Getting Started Guide
Here is a brief tutorial on five of the most popular betting options, and those for which you’ll see the most lines on our site.
Moneyline – what is a moneyline bet?
A moneyline bet is the probably the simplest bet you can make at a sportsbook. There are no point spreads to consider, but there is still usually a favorite and an underdog.
When betting the moneyline, your potential payout will change depending on which team is favored. Most sportsbooks in the United States use American odds for moneylines.
The payout is presented in relation to a $100 wager. A plus number (+) represents how much more than $100 the bet pays. A minus number (-) represents how much you must bet to win $100.
If the Golden State Warriors are seen as the favorite team at -160 and you bet $100 on them, your payout will be $162.50 ($62.50 in profit plus your $100 stake). Alternatively, if you bet $100 on the Sacramento Kings, the underdog, at +140, you will win $140 from a $100 bet, making your payout $240. Check out our Bet Calculator to calculate your winnings.
Point Spread – what is the point spread and how do I bet on it?
Most games that sportsbooks offer will have a favorite and an underdog (often simply called the “dog”). The point spread, or handicap, is what sportsbooks think the margin of victory is likely to be.
To bet on the favorite, you will ‘lay’ the points against the spread. The favorite must win by a certain number of points/runs/goals for your bet to win (think about this as that team starting the
game with a deficit on the scoreboard). Conversely, if you bet on the underdog, you add these points to that team's final score. The point spread allows the underdog to lose by a certain number of points and your bet to still win.
The Green Bay Packers are the favored team over the Chicago Bears, and the point spread is Green Bay -6.5. If you bet Green Bay against the spread, you are betting the Packers will win by more than 6.5 points (seven points or more). Alternatively, if you bet Chicago, they can win, tie or lose the game by fewer than 6.5 points and you will win your bet.
Total (over/under) – what is the over/under and how do I bet on points totals?
The points total (also known as the “over/under”, where one side is the over and the other is the under), allows you to bet without picking one of the teams in a game.
Rather, you are betting on how many points will be scored, either over or under the listed total. The most common over/under bet is a wager on the combined points scored by both teams in a game,
though additional over/under bets can be found for halftime points totals, team points totals and individual player statistics totals.
In the Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Purdue Boilermakers football game, the points total is 48.5 points. To bet the over, you are betting the total points scored by both teams in the game will be 49 or more. To bet the under, you are betting the total points will be 48 or fewer.
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Parlay Bets – what is a parlay?
Simply put, a parlay bet is multiple wagers combined into one single bet. The odds for combining multiple bets is usually higher, the thus payout is also higher.
With a parlay wager, however, if any single (or multiple) of your bets loses, the entire wager is lost.
For example, can parlay the Los Angeles Dodgers moneyline at -180 and the Atlanta Braves moneyline at -150 into one wager. The odds on this parlay will be +159.26. If the first Dodgers win, your parlay wager is still alive, and your bet is rolled into the next game. If the Braves win too, then the payout will be higher than if you had bet each game individually. However, if either team loses, the entire parlay wager is lost.
The reason parlay bets (often simply known as “parlays”) pay out more for correctly picking multiple individual bets is because parlay odds are calculated by multiplying each line’s odds sequentially. The more bets you add to a parlay (and thus the more lines you add), the more the multiplier grows, offering longer odds and bigger payouts.
To understand the difference in payouts, let’s compare betting $100 on three individual matchups, each at -125 odds, versus combining them into a single $100, three-way parlay. If you were to win all three individual bets of $100 at -125, the total profit would be $240 ($80 profit from each -125 wager). However, if you placed a three-way parlay the same -125 matchups for each leg, the final odds of the parlay would be +483.20 and your profit on a $100 bet would be $483.20! Want to calculate your parlay odds? Check out our Parlay Calculator to calculate your winnings.
Prop Bets – what is a prop bet?
“Prop” bet is short for proposition bet. A prop bet is a wager that is not directly tied to the winner of the game or the final score. Most often, prop bets are based on outcomes that will occur in-game.
Prop bets can involve a team’s or individual player’s performance but can also include obscure things such as the winner of the coin toss in the Super Bowl.
Examples of prop bets include whether a player will hit a home run, who will score the first touchdown and the total points scored by a player.
Prop bets can also include team or game-specific outcomes, such as which team will get to 15 points first, or at what minute the first goal will be scored.
If a sportsbook is offering a prop bet on the total number of goals scored in the Chicago Blackhawks vs. Edmonton Oilers match at 5.5, you can bet over the combined number of goals scored by both teams and your bet will win if there are six or more goals scored, or it will lose if there are five or fewer goals scored. Often, a sportsbook will offer alternative totals or point spreads, which are also considered prop bets.