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Sports Betting 101: Introduction To Types Of Bets



2020 Best NBA Vegas Odds is thrilled to announce its expansion into the sports betting arena. Stay tuned for additional announcements as we develop new and exciting sports betting content, resources and tools. Make sure to follow our @FantasyAdvisors twitter account for all the latest.

Our goal with this series is to talk about some basic betting principles and also explore how these concepts can be used to our advantage in the DFS realm. As we produce more content, we will delve into some advanced concepts and expand upon some of the introductory articles in this betting series.

This article is an introduction to several basic types of bets and a brief example of each. For a lot of people this may be common knowledge, but for plenty of others these are unfamiliar terms. In a future follow up, I’ll discuss some more exotic types of bets such as teasers, if wins, round robins and others, but for now we will stick to the most common bet types.


Bet Types

Straight bet –

This is the most common bet type and it is just a straight up single bet on a game. A point spread is determined by the odds-makers with one team being favored by a certain amount of points. Let’s take a look at an example line below to give a clear indication of what a straight bet would be:

Golden State Warriors -6.5 (-110) ML -320

at Cleveland Cavaliers +6.5 (-110) ML +260

O/U 210

The Warriors are favored by 6.5 points in this example.  This means that if you bet the Cavs you are getting 6.5 points, so if the Cavs win the game, or lose by less than 7 points, you will win the bet because of your 6.5 point cushion. On the other side, when you are taking -6.5 points as the favorite, you would need the Warriors to win by 7 or more to win the bet.

Final Score – Warriors 102 Cavs 98. Cavs would cover even though the Warriors won the game because the +6.5 point spread is enough to cover a 4 point defeat.

Money Line (“ML”) –

The money line is a bet where there is no spread; you’re just picking the winner of the game. In the example above, the Cavs ML is +260, which means that for every $100 wagered, you win $260 if the Cavs win the game outright. They receive the plus side of the moneyline since they are the underdog and picking them rewards you with nice odds since they are projected to likely lose the game. On the flip side, if you bet the Warriors ML at -320, you have to bet $320 to win $100. They are the favorites so if you decide to bet the moneyline instead of the point spread, you are forced to bet additional money to win $100.

In the example above, the Cavs ML would be the winner as they won the game outright. The spread is irrelevant for a money line wager.

Over/Under –

This is a straight bet wagering on how many total combined points will be scored in a game by both teams. For example, an NBA game may have an over/under of 210 points, which means that the odds-makers are projecting a combined points total of 210 between the two teams. If you think the teams are going to score more than 210 points total, you bet the over, and if you think it’s going to be a defensive struggle, you can bet the under hoping that the total points scored equals 209 points or less.

Parlay –

A parlay is a bet where you combine multiple bets into one bet and you get increased odds because you only win your parlay wager if all of your bets win. If you do a three team parlay, you select three different teams from three different games and if you win all three of the bets you hit your parlay for big odds (10-1 so $100 to win $1000). Going 0/3, 1/3, or 2/3 is all the same and you lose the parlay bet. It’s all or nothing which makes them tough to hit and is more of a homerun type bet than a regular straight bet since there’s a chance for a big payoff. Think of this as  BOOM or BUST Tournament/GPP Play in DFS terms.

Understanding the Vig (Juice) –

One of the most important concepts when getting into betting is understanding breakeven points based on the moneyline spread you are betting.  The starting point for this analysis is understanding the juice that comes with any bet.  Simply, this is a tax you pay for the privilege of placing a wager.  For a standard bet, the juice is usually -110 (or 10% vig), which means you have to pay $110 to win $100.  The extra 10% you are paying goes to the house.  It’s important to understand how much juice you are required to pay because there are times when the house will increase the juice on a standard bet.  This is done based on numerous factors, which we will delve into in subsequent articles. Think of this as the rake in DFS terms. The house has to make some money somewhere when people win!


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