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How to bet

Straight Bet: A straight bet is one bet on a game or event decided by a point spread, point total or money line

Parlay: Also called a "Combination" bet, a parlay joins multiple results on different wagers into a single bet. In order to be a winner, the bettor must not lose any events in the parlay. Winning all of the wagers on a given combination bet will yield a higher payout to the player than winning all bets had they been made individually.

Futures: If you want to bet on the winner of an event that will be decided at some point down the line, that is called a future wager. An example would be making a bet in September on a team winning the pro football championship in the upcoming season.

Prop Bets: Short for "Proposition Bets", prop bets require you to identify a specific result within an event. They are often offered on many sports and examples of prop bets include wagering on which player will score the first touchdown in a football game or whether a certain player will hit a home run in a specific baseball game.

Teaser: A teaser allows the bettor the possibility of adjusting point spreads or totals in their favor by the same pre-set amount to all outcomes in a parlay. For example a bettor could make a parlay by combining Team 1 +6.5 points with Over 41 points in a game between Team 2 and Team 3. However by instead playing a 6-point Teaser, the lines and odds would be recalculated into a parlay that contained Team 1 + 12.5 points (Previously +6.5_ combined with Over 35 (previously Over 41). Should any part of a "Teaser" bet be settled as a push, that particular selection will be excluded from the parlay and the computation of odds/payout will be adjusted accordingly.

Round Robin: A round robin is a series of different parlays involving different events. For example a 3-team round robin would include these four bets – a three-team parlay (Team 1 + Team 2 + Team 3) as well as 3 two-team parlays (Team 1 + Team 2; Team 1 + Team 3: Team 2 + Team 3).

Action: A wager of any kind.

Book: An establishment that sets lines, odds or prices and accepts wagers on events.

Cover: This means a team you have bet on has won versus the point spread.

Favorite: Sometimes referred to as the "chalk", the favorite is the team believed to be more likely than its opponent(s) to win an event.

First Half Bet: A wager placed on the result of the first half of a game.

Handle: Sometimes called the "write" or "turnover", it's the total amount wagered at a Book over a given time period.

Hedge: When a bettor has placed a wager on one side of an event and then bets on the opposite side in order to guarantee some level of profit or to mitigate a loss.

Hold: The percentage of the value of bets written that the house wins.

In-Play: Sometimes called "live betting", in-play betting allows bettors to wager on sporting events after they have started at odds, point spreads or totals that are adjusted from their starting numbers for the current circumstances of the event. Since in-play wagers are based on live events, they are constantly changing during the game.

Juice: Also called the "vig" or "vigorish", it is the book's commission on a given wager. For straight point spread wagers, players will generally have to wager somewhere between $105 and $110 to make a profit of $100 which accounts for the book's commission.

Laying the Points: Also called "giving the points", it's when a bettor wagers on the favorite winning by more than the point spread.

Line: The stated spread or odds on an event.

Longshot: A team or event with typically high odds that is considered unlikely to win.

Middle: When a bettor wins bets on both sides of a game by wagering on the favorite at one point spread and the underdog at a different point spread. For example, if the bettor wagers on the favorite when the points spread is 3/12 points, then the underdog if the point spread has moved to 4 1/2 points and the favorite wins by 4 points, both bets will be winners and the bettor will have "middled" the game.

No Action: A wager in which no money is lost or won and the original bet amount is refunded.

Off the Board: An event where bets are no longer being accepted. Games can remain off the board temporarily or permanently.

Opening Line: This is the original line, spread, odds or total established for a given event.

Over: A wager where the bettor wagers that the combined number of points in an event will exceed an established total.

Pick'em: A game where there is no point spread as neither team is favored.

Price: The odds or point spread offered on a potential result. 

Puck Line: When a point spread is used on hockey instead of a money line.

Push: A bet that ends in a tie for wagering purposes. For example, if New Orleans is a 7-point favorite and wins the games 28-21, the game results in a push. If it's made as a straight bet, the amount originally bet on the point spread will be refunded. 

Run Line: When a point spread is used in baseball instead of the money line. 

Second Half Bet: A wager placed on an even't results after the first half is complete.

Straight-up: Betting on one side to win a game on the money line regardless of the point spread. 

Take The Points: When a bettor makes a point spread wager on the underdog.

Under: A wager where the bettor wagers that the combined number of points in an event will be less than an established total.

Underdog: Sometimes called a "dog" for short, this is the team seen as more likely to lose.

Point Spread: Also referred to as a "Handicap" at times, wagering based on the point spread is the most common method of betting at the Sportsbook. When using the point spread, the bettor is wagering on whether the chose outcome will be a winner once the listed point spread is added/subtracted (as applicable) to the match/period/total score to which the bet refers to. In those circumstances where the result is equal to the exact handicap of the point spread, the bet results in a "push" or a tie and all bets are void and the original wager amount refunded. For example, if the point spread on a game is 3 1/2 points, someone betting the favorite would need them to win by 4 or more points, while someone betting the underdog would need them to either win outright or lose by 3 or fewer points. If the point spread was 3 points and the favorite eventually won by 3 points, the bet would be a push.

