The Understanding of Sports Betting in Vegas:
Don’t let the numbers at the sports books confuse you. The Super Bowl is here and some of the pros at VegasTopDogs put together a list of the terms to better understand the basic knowledge of sports betting. Please take a look at our Sports Dictionary terminology below.
How To Read The Betting Odds
If you are new to sports betting online, one of the most confusing things is how the betting odds (also known as betting lines) are displayed.
The majority of bets are referred to in relation to $100. If there is a minus symbol in front of the number (eg -150) then the number refers to how much you must bet in order to win $100. So, for example, if the betting line for this years Super Bowl is -150 you must bet $150 to make a $100 profit. If the betting line is -300 then you must bet $300 to make $100 profit.
If the number is positive (eg +150) then it refers to how much you will win when you bet $100. So, if the betting line is +150 then you will make $150 profit for your $100 bet.
Remember always that you also get your stake back. So, if you bet $100 at +170 and your team wins then you get $170 profit plus your $100 stake back, for a total return of $270.
The fact that everything is expressed in terms of $100 does not mean you need to bet $100 every time. If you bet $10 at +170 then when you win you get $17 profit.
The Types Of Sports Bets:
On most US sports events, there are three different types of odds available for every event: the side, the money line and the total.
The most simple of these is the money line. The money line bet is simply a bet on who will win the game.
The most popular way to bet is the side, also known as the point spread or line. In order to balance the two teams in the betting, the linesmaker (the person who sets the betting odds) will give the stronger team a handicap to balance the two teams out in the betting. So, using the same example as above with the Broncos and Seahawks meeting in a Super Bowl, the linesmaker have decided that Denver is 3 points superior to the Seahawks.
If you bet on Denver -3 you will get odds of -110 but you only win if the Broncos beat the Seahawks by more than 3 points. If the Broncos win by fewer than 3 or they lose the game, all bets on the Seahawks +3 are winners. If the game is won by Denver by exactly 3 points then that is known as a ‘push’ and all bets are refunded to the players.
The side or point spread is widely used across all American sports and is the most popular form of betting with US bettors.
The total is a bet on how many points in total will be scored by both sides combined in a particular game. Using the Broncos vs Seahawks example again, the linesmaker may decide this game is likely to be very high scoring and set the total at 48. If you think there will be fewer than 48 points in total, you bet on the ‘under’. If you think there will be more, then you bet on the ‘over’. If there are exactly the total number of points then that is a ‘push’ and all bets are refunded.
Sometimes you will see the total line expressed in half points – for example the total might be 48.5. This means it is impossible for there to be a ‘push’ because there is no game where you can score half points – the linesmaker sets the line that way so there is guaranteed to be a result. To bet on football, tell the ticket writer the bet number of the team you wish to bet, with the point spread and the amount you wish to wager. The payout, unless stated otherwise, is figured at odds of 10/11. This means that a wager of $11 would win $10 and return $21.
This is called a straight bet. A straight bet is the most common type of football bet.
The point spread: When betting on football, the team you bet on must “cover the spread.” This means the team must win or not lose by a predetermined margin of points.
Note: The bottom team is always listed as the home team unless otherwise noted and both of these sports use a moneyline.
The Braves’ odds are -120, meaning a $12 bet would win $10, for a return of $22. The Dodgers’ odds are +110, meaning a $10 bet would win $11, for a return of $21.
On Today’s Line we use a different format, the idea is the same. You will not find the odds for the Underdog. The Underdog’s odds are based on what the casino has for its line. Most use a “Dime Line” or something close to that.
You have just seen an example of a dime line.
A 20-cent line would be this below with a difference of 20.
Here are two more examples of a dime line and a 20-cent line. See whether you can tell them apart.
You can arrive at the underdog’s price by looking at the favorite’s line. Dime lines are slowly disappearing as sports books look to make a larger profit during what is traditionally the slowest betting season throughout the summer. Several books still offer dime lines.
