When first looking at all the wagers that can be made on an online sportsbook; you may be overwhelmed if you don’t know what you’re looking at. With our guide to reading the betting lines, you’ll be making wagers on the top matchups in no time. While there are a plethora of different sports bets that you can make online, the three most common bets made by bettors are the Money Line, Point Spread, and the Over/Under. In fact, for most games, these are the first three bets you’ll see on the main sport pages and homepages of different sportsbooks.
For our guide, we will be using the following betting line that ended in a final score of Dallas- 28, Philadelphia- 21:
|Dallas||-3.5 (-110)||-180||O 48 (-110)|
|Philadelphia||+3.5 (-110)||+160||U 48 (-110)|
The Moneyline bet is the simplest type of wager out of the major three. This bet is where you choose one side to win the game or matchup outright. The oddsmakers set the Moneyline’s odds based on how likely each side’s chance of winning the matchup or game is. The Moneyline bet is more than likely the most common wager for new sports bettors as the bet is as simple as picking who you think will win. Moneyline can be found for every sport but is the most popular for sports like baseball, hockey, boxing, and tennis. When looking at a Moneyline, you’re able to tell which team is the favorite (most likely to win) and the underdog (most likely to lose). The team with the negative sign (-) in front of their odds is the favorite, and the oddsmakers believe they will win the game. The greater the number, the more the oddsmakers believe that they will win. The team with the positive sign (+) in front of their odds are the underdogs, the side that the oddsmakers think will lose. In our example, Dallas is considered the favorite, while Philadelphia is considered an underdog. As Dallas won the game over Philadelphia by a score of 28 to 21, Dallas won the Moneyline bet.
Also known as the “Point Spread,” this number is created by the oddsmakers to create a level playing field between either side of the bet. As no two teams or individuals have the same skill level, the oddsmakers use the spread to make the both sides more even. The odds for the spread are often -110, meaning that a $110 bet will win you $100. This is about as close to an even bet that you will find the oddsmakers put out while also receiving their percentage of the action (called the vig). The spread is the most popular bet for both main football leagues, the NFL and College Football. It is also a heavily used bet in the NBA and college basketball. In baseball and hockey, the spread has a unique name. In baseball, the spread is known as the run line. In hockey, it is known as the puck line. In our example, Dallas won by more than the spread of 3.5 points. This outcome shows that Dallas “covered” the spread, which means that they beat the point spread given by the sportsbook. If the final outcome had been something like Dallas- 28, Philadelphia- 27, the difference in the score is one point, meaning that the Eagles covered the spread.
The Over/Under (O/U) bet, also known as Totals, is the number set by the sportsbooks where you wager on if the combined score of both teams will be higher or lower than that number. Similar to the Spread bet, the Over/Under number supplied by the Sportsbook tries to get action on both sides of the bet. Because of this, the odds are usually around -110 as the Sportsbook believes that both sides are relatively even while the Sportsbooks also receives their vig. The Over/Under bet is popular in all sports, but especially in college football. In our example, the combined score of the game is 49 points. With the Over/Under line set at 48 points, this means that the score was over the O/U line and the “Over” bet hit. Some Over/Under wagers will have a whole number while others will have a “.5” at the end of the final score. As there is no sport where there can be half a point scored, what does this mean? Sportsbooks would rather not have a “push” or a tie, so the half a point added on to the final number ensures that the score will land on either side of the Over/Under.
Now that you know the top 3 sports betting options, you’re ready to dive into the action. Whether you want to bet the spread on the next NFL game or take the Over in the March Madness tournament, you know what to expect from all the online sportsbooks. If you want to learn more about all the other betting options that the sportsbooks have to offer, be sure to learn all about prop bets and tips that we have to offer on the site.