Sports Betting 101


Now that our sports betting section of FTA is growing, I would just like to lay out some basic groundwork and fundamentals for everyone to refer too, and for those of you just starting out to be able to use as a guide. As always I can be found in chat (@Craig) if at anytime you have any questions. One thing to understand about vegas odds, and why so many DFS players use these odds to help lean them in a certain direction while building lineups is because these lines are meant to be built with as much accuracy as possible. If they are off, the bookmakers lose money.

Terms: A brief overview of the most common terms you will see

Spread – an abbreviated form of a “pointspread”

Moneyline – straight up winner, a bet where no point spread is involved

Runline – a spread used instead of the moneyline in baseball

Over/Under – a bet on whether the combined points/goals scored by both teams will be more or less than the specified number

Parlay – a combination of multiple bets, all bets must hit to win

Buy (Points) – when the bettor pays an additional price to receive a half or point or more in his/her favor on a point spread

Push – when a contests ends with no winner or loser for betting purposes

No Action – a wager where no money is lost or won

Understanding the different betting categories

Below is a picture of what your typical ‘line’ will look like. Please reference above If at anytime you forget what any of these categories mean.

See the source image

Whenever you see a (-) before the number listed, this means that team is listed as the favorite. Whenever you see a (+) before the number listed, this team is the underdog.

Understanding odds

This is the part that is confusing to some people, but I will explain it the way that was easiest for me to understand when I was learning. The odds of the bet are going to be the numbers in parenthesis and the number in the moneyline bets. So looking above we if we look at spread, we see that the odds Nashville covers -1 ½ is (+220), this means they are essentially the underdogs for this side of the bet, although they are favored to win straight up (Moneyline) they are not favored to win by 2 goals, which we will get into more detail below. +220 is stating that if a $100 bet would hit, you would win $220, a $10 bet would win $22. On the other side of things we see the +1 ½ odds for St Louis at -260, so this is stating you must bet $260 to win $100, or $26 to win $10. Occasionally you will run into a PK situation, this simply states the match is determined to be equal, and would be an even money payout. IE: $100 wins $100.

How to read and bet point spreads

So looking at the above picture, the Nashville Predators are favored to win the game by 1 ½ goals. With that being said there are 2 ways to approach betting this category, taking St Louis +1 ½ (underdog), which means you will need St Louis to either win the match or lose by no more than 1 in order to win this bet. On the other side you can take Nashville -1 ½ (favorite) which will mean in order to win this bet you need Nashville to win by at least 2 goals. I typically stay away from points spreads on the favored side (-1 ½) in sports such as Hockey and Baseball, just do to the volatility.

How to read and bet the moneyline

This will more than likely be one of the most common bets you use, as it is for me. Understanding these bets are very simple and are based off of the odds we talked about above. So in the above example Nashville is the favorite at -145 odds. The easiest way to understand this from a dollar perspective is -145 is stating you must bet $145 to win $100 (Bet more to win less because you are betting the favorite). Now on the underdog side we have St Louis at +125 odds. Now since we are betting the underdog, if this bet hits for every $100 we bet, we win $125. (Bet less to win more because we are betting the underdog). There is some advanced stuff I would get into as far as ‘risk management’ and ‘value’ bets, which I will detail in an article later in the future.

How to read and bet the Over/Under

This will also be a very common bet we make and also very easy to understand. If we look above we see that the over under for this match is 5, so if you think this match will go 6 goals, we want to bet the over, if you think only 3 goals, we bet the under. If this match happens to score 5 goals at match end, we run into a ‘push’ situation, where we get our money back from our bet and make no profit. This is why we typically we always see a ‘1/2’ after most of the spreads and over/unders, this protects the bookmakers from pushes and makes it to where no matter what you end up above or below.

Understanding and betting Parlay’s

Parlays are a very fun aspect of sports betting and can give you a sweat just like DFS. A parlay is a combination of multiple bets, which all must hit in order to win the bet.

See the source image

Above is an example of a bet slip consisting of a 5 game parlay. The odds of you hitting all 5 bets within this parlay are relatively low, which is why we see high payouts. This parlay pays $2,000 off of a $80 bet. Odds are going to be different for each parlay you do because the calculations are made using the odds of the individual games themselves. Although these are very fun and can get you quite the payday, I like to think of parlay bets just like GPP’s in DFS. So I like to backup my parlays with some moneyline bets, which I like to think of as the cash plays of sportsbooks.

Hopefully this helps those of you wanting to take a step into the sports betting world. This is just a brief beginners guide laying out a few terms and basics that you need to understand before making your first bet. If this article was helpful I would love to start getting into some slightly more advanced stuff with you guys. As always, you can find me in chat if you have any questions.

Sports Betting

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