Money lines change constantly. The listed money line the time you make your bet may be different from the money line when the game starts. The listed line on your ticket is your official odds, unless starting pitcher is changed. This is explained later.
Total: Total runs scored in a game. Also called the over/under.
You may wager that the total score of the game will be more or less than the number listed. It makes no difference which team wins. Simply add the final scores of each team. The payout, unless stated otherwise, is figured at odds of 10/11. (-110)
Note: When betting a total, these rules apply:
(a) The game must go nine innings, or 8 1/2 innings if the home team wins.
(b) Both listed pitchers must start the game.
If either doesn’t happen, the bet is refunded.
All runs scored in extra innings count in over/under bets.
Baseball Run Lines:
The run line: a point spread of 1 1/2 given to a baseball game.
A favorite must win by 2 runs or more, or the underdog must either:
(a) Win the game.
(b) Must lose by only one run.
The payout varies according to the money line odds assigned to each outcome.
You may combine several teams into one wager. All teams must win to win the bet.
Baseball parlays are figured out by calculating the payout for the first game, based on the money line, then applying that amount to the next game, and so-forth.
If a game is postponed for any reason, the parlay reduces by one team. The bet is treated as if the postponed game were never included in the parlay.
Here’s an example of how to figure out a baseball parlay:
Listed pitcher(s) option
When making a baseball bet, you are betting team vs. team. You have the option to specify that either or both listed pitchers must start the game.
Since baseball odds are determined on starting pitchers, any late pitching changes often force an adjustment in the odds. This will increase or decrease the payout on a winning ticket. However, if you list starting pitchers, and your pitcher doesn’t start, then the bet is refunded.
Sports books offer bettors the opportunity to wager on the outcome of a season — for example, which team will win the Super Bowl or the Stanley Cup or the American League East pennant. This is known as “futures book” or “future book” betting.
As an illustration, let’s look at Super Bowl futures. Sports books list each NFL team with corresponding odds to win the Super Bowl. For example, the Dallas Cowboys may be 5-1, the Redskins 12-1, the Cardinals 100-1, etc. If you place $10 on the Redskins and they go on to win the Super Bowl, you collect $120 plus your $10 back for a total payoff of $130. It does not matter whether your team covers the point spread in the Super Bowl. For the purposes of future book betting, the team has to win only the Super Bowl.
When you make a futures bet, your odds are “locked in.” That means if you bet the Redskins at 12-1, you will get paid off at 12-1 odds, even if the sports book later adjusts the odds (to 6-1, for instance).
To bet on hockey, tell the ticket writer the bet number of the team you wish to bet and the amount you wish to wager. If your team covers the goal spread, you win. The payout is based on a “Money Line”.
The Goal Spread:
When betting on hockey, the team you bet on must “cover the spread.” This means the team must win or not lose by a predetermined margin of goals.
The Money Line: Odds for a game based on $1.00 A “minus” (-) preceding the number indicates the team is a favorite. A “plus” (+) preceding the number indicates the team is an underdog.
Note: The bottom team is always listed as the home team unless otherwise noted.
The Red Wings are 1 1/2-goal favorites to win. The Red Wings must win the game by at least two goals to be a winner. If you bet on the Sharks, you win your bet if:
(a) The Sharks win the game.
(b) The game ends in a tie.
(c) The Sharks lose the game by not more than 1 goal.
Note: The money line is used in conjunction with the point spread. If the Red Wings win by 2 goals; a $15 bet would win $10 and return $25. If the Sharks win, tie or lose by one goal; a $10 bet would win $13 and return $23.
It is common for a team to be listed as a 1/2-goal favorite and be listed with a +120 price. This means that by giving up 1/2 goal, a $10 bet would win $12 for a return of $22.
Total: Total points scored in a game. Also called the over/under.
