The sports betting industry is massive, with the latest estimates valuing it in the region of $84 billion! Combine the values of the movie industry ($29 billion) and the music industry ($26 billion), and you are still not anywhere near the online sports betting industry’s total worth. Millions of people bet on sports each week, particularly during the MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL seasons. Are you one of them? Are you new to this world and unsure of the different bet types you can make? If you fall into the latter category, keep reading to expand your knowledge.
1. Money Line Bets
You have come to the right place if you want money line betting explained. A money line bet is the simplest and most common bet sports bettors place; some say it is the purest. The bookmaker determines which team or athlete is the favorite to win and assigns odds to them. They then give odds for the other team, player, or athlete, and the encounter ending in a draw.
With American odds, there is always an underdog and a favorite. The favorite has a minus symbol next to the odds, while the underdog has a plus symbol. The number next to the minus tells you how much you need to bet to win $100, while the number next to the plus shows you how much you stand to win if you bet $100.
There are no other factors in play in this bet; the game’s result determines if you win your bet.
2. Points Spread
Points spread bets are known as handicap betting outside the United States and are popular bets, particularly in American sports. There are still favorites and underdogs, but the bookmaker assigns similar odds to each team. However, they give one of the teams a certain number of points head start or a deficit. Your choice must win by at least the points spread or lose by less than the points spread to result in a win.
For example, the Buffalo Bills are playing the Miami Dolphins, and the bookmaker believes the Bills are much more likely to win. In fact, they think they are clear favorites, so assign the Bills -13.5 points spread. The Dolphins, therefore, become +13.5. This means if you bet on the Bills to win, they have to win the game by more than 13.5 points for your bet to win. In this scenario, if you backed the Bills to win at -13.5 and the actual result was Bills 30 Dolphins 24, your bet loses because the Bills only won by six points, but the bookmaker priced them starting on minus 13.5 points.
Parlays, known as accumulators outside the US, are bets containing several selections where all your picks must win for the bookmaker to payout. Parlays are high-risk (because all of your choices must win) but high-reward (because the odds stack up) bets that can yield tremendous results.
An example of a parlay may be the Buffalo Bills beating the Dallas Cowboys, the San Francisco 49ers triumphing over the Miami Dolphins by at least five points, and the Los Angeles Rams beating the New Orleans Saints. If all three things happen, you win. If just one of those predictions does not come true, the entire bet loses.
Over/Under usually refers to the total number of points scored in a game. In soccer, for example, you may bet there will be over 2.5 goals in a match. In basketball, you may bet the combined points totals from both teams will be under 220. Your prediction has to be under or over the set number, as the name suggests.
5. Prop Bets
Prop bets, an abbreviation of proposition bets, are often fun wagers that have little or no bearing on the game’s results. They are usually made available during key sporting events, such as the NBA finals or the Super Bowl. Examples of prop bets include how many slam dunks there will be in a game, an individual player scoring a touchdown, or even how long it takes to sing the national anthem!