Money Line: A wager where it is possible to be t on the (partial or definite) outcome of a game or event. The bettor must simply pick the correct team to win a game outright regardless of the point spread. However, teh payouts will be adjusted to reflect the odds on each team. In the example below, pittsburg is -148 on the money lione. This means if you would like to be ton Pittsburgh to just win the game, you woul dhave to wager $148 to make a profit of $100. Seattle is +130, which means bettting $100 on Seattle would yield a $130 profit should they win the game.

Game: September 24 @ 1 p.m.

Team Money Line
Pittsburgh -148
Seattle +130

Total: Also known as the "over/under" or "point total", it is a wager where it is possible to bet on the (partial or definite) amount of a predefined occurrence (e.g goals, points, corners, rebounds, penalty minutes, etc). If the established total for a game is 47 1/2 points, a bettor wagering on the over would need the teams to combine for 48 or more points to win their bet. A bettor wagering on the under would need 47 or less to win theirs. Should the total amount of the points wind up as exactly equal to the betting line, then all bets on this offer will be declared void and the original wager refunded.

The most frequent and basic way to wager on football is a straight bet on the point spread. Whichever team the bettor wagers on must cover the spread in order for the bettor to win the bet. It means the favorite must win by at least a specified amount of the underdog must lose by no more than the amount (or win the game outright).

EXAMPLE

Game: September 24 @ 1 p.m.

Team Spread
Georgia -2.5 -110
Oklahoma +2.5 -110

In this example, Georgia (-2.5) is favored by 2.5 points. Georgia must win the game by more than 2.5 points in order for someone to win their point spread bet on Georgia. If the bettor wagers on Oklahoma (+2.5), Oklahoma must win the game outright or lose by fewer than 2.5 points for the bettor to win. The -110 next to each indicated the bettor must wager $110 to win $100 regardless of who they make a point spread wager on.

The Money Line: Bettors can also ager on the winner of the game regardless of the points spread. All the team they select has to do is win the game outright. The money line is based on a $100 base amount with the minus ("-") indicating the favorite and the plus ("+") indicating the underdog.

EXAMPLE

Game: September 24 @ 1 p.m.

Team Spread Money Line
Georgia -2.5 -110 -120
Oklahoma +2.5 -110 +105

In the same game as above, Georgia is -120 on the money line which means they are the favorite. Anyone wagering on Georgia would be proportionally wagering $120 to profit $100 (meaning they could wager $240 to profit $200. $60 to profit $50, etc.). anyone wagering on Oklahoma would be proportionally wagering $100 to win $105 on Oklahoma winning the game outright.

Another wager the bettor can make is on the total for the game (also sometimes referred to as the point total or over/under). It means the bettor can wager on whether the total number of points will be more or less than a given number. Points scored in overtime will count in the final score.

EXAMPLE

Game: September 24 @ 1 p.m.

Team Spread Money Line Total
Georgia -2.5 -110 -120 60.5 O -110
Oklahoma +2.5 -110 +105 U -110

Once again, in the same game, the number in the righthand columns under the "total" header of 60.5 is the point total the bettor will be wagering on. If a bettor wagers on the "over", Georgia and Oklahoma must combine for more than 60.5 points for the bettor to win their bet. If they wager on the "under", the teams must combine for less than 60.5 points. The -110 to the right of the "O" and "U" indicates the player must wager $110 to profit $100 on either the over or under.

Parlays: Bettors are also allowed to combine multiple wagers into a single bet known as a parlay or combination. Point spread, money line and totals may all be used in parlays with the payout of the parlay dependent on the odds of the individual events the player chooses. In order for a bettor to win a parlay, they cannot lose any of the events it contains. If there is a push on any of the events contained in the parlay, that event is removed from the parlay and the wager continues without it included.

EXAMPLE

  Bettor's Selection Final Score
Game 1 Pittsburgh (-3) over Cleveland Pittsburg: 27 | Cleveland: 14
Game 2 New Orleans (-4) over Los Angeles (NFC) New Orleans: 31 | Los Angeles: 21
Game 3 Miami (+14.5) over New England New England: 28 | Miami: 17
Game 4 Philadelphia (-7) over Washington Philadelphia: 24 | Washington: 17

In the above example, a bettor has played a 4-team parlay. They have won the first three games as Pittsburgh and New Orleans have both covered the spread as favorites, as did Miami, losing by only 9 as a 14.5 underdog. Game 4 is a push however, which does not mean the bettor loses the entire parlay, but they instead have won a 3-team parlay instead of a 4-team parlay since the one push is removed.

There are many similarities between betting on basketball and football as point spread, money line and total bets are all typically offered.

EXAMPLE

Game: February 3 @ 7:30 p.m.