You may wager that the total score of the game will be more or less than the number listed. It makes no difference which team covers the spread. Simply add the final scores of each team. The payout, unless stated otherwise, is figured at odds of 10/11 (-110).
You may combine several teams into one wager. All teams must win to win the bet. Hockey parlays are figured out by calculating the payout for the first game, based on the money line, then applying that amount to the next game and so forth.
Thanks to satellite feeds from racetracks around the nation, Las Vegas is a sort of nirvana for horse racing bettors (or “horseplayers,” as they are sometimes called).
Because there are so many tracks to choose from, in Las Vegas race books it is usually necessary to identify which track you want when you place your bet. For example, tell the ticket writer, “Churchill Downs, eighth race, five dollars to win on No. 4.”
Otherwise, betting procedure in the race book is the same as at the track: For you to collect on a “win” bet your horse must win the race, to collect on a “place” bet he must finish first or second, and to collect on a “show” bet he must finish first, second or third.
Betting a horse “across the board” is really three separate bets: one to win, one to place and one to show.
Hitting an “exacta” entails picking the first two finishers in a race in the correct order; a “quinella” is the first two finishers in either order. A “trifecta” is the first three finishers in exact order; a “trifecta box” is the first three in any order. A “superfecta” is the first four finishers in exacta order.
A “daily double” is a wager that calls for picking the winners of two consecutive races. A “daily triple” entails picking the winners of three consecutive races. And a “Pick Six” calls for picking the winners of six consecutive races, an extremely difficult feat that is usually rewarded with an enormous payout.
In Las Vegas, race books frequently offer promotions such as free contests with cash prizes, special house-banked betting pools that grow larger if no one hits them for a few days or horse racing tournaments. Rules and details vary greatly by casino so be sure to shop around to find those that appeal to you.
Nevada sports books are not permitted to accept wagers on presidential elections, the Academy Awards or the winner of the TV show “Survivor.” Some sports books may post odds on these events as a publicity stunt, but these odds are for amusement only. They are not real betting lines.
Under state law, wagers must involve the outcome of “athletic contests” rather than elections or votes of any kind. This means you cannot even bet on who will win awards such as the Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and the like.
Even so, “wacky” proposition bets can sometimes be found in Las Vegas sports books. They are often linked to the Super Bowl or another major sporting event.
For instance, in the Super Bowl gamblers could bet on whether the Broncos would score more points than what the Boston Celtics score in the 1st quarter of their NBA game on Super Bowl Sunday — and that was just one of countless “wacky” propositions.
As another example, to generate interest in Monday Night NFL games, many sports books offer odds on which player will score the first touchdown in the game.
These “wacky” bets can be lots of fun, but odds and details vary tremendously by casino, so read the fine print before getting involved.
Here is a compiled list of sports betting terminology that may help you in Las Vegas with your sports wagering:
Action: A wager of any kind and the total amount of money being wagered on any game. In baseball betting, this means placing a bet regardless of the listed pitchers.
Across the Board: Where (particularly US horse racing) win, place and show pools are offered, this is a bet of equal stakes on each outcome.
Action: A bet or wager of any kind is deemed Action if valid. Different rules apply in different sports in determining if a bet is action or no action (e.g. baseball bets are action when the game gets beyond 41/2innings).
ATS: “Against the Spread”. The outcome of using a point spread. Ex. The Ravens were a -7.5 favorite to win and actually won the game by 8. This means they won “against the spread”.
Bankroll: The total amount of money the bettor plans to gamble with.
Bet: Any wager that is risked on the outcome of any sporting event or any event for that matter.
Blind Bet: A bet made by a racetrack bookmaker to draw other bookmakers’ attention away from his sizeable betting on another horse- and thus to avoid a shortening of the odds on the other horse.
Book: A bookmaker’s tally of amounts bet on each competitor, and odds necessary to assure him of profit.
Bookmaker: A person or company who accepts bets from the public, usually on racing or sports events (also known as a “bookie”).
