Types of Bets


There are many different types of bets available to the sports bettor. Within each type are many variations. The most common types are very straightforward. If you are a true beginner, it will take a little time to become fully comfortable with the concepts, terms, and symbols used. Never rush into a bet you don't understand completely.

It is important to understand that the sportsbook doesn't care at all which team or individual wins. It doesn't care if the team covers the spread or not. The sportsbook takes a fee, called juice or vigorish, from each bet. Its only real concern is that there is as close to an equal amount bet on the two sides of the bet. If the money amount bet is too skewed, the sportsbook could lose money. So the sportsbook will make a bet on the underdog more attractive and a bet on the favorite less attractive, all to encourage equal betting on both sides.

To encourage betting on the underdog the sportsbook offers a larger payout for a given bet. A typical line could read: team A: + 110; team B: - 140. The minus sign refers to the favorite; the plus sign to the underdog. In order to win 100 dollars you must bet 140 on the favorite. If you bet 100 dollars on the underdog your payout would be 110.

If one team is heavily favored to win, the line could read something like: team A +120; team B -200. In this case, if the underdog wins, those who bet on the underdog would receive, say, $200 for each $100 bet.

The Spread

Some sports, by their nature, have the potential for a wide gap between the winning score and the losing score. American football, rugby, and Aussie rules football are just three examples.

Conversely, there are many sports where the difference between winning and losing is often one point, goal, run, etc.

In the first type of sport players can bet on the point spread. These bets are usually called straight bets.

Let us say you want to bet on an American football game. One team is the favorite to win; the other team is expected to lose. Oddsmakers calculate the expected differential in the final score between the two teams. It doesn't matter how many points are actually scored. The only thing that matters is the differential.

The favorite gives points to the underdog. At the sportsbook that action is symbolized by a minus sign, for example: -7. This means that the team is favored to win by seven points. Obviously, the underdog is expected to lose by seven points. Its line will read +7.

Most sportsbooks list the spread in half points. This eliminates the chances of a "tie".

Moneyline Bets

Some bettors prefer making a simple win or lose bet. These bets are more commonly called moneyline bets.

Sometimes there is no spread because the sport doesn't lend itself to such betting. Hockey, soccer, golf, baseball, and tennis are examples of such sports.

Parlay Bets

To parlay means to take more than one bet (the number can be much higher) and bundle those bets into one large wager. For example, you can parlay three football games. To win the parlay you must win all three separate bets. If you are betting the spread, you must beat the spread on all three games. If you are betting the moneyline, your bet must win each game.

If the spread is listed in full points a game could end in a "tie". The "tie" is a push for that game and the game is taken out of the parlay bet, as if it wasn't made in the first place. The parlay bet continues with one fewer game.

Teaser Bets

This type of bet is the same as a spread bet but the spread is enhanced. The payout is therefore smaller. In American football, a teaser of six points is common. If you want to bet a 3 point underdog, you can buy six teaser points, making the team a 9 point underdog. You can also bet on the favorite. A nine-point favorite with six teaser points becomes a three-point favorite. Bets are easier to win with a teaser but the payouts are correspondingly smaller.

Teaser bets can be combined with other bets in a parlay.


This is a bet on the combined total of points. If you bet under you are saying that the teams will combine for fewer points than the over-under line. Betting over is the opposite. Over-under bets are usually listed in half points to eliminate "ties".


This is a bet on the "winner" of the half.

Future Bets

You can bet on any future outcome. It could be the winner of the Super Bowl or the World Series; the gold medal winner in the next Olympics; any sports event that has not happened yet.

Before the season starts, players may bet on the divisional winners, conference champions, league MVP or anything else they may want to bet on.

Proposition Bets

These are bets on small details that usually have no direct influence on the outcome of the game. Who will win the coin toss; which team will score first; who will score the first touchdown are three out of hundreds of proposition bets.

Posted by CCJ Team

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