Betting 101

Sometimes, the combined scores will land right on the total. In our example, if the score ended up being something like 34-32, then the combined score would be 66, exactly the predicted total. In these cases, no one wins the bet, and you would simply get your money back. To avoid these situations, sportsbooks will often set the total at a half number, like 66.5. This way, if the final combined score was 66, it would be an under, and a 67 would be an over. In our example, the FanDuel Favorites (-7) would need to win by at least 8 points to cover the bet.

But add that $30 up many times over hundreds to thousands of bets and you start to see the long-term difference it makes to your bottom line. In theory, the closing line represents the most accurate picture of the probabilities in the event. When the books become more confident in their numbers, they expand the limits. Again, most often the books follow the leads of the market setters with some small variation based on house risk. A market with +380 and -380 options represents a fair market, one with no vig – the implied probabilities add up to 100. The bookmakers want to turn a profit, so they include some vig, outside of maybe a few promo offers that may happen every now and then.

In the above example, let’s assume Bettor A wagers $110 to win $100 on the Cowboys, while Bettor B wagers $110 to win $100 on the Giants. The sportsbook has taken $220 in wagers on this game, but will pay out $210 to the winner . The $10 the sportsbook keeps is basically collected from the losing wager, and this is the most significant house edge it holds over the players.

You can use the formula below to calculate the potential winnings for any value you wish to wager.

A betting line is the number set by the sportsbook that helps to handicap a certain game or sporting event. These lines give each side a 50/50 chance to win the game, making for a tougher decision for the sports bettor. Almost all sports offer spread betting, but they behave differently depending on the sport.

Wait for all available information to come out then make your pick. Typically, that’s poured into a computer model, which pumps out odds. Most line makers have shifted toward this quantitative method. However, a few bookies still use their judgment to fine-tune betting odds. Online sportsbooks are all privy to all of their bettors betting history. As such, they know which accounts likely belong to “sharps,” or professional bettors.

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