When you visit an online sportsbook for the first time, the sheer number of the different types of sports bets and wagers could be daunting. But in reality, there are a handful of bets one would make at the sportsbooks, so in this article we will take a look at the most common ones. Once you’ve mastered them, the more exotic types would be much easier to understand and utilize. So, let’s start with the bets you could commonly place at the sportsbooks:
Money Line (or Straight Bet) – this is the most popular wager one can place at the sportsbooks and in whole honesty, it is what people think of when they hear the word “bet”. Simply put, the money line is a bet on which team (or competitor) would win the game outright. There is nothing complicated about this wager type, one simply chooses which team will be the winner at the end of the game and you will often find this bet option at the online sportsbooks under the column “money line”. Let’s take football as an example, and make up a game between the Lions and the Packers. A sportsbook will post a money line like “Packers -210”. If you decide to wager on the Packers to win the game, you simply place a bet on the money line, and should the Packers win – your bet is also a winner.
Point Spread – while the money line is the most popular among everyone, the point spread is the most popular when it comes to football games. The type of sportsbook wager is a bit more complicated than the straight bet, although not by much. The point spread works by giving a handicap to one of the teams, in the form of predetermined number of points. It may sound complicated but it really isn’t. To place a point spread type of wager, you simply have to add those handicap points to the final score of the game and then see which team turns out to be a winner. To make the math easier, the sportsbooks even put plus and minus signs in front of the spread of the respective teams. Let’s use our previous example of a Packers Lions football game and say that the sportsbook posted that the point spread on the Lions is +7. This means that when the actual game is said and done, one should simply add an additional 7 points to the final score of the Lions, and then see if the Lions win the game with this handicap. If they did, your point spread bet is a winner, but if even after giving the Lions 7 extra points they still lose the game (for example, the Packers won by 10 points), then the bet is a loser.
Over-Under (or Total) – another very common bet with sports such as football and basketball. And it is very simple and easy to place the over/under type of wager to boot. As you can tell by the name of this bet, it is concerned with the total of the final score of the game: the sportsbook posts a number they believe would be the total score (the combined score of each of the two teams) and then the player can decide whether they believe the actual final score would be “over” or “under” the total posted by the sportsbook. For example, if the Giants and the Patriots are playing, the Giants score 14 points and the Pats score 21 points, the total of the game would be 14+21=35. If the sportsbook has posted a total of 24 points, the outcome of the over/under bet would be “over” since 35 is more than 24. Simple as that.
Overall, there three bets are the most common types you will find at the online sportsbooks. The easiest, of course, is the money line, but the best is the point spread, since it give the play a better chance to win. Of course, this comes with a price, which is reflected in the odds – the payout on the point spread bet would be much smaller than on the money line one. But in general, those three types of wagers should be able to serve the needs of any beginner bettor. Once you have mastered the three, we recommend you expand your horizon by looking into some of the more unusual and exotic betting options offered by the sportsbooks.