We all understand the concept of odds in everyday life. When we make a friendly wager on a particular event (the winner of American Idol; Dancing with the Stars; the Presidential election) we are betting on what will or won't happen.
Sportsbook odds do not reflect what will or won't happen. They represent the greater potential benefit of betting for the underdog. This means that the sportsbook wants equal betting on both the favorite and the underdog. Since the house makes money on its fee per bet (vigorish or "juice"), it doesn't care what actually happens in the sports event. It only cares that close to the same money is bet on the underdog as on the favorite.
The odds are expressed in three ways: American, fractional, and decimal. These are just three different ways of saying the same thing. It pays to take the time to understand each of these three ways of expressing odds because, as you surf for the best odds, you will see them expressed in all three of these ways. It would be a shame to miss out on the best odds because you didn't understand the "language" they were expressed in.
Sometimes American odds are called "whole odds". They use plus and minus signs to denote the favorite and the underdog. Many beginners get these signs mixed up. The favorite has a minus sign as if we are taking points away from them. The underdog has a plus sign as if we are giving them points.
When the odds are given as a spread, the favorite can win the bet only if it wins by more than the spread. So, Team A: -6.5 means that the favorite must win by at least seven points. If it wins by fewer than seven points you lose your bet. Also, Team B: +6.5 means that if the team loses but by fewer than seven points you win your bet. An underdog that kicks a field goal late in a game that it ultimately loses wins a lot of bets for bettors who wagered that the team would beat the spread.
Alongside the spread is another pair of numbers. These represent the amount needed to bet to win a given amount. For the favorite, the number is what you have to bet to win $1.00. So, Team A: -150 means you must wager $1.50 to win $1.00. For the underdog the number is how much you will win on a $1.00 bet. So, Team B: +110 means you can win $1.10 for every $1.00 bet.
This way of showing odds is the same as the American way except that it uses decimals. You just have to re-learn some simple decimal arithmetic. If the American line is +170 you can win $1.70 for each dollar bet. In the decimal system it would be listed as +1.70. You multiply the decimal by the size of your bet to see your potential winning sum.
This is more difficult to understand at first than the previous two. The odds are expressed as a fraction. The favorite's odds will be in a fraction less than 1/1because you can win less than one dollar for each dollar bet. The favorite's odds will be more than 1/1because you can win more than one dollar for each dollar bet. For example, Team A: 3/5 means that this is the favorite. If you bet one dollar you can win 3/5 of a dollar. Or, Team B: 5/3 means that this is the underdog. You can win 5/3 of a dollar for each dollar bet.
To calculate these amounts it is best to convert the fraction into a whole number. Use 100 as your base. Divide the bottom number of the fraction into 100 and multiply by the top number. This converts the fraction into a whole number. For example: if the fraction is 3/5 we divide 5 into 100 and multiply by 3. 100/5 =20; 20 X 3=60. So, you can win $60 dollars for every $100 bet.
The fractional method doesn't give you the same statistic as the American or the decimal. They say how much you have to bet on a favorite to win $100. The fractional tells you how much you can win by betting $100 on the favorite.
Moneyline betting is done on all sports but especially on sports that don't lend themselves to a spread. Moneyline bets are straight-up win or lose bets. The method of expressing the moneyline is the American method using plus and minus signs. The favorite is given a minus sign. The number is the amount you have to bet to win $100. The underdog is given a plus sign. The number is how much you can win with a bet of $100.
Posted by CCJ Team
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