser takes points away making it more difficult to win the line by increasing the spread. But then the payout is much higher.


When it comes to betting on sports, there are a lot of varieties of odds that are formed and wager that can be made. Bettors can lay down money on a ton of different outcomes that they feel gives them a shot to win. One of these methods to winning a wager involves buying points to secure a betting line that is one you feel very good about coming out on your correct side. The process of buying points is not a new one; it goes back quite a ways, as sportsbooks allow bettors to get in on this for a price.

Exactly how buying points works to the advantage or disadvantage of a player in cases is explained here, including going down the list of some of the biggest sports and leagues in which buying points is a popular fad.

Understanding How Buying Points Works

The notion of buying points on a betting line is just like it sounds. This relates only to the point spread of a game, in which oddsmakers have established a favorite and an underdog with a specific spread on the game line. From here, bettors have the option to lay down a wager on that point spread, or change it to either push it in their favor, or away from their favor.

The process involved in buying points would go something like this. Say for example you are looking at betting on an NFL game, and the betting line is set at 4 points. That means for the favorite to cover, they would need to win by five points or more. On the flip side, the underdog can cover the spread with a loss by a field goal or less. If a bettor wants to move the line close together to take the favorite because they think that the line can be covered more easily, then the option to buy points to shrink the line can be enforced. If the bettor wants to move the line further apart, the same processed is involved though it would move towards the favorite having to cover more points.

The question here is why someone would want to buy points to move the line in the first place? What is the advantage in doing so? Why not just take the line that oddsmakers give you?

Well, many times a point spread set down by oddsmakers might not sit right with a bettor, and to move to one they like, they can simply buy the points. But the key factor here lies in how the payouts are affected, which is what we get into in the next section.

How Does Buying Points Affect The Payout?

The process of buying points has a big effect on the payouts to the bettors. The more the spread shrinks in favor of the bettor, the less the payout. The further away it goes from the way a bettor wants to wager, the more the payout.

For example, if a point spread is four points, and a bettor wants to buy a point or two to set the line at five points, it would affect the way the payout is by making it more difficult for the favorite to cover and giving more room for the underdog to cover.

A bettor could want to shift the line and buy points for either reason. They could sacrifice some of the payout by allowing the spread to be moved towards their favor and make it easier than the spread that oddsmakers originally set. Or they could take the opposite approach and spread that line out further to make it harder to cover, but the reward is bigger on the payout to make more money than with the original spread.


One of the most popular sets of betting odds out there are team and game prop betting odds. These betting lines will cover many different outcomes within the team setting in terms of the entire season, while game props will relate to specific matchups. Team and game prop odds are different from the game lines that are formed; meaning the point spread, moneyline, and over/under total is another category of betting.

Player prop betting odds are some of the most popular betting odds formed today. They give those who like to gamble on sporting events an added betting element when it comes single matchups or the entire course of a season. Player prop betting lines cover a range of different sports and individual aspects within those sports/games/matches that really focus on minute details and for that reason, many who like to focus on just one portion of a game, or just one player in that game, tend to wager on proposition wagers rather than betting on the result of the game.


The point spread is probably the most common bet when you think of wagering on a sporting event. That is because it’s designed to bring the two teams to an even playing field through the use of a handicap installed by oddsmakers.
The point spread differs from that of the a moneyline. Betting on the moneyline is picking the winner of the game straight up, without a point spread involved. Betting against the spread however tabs a favorite which gives points, and an underdog, which receives points.

How Does The Point Spread Work?

When wagering against the spread, you bet on the team that will cover the betting line, and not necessarily win the game. Obviously by taking the favorite, a bettor believes that team will not only win the game, but also win the game by a certain number of points to cover the betting line. But when wagering on the underdog, that team does not necessarily have to win the game to cover the line.

When Can The Spread Be Wagered?

The point spread might be the most common betting line for which people are familiar with. This is where the terms ‘favorite’ and ‘underdog’ are derived. But, when exactly can wagers on the point spread be placed? There are actually several points in time, and several different ways that a bettor can put action on the spread in a given matchup.

Obviously it starts with action before the game. Point spreads prior to the game will be available up until the start time before going off. Depending on the sports and league + which Oddsmakers is consulted, point spreads can be up for days before the start to a matchup.

Beginning with live betting, point spreads are routinely adjusted predicated on the flow of the game, meaning how the favorite and underdog are performing. Live point spreads can come and go very quickly, with the potential for scores to change at any moment.  Betting the spread at different intervals in a game means that adjusted spreads are created during breaks, such as quarters or halves, and halftime lines. Oddsmakers will check out the game and how it went for a quarter or half, and then reinstall overall game lines, as well as point spreads for only that particular quarter or half.

How Do Half / .5 Point Spreads Work?

Oftentimes a point spread will not be a whole number, and will be accompanied by a decimal point and a half number. This can be significant for a point spread. Essentially what it comes down to is that a whole number point spread gives the opportunity for a wager to push. A push means that if the favorite is favored by 10 points and wins by 10 points, bettors get their money back. Just like when betting on the over/under total for points, the spread is a half-point in addition to the whole number, there is no chance to push.

Understanding Payouts When Betting On The Point Spread.

The whole nature and goal behind the point spread, is to provide an even playing field for the favorite and the underdog. Obviously not every team is equal, so the point spread adjusts this. As a result, the payouts that are generally seen around a point spread is right around Even.This is different from a moneyline, where payouts can vary greatly because there is not point spread that is installed. It is simply picking the winner straight up. Therefore, a bet on the favorite would not profit as high as it would betting the spread since no points are given. Payouts on the point spread are not always the same, but they do not vary like a moneyline.

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