Buck: A $100 bet.
Chalk: A team or player that is favored to win.
Chalk Player: A player who mostly wagers on favored teams and rarely bets on underdogs.
Circled Game: A game where the maximum bet is reduced and cannot be included in parlays or teasers. Betting action is limited due to uncertainties of key injuries, weather conditions or rumors regarding a team.
Client: Purchaser of betting information from horseman or other tipster.
Cover: To win a bet against the point spread.
Daily Double: A horse racing wager where a player must pick the horses to win in each of two designated races.
Dead Heat: When two horses finish in a tie.
Dime bet: A $1000 wager.
Dog: The team or player predicted to likely lose a game or matchup. The dog always has a + sign on lines and point spreads. Also known as the underdog.
Dog Player: A bettor who usually bets on underdogs.
Dollar Bet: A $100 wager.
Double Action: An “if bet” that is processed if the precedent bet wins, ties or cancels.
Edge: An advantage.
Even Money: A wager on which neither side lays any juice or vigorish. The odds are even for both teams.
Exacta: The first two horses to place in a race.
Exotic Wager: A bet such as first half, second half, futures, run lines or money line wagers.
Exposure: The amount of money the bookmaker will risk losing on a game or race.
Favorite: The team or player expected to win an event. The odds reflect the extent to which the choice is favored.
First Half Wager: A bet placed on only the first half of a game.
Form Player: A bettor who makes selections from past-performance records.
Furlong: A unit of distance used in horse racing equal to 1/8 of a mile or 220 yards.
Futures: Odds posted on an event or outcome taking place some time in the future, such as the Super Bowl, World Series, the Stanley Cup and the NBA Championship.
Gross Win: The amount of winnings before subtracting the expenses.
Grand Salami: The grand total of goals scored in all hockey games of the day. It can be wagered to go Over or Under the total.
Half Time Bet: A bet placed only on the second half of the game. ( Includes Overtime).
Handicapper: One who handicaps, studies, rates and wagers on sporting events or horse races.
Handicapping: Studying and predicting the outcome of sporting events.
Handle: The total amount of bets taken.
Hedging: Placing a bet on the opposite side in order to cut losses or guarantee a profit from the same previous wager.
Hook: A half-point in point spreads.
Hot Game: A game that draws a significant amount of action on one side by professional handicappers.
In the Money: Describes the horses in a race that finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd (and sometimes 4th) or the horses on which money will be paid to bettors, depending on the place terms.
Juice: The bookmaker’s commission, also known as vigorish or “The Vig”.
Laying points: Betting the favorite by giving up points.
Laying the price: Betting on the favorite by laying money line odds.
Limit: The maximum amount a bookmaker will allow you to bet before he changes the odds and/or the points.
Lines: The current odds or point spread on any particular sporting event.
Linemaker: The person who establishes the original and subsequent betting lines.
Listed Pitchers: When betting on baseball, a wager placed that pitchers scheduled to start a game, actually start. If they don’t, the bet is voided.
Lock: A sure winner.
Longshot: A team or horse unlikely to win or have a chance at winning. (e.g. 100 to 1)
Middle: To win both sides of the same betting proposition. Betting the favorite team at -2 1/2 with one sportbook and then taking +3 1/2 with another one. The game ends up with the favorite winning by exactly 3 points, you have then “middle the game”. A favorite betting method of “wise guys”.
Moneyline: Odds expressed in terms of money. The amount you must bet to win 100 in favorites or the amount you win on underdogs. Whenever there is a (-) minus you lay that amount to win a hundred dollars, where there is a plus (+) you receive that amount for every hundred dollars wagered.
Morning Line: Forecast of probable odds
Move The Line: A player pays an additional price to receive a half-point or more in his favor on a pointspread.
Mutuel Pool: Total amount bet to win, place or show in a race. Also total amount bet on daily double, exacta, quinella, etc…
Nickel: A $500 wager.
