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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. Matched betting involves taking advantage of the bonuses and incentives offered by books to place bets for and against the exact same event.
Matched betting is all about taking advantage of free bets and betting for both possible outcomes on the same game, so this type of betting is as near to risk-free as you can get in gambling.
That's the spread -- the under dog is plus 7. If you pick the favored team and they win by more than 7, you win. If they win by exactly 7, you tie.
If they win by less than 7, you lose. Not Helpful 7 Helpful Matt S. Pick one sport to focus on. Then do some research and decide which bets are more likely to win.
Not Helpful 3 Helpful Do your own research on why the odds or lines are being offered the way they are.
Explore other bookmakers for comparison. Then place your bets with a bookmaker that has an established history of being honest. Not Helpful 2 Helpful 6.
I'm constantly betting 3 team parlays with low money because that's the best risk reward but winning with very little success.
Should I stay away from parlays? Yes, stay away from parlays. You are betting in order to win an amount as opposed to winning in general.
Greedy bettors is how professionals and bookmakers profit. Not Helpful 3 Helpful 7. Not Helpful 0 Helpful Unanswered Questions.
Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Submit a Tip All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published.
Related wikiHows. More References 4. About This Article. Co-authored by:. Co-authors: Updated: June 10, Categories: Sports Betting. Article Summary X Winning at sports betting takes time and dedication, but there are some strategies that you can use to increase your chances of winning.
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