Sports Betting 101: Basic Bets

The Point Spread & Moneyline


The Point spread:

In order to make games between unevenly talented teams more even, Oddsmakers take points away from teams before the game begins.

For example, if the best team in football is playing the worst team in football in a game, it would be fairly easy to predict who will most likely win the game – the better team. Most people would wager on the better team, most people would win their bets, and sportsbooks would lose their money.

To even out these match ups, oddsmakers create a point spread, essentially taking points away from the better team (the favorite) and giving some points to the less talented team (the underdog). For instance if Pittsburgh  were taking on Detroit, it would be easy to predict that Pittsburgh will win the game. But if the oddsmakers have a pointspread on the game, and Pittsburgh is favored by -14 (taking 14 points away from their final score), making Detroit a +14 point underdog (adding 14 points to there final score) it makes it more difficult to predict an overall winner. Pittsburgh not only needs to win, but also needs to win by at least 14 points before you win a wager on them, and Detroit can still lose the game, but as long as they keep it within 14 points, you still cash in on your wager for Detroit.

The Moneyline:

There is still an opportunity to bet on a team without using a point spread. To just bet on a team winning or losing a game, odds makers will increase or decrease the amount of your win with what is called a Moneyline. Simply put, if you bet on a team that’s supposed to win a game, you risk more to earn less, if you are betting on a team that is supposed to lose, you will earn more on that wager. You will see the moneylines for each team written as a plus or minus number, each corresponding to how much you can win based on how much you wager.

A favorite will have a minus (-) number after the team name, this number identifies how much money you would need to wager $180 to win $100. E.g.; if the moneyline is set at -180, you would need to bet $180 dollars on that team to win back $100, plus your original wager.

If a moneyline is set at +250, this means that for every $100 you wager, you will win your original bet plus $250 back.


is a professional sports better and a semi-pro fantasy football player.

About Kate Potter

Kate Potter is a professional sports better and a semi-pro fantasy football player.

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