Team Spread Money Line Total
Philadelphia -4.5 -110 -135 204.5 O -112
Brooklyn +4.5 -110 +120 U -108

In this example, Philadelphia is favored by 4.5 points and must win the game by 5 or more points for the bettor to win a point spread bet. Similarly, if the bettor wagers on Brooklyn, Brooklyn must win outright or lose by 4 or fewer points. If the bettor would like to wager on Philadelphia to win the game outright regardless of points, they would have to bet the equivalent of $135 to profit $100, while a bettor playing Brooklyn would be risking $100 to profit on $120. If someone would like to wager on the total, the over/under is 204.5 points. If a bettor wagered on the over, the teams would have to combine for more than 204.5 points. In this case, the bettor playing the over would have to wager $112 to make a profit of $100. A bettor wagering on the under would need fewer than 204.5 points scored to win the bet and would be wagering $108 to win $100 in this scenario. All points scored in overtime count towards the total points scored.

Basketball Parlays: Basketball parlays carry the same standard rules as football parlays. Bettors can combine a string of different bets into single parlay wager. The bettor cannot lose any events in the parlay in order to win.

The majority of wagers on baseball are on the money line which is set as any other sport would be with a $100 base on the listed price. However, players can still wager with a point spread, which is referred to in baseball as the "run line". Totals are available as they would be in other sports.

EXAMPLE

Game: August 2 @ 7 p.m.

Team Money Line Run Line Total
New York (NL) +112 -135 +1.5 8.5 O -109
Chicago (NL) -134 +120 -1.5 U -109

In this example, Chicago is a -134 favorite on the money line, which means for every $100 the bettor wants to win on Chicago, they must wager $134. on the money line, a bettor backing New York would be wagering $100 for every $112 they'd like to win on that team winning the game outright. The column to the right o f that is the run line, which functions as the points spread in a baseball game. In this case, Chicago is favored on the run line by 1.5 runs, but a bettor wagering on them to win the game by 2 runs or more would get a return  of $120 in profit for each $100 bet. Conversely, a bettor who wagered on New York a +1.5 runs would risk $135 for every $100 they wanted to win. The total of 8.5 runs would function the same as it would in any other sport with bettors wagering on the total number of runs scored, including extra innings.

Baseball Parlays: Bettors may also string individual bets on baseball games together to create a single bet parlay. Parlays can included wagers on the money line, run line, or total. As always, the player cannot lose any of the individual bets contained in the parlay for the parlay as a whole to be a winner.

Hockey wagers look and function similarly to baseball wagers with bettors frequently looking to play money line bets on the eventual outright winner. A point spread in hockey also exists and is called the "puck line", mirroring the way the run line is used in baseball.

EXAMPLE

Game: March 14 @ 7 p.m.

Team Money Line Puck Line Total
Pittsburgh -112 -1.5 +138 5.5 O -104
San Jose +108 +1.5 -156 U -113

In this example, Pittsburgh is a slight -112 favorite against San Jose. Someone wagering on Pittsburgh on the money line to win the game regardless of the final score would need to ris $112 for each $100 they wanted to win. San Jose is a slight +108 underdog. In this case, a bettor would play $100 for each $108 they'd like to win should San Jose come out on top. The puck line to the right acts as a point spread for hockey games. While Pittsburgh is favored to win the game out right, they are seen as likely to cover the 1.5 goal puck line. If a bettor thought Pittsburgh would win by 2 or more goals, they would put up $100 to profit $138 should that result occur. If a bettor played San Jose on the puck line at +15., they would be betting $156 for each $100 they wanted to profit that San Jose would lose by one goal or win outright. The next number of 5.5 is the total. This number is the total number of goals the two teams will combine for in the game, including any overtime. Any wager on the over means a bettor is wagering $104 for every $100 they'd like to win while a bet on the under would require a bet of $113 for each $100 in profit. In the event of overtime or a shootout, the winning team is awarded one goal which counts towards determining the winner of the game and the total number of goals scored.

Soccer matches offer many of the same wagers as other traditional sports with the most popular being the money line and total for the game. One notable exception however is that some soccer wagers offer a three-way bet that includes the option of betting on a "draw" or tie in the specific game.

EXAMPLE

Game: September 21 @ 11:30 a.m.

Team Money Line Total
Liverpool -715 3.5 O +108
Draw +705 U -132
Newcastle +1900  

In the above example, Liverpool is a significant favorite over Newcastle. It would take a bet of $715 on Liverpool to result in a $100 profit should they win the game outright. Newcastle, as the underdog would see a bettor profit $1,900 on a $100 wager on Newcastle to win outright should the result hit. However, the option also exists for the bettor to bet on the match ending in a draw or tie. Should the bettor wager $100 on the match ending in a tie and they are correct, a $705 profit would be returned to them. If a bettor wagers on either team and the result is a draw, the wager is lost.

Like other sports, it is the money line that's used to display the odds of winning in boxing and other MMA contests. The money lines are based off $100 base wagers on either side with the favorite usually showing a minud ("-") in front of their price and the underdog a plus ("+").

EXAMPLE

Fight: September 21 @ 11:30 p.m.

Fighter Money Line
O. Wallin +1000
T. Fury -2500

In this example, Fury is a prohibitive favorite over Wallin with bettors having to wager $2,500 to win $100 on Fury winning the fight outright. Wallin, the underdog would lead bettors wagering $100 to a $1,000 profit should he upset Fury and win the fight.