Sports Betting 101

Sports Betting 101

Understanding Popular Bet Types

Sports betting offers many ways to wager and win. Straight bet (Money Line, Point Spread or Total (Over/Under), Parlay, Teaser bets, Futures bets, Round Robin bets, Proposition bets and In-Play bets are among the most popular options. Before you begin, here are the basics you need to know.

Straight Bet (Money Line, Point Spread, or Total Over/Under)

A straight bet is an individual wager on a game or event that will be determined by a point spread, money line or total (over/under).



Money Line (Represents a wager made on a specific team to win an event without using the Point Spread. The Money Line is expressed in terms of a $100 bet).

As an example, if the odds board shows:

  • New York -140
  • Boston +120

A bet on New York (the favorite) costs more; you would need to place a $140 wager for a chance to win $100.

A bet on Boston (the underdog) pays more; a $100 wager gives you a chance to win $120.



Point Spread (Represents margin of points in which the favored team must win the event by to cover the point spread. Bets on the point spread are typically offered at 11 to 10 odds. A player must wager $11 to win $10 for a total payout of $21.)

If a minus (-) sign is before the spread number, this means the team is favored to win and must win the event by more than the number value listed.

If a plus (+) sign is before the spread number, this tells you the team is the underdog and the sportsbook will add the number value listed to this team’s final score to determine the result of the event.

As an example, if the odds board shows:

  • New England -5.5
  • Buffalo +5.5

To win a bet on New England, New England must win by six points or more.

To win a bet on the Buffalo, Buffalo must either win the game or lose by five points or less.



Total or Over/Under (Bets on the total are typically offered at 11 to 10 odds. A player must wager $11 to win $10 for a total payout of $21.)

The total is the specified estimate of the two teams combined score at the end of a game. When placing over/under bets, you are betting either the game total will go over or under the total set by the Sports Book. on the actual final combined score versus the set total.

As an example,

  • The Sports Book sets a total of 9.5
  • New York beat Boston (5-4)
  • The game total is 9 (5+4)

To win the over bet, the two teams final combined score must be 10 or more runs. In this example, the over bet loses and the under bet wins.



Parlay Bet

Parlay bets are wagers where you combine multiple selections into a single bet. The benefit of a parlay is the pay out, because you can bet a small amount and win big. With a parlay, all your chosen bets must win for the parlay to pay out. If one of the games you bet on ties, this is called a “push” and your parlay ticket is still “live”.



Teaser Bet (Pro Football 6, 6.5 or 7 points/Pro Basketball 4, 4.5 or 5 points)

Teasers are parlay bets that allow you to shift a point spread in your favor by certain designated amounts. As a result, your payout is reduced, but your chances of winning are better. You must tease at least two games together.



Futures Bet

Futures are wagers placed on an event typically settled on a later date. For example, placing a wager on a team to win the championship in their designated sport (i.e. 2020 Pro Hockey Championship).



Round Robin Bet

A round robin is a series of parlay bets. For example, a three team round robin consists of three 2 team parlay bets (Team A + Team B, Team A + Team C, Team B + Team C). If Team A loses their game, you still have an opportunity to win on your parlay of Team B + Team C.



Proposition Bet (Prop Bet)

Proposition bets are individual bets that can occur with a given game or event.



In-Play Bet (Live Wagering)

In-Play bets are wagers on either the point spread, money line or total of a game or events after the game/event has started.

Sports Betting Terms

  • Action- A sports wager (or bet) of any kind.
  • Cover- Winning by more than the point spread.
  • Line- The current odds or point spread of a specific event.
  • Off the board- A game in which no bets are being offered.
  • Opening Line- The earliest line posted for a specific event
  • Push- When an event ends with no winner or loser for wagering purposes (the wager ends in a “tie”)