Nickel Line: A line where the juice is 5%.
No Action: A bet in which no money is won or lost. A cancelled or voided wager.
Odds: Odds are the bookmaker’s view of the chance of a competitor winning (adjusted to include a profit).
Odds-Against: Where the odds are greater than evens (e.g. “5 to 2”).
Odds Compiler The person working for the bookmaker who sets the odds following research and his own feelings.
Off the Board: A game on which bets are no longer accepted.
Off-Track: Betting conducted away from the track.
Official Lines: The line that the sports books use for wagering purposes.
Overlay: When the odds of a given propositon are more in favor of the bettor than the house.
Over/Under: The combined scores of both teams competing in a game being wagered on. Betting whether the total score will be over or under the expected posted total.
Parlay: A single bet including two or more teams in which all teams must win or cover for the bettor to win and receive higher payouts.
Perfecta: In horse racing, a wager in which the player selects the two horses in a race to finish in 1st and 2nd places in exact order.
Pick’em Game: A game which neither team or betting option is the favorite. Also called a “pick”.
Place: A horse racing wager in which a horse finishes first or second.
Pleasers: A pleaser is a group of NFL side straight bets combined into one bet.
Pointspread: A form of handicapping in which oddsmakers predict how many points one team needs against another in order to even out the public betting on a particular game.
Press: To bet or wager a larger amount than usual.
Price: The odds or pointspread.
Push: A pointspread that ties or combined scores of the two teams that tie the total.
Proposition Bet: A wager on a particular aspect of a game, such as how many touchdowns will be scored, etc.
Quinella: In horse racing, a wager in which the player selects the two horses in a race to finish in 1st and 2nd places in any order.
Reverse: In horse racing, to ask for a second exacta wager which specifies two horses in reverse order of the first exacta wager.
Round Robin: A series of three or more teams in 2-team parlays.
Run Down: A line update. All the lines for a specific date, sport, time, etc.
Run Line: In baseball, a spread used instead of a moneyline. Usually set at 1½ either way.
Scratch: In horse racing, a horse that has been withdrawn from a race before the start. Wagers on this horse are voided.
Show: A horse racing bet in which you collect if the horse finishes first, second or third.
Sides: The names of the two teams playing: the underdog and the favorite.
Sided: When one side of a betting proposition wins and opposite side ties.
Single: A bet on a single result or outcome.
Single Action: An “if bet” that is processed only if the precedent bet wins.
Spread: An abbreviated form or another word for a point spread.
Square: Unsophisticated or unknowlegable gambler.
Straight Bet: A bet on one team or player.
Taking the points: Betting on the underdog and taking the advantage in the point spread.
Taking the price: Betting an underdog and accepting money odds.
Teaser: A bet on two or more teams where the line on each team is adjusted in the favor of the bettor by a fixed number of additional points. Like a parlay bet, all selections must be correct for the teaser to win.
Ticket: Any Wager.
Total: The combined number of points scored by both teams during a game, including overtime.
Totals Bet: A bet in which the bettor speculates that the total score of both teams will be more or less than the line posted.
Trifecta: A horse racing bet in which a player selects three horses in one race to finish first, second and third in exact order.
Under: A bet in which the total points scored by two teams will be under a certain amount.
Underdog: The team perceived to likely end up losing. The team given points in a pointspread.
Value: Getting the best available odds on a betting proposition.
Vigorish: The commission paid to the Sportbooks.
Wager: Any bet.
Win: The term used to describe a 1st place finish.
Winning Margin: A bet to predict the winning margin of one team over another.
Wise Guy: A well-informed and knowledgeable handicapper or bettor.
Written for VegasTopDogs.com who feature the Best Professional Sports Handicappers in the World. These Handicappers featured on VTD have made millions with their offshore contacts and WiseGuy connections in the sports betting industry throughout their career. Check out all of their BIG GAMES and special package deals now!