The casino Sports books make their money on sports bets by collecting a commission on losing bets. This is called the Vigorish or Vig for short. The most common odds are 11 to 10. This means that if you want to win $100 you are risking $110. For example you place a bet on the Giants at the casino sports book and pay $110. If the Giants win you collect $210 when you cash your winning ticket. If you lose your bet you lose the $110.
Ideally the Sports book would like to have the same amount of money wagered on the two teams playing. If the Giants are playing the Colts and they have one player betting on the Giants and one player betting on the Colts they would pay the winner $100 but collect $110 for the loser. This gives them a $10 profit so they really don’t care who wins as long as they have an equal amount bet on each team. To accomplish this they assign a line or spread to make the contest equally attractive for both sides.
The Point Spread
Many people think that the point spread is the predicted margin of victory by which one team will beat another team but this is not true. The line is the handicapper’s prediction of what number will be required to split the wagering evenly on both teams. For this reason the line may change from the opening line to the line at game time.
When you bet on a game with the point spread your team does not necessarily have to win. You just need to cover the spread. If you bet on Miami who is favored to win by 7 and they only win by 4 you lose. If you bet Chicago who is a 10 point underdog and they only lose by 3 points then you win.
Types of Bets
A Straight bet is a bet made on a single game or outcome. You can choose to bet the favorite or the under dog or you can bet the over or under of the total score. When you make a straight bet you are betting on a single event or outcome.
You can also choose the over or the under for the game total. The over or the under is a wager on the total score at the end of the game. You add the scores of both teams to get the final number. When you bet the under you are betting that the score will be under the total. When you bet the over you are betting the score will be higher than the total. For Example the final score of the game is: Colts 32 and Giants 17. The total of the game is 49. You win if you bet over and the score was more than 49 or if you bet under and the score was less than 49. If the score was exactly 49 then it would be a tie also called a push.
A Parlay bet is a single bet that links together the outcome of more than one game or event. The parlay can be comprised of a series of bets on a team, over/under bets, or any mixture of the two. For the parlay to be a winning wager, every one of its individual plays must win. If any of the individual bets is not a winner, then the entire parlay wager loses.
The payout for a parlay bet varies with the number of wagers in the parlay. A two team parlay usually pays 13 to 5 and a three team pays 6 to 1. Some sports books and bookmakers offer slightly or higher payouts on parlays so you should always shop around for the best payouts.
Parlay bets are attractive because the bet is low and the payoff is high. However you have to pick multiple winners to be successful. It might be to your advantage to pick several games straight up instead of linking them together.
A Teaser is one wager consisting of 2 or more propositions in which you are allowed to adjust the point spread in your favor. For example in a two team football teaser you can add or subtract 6, 6 ½ or 7 points to the point spread of each team. Most Teasers are even money bets.
For example: You want to bet the Colts and Miami in a teaser. The Colts are 7.5 favorites over the Jets and Miami is a 3.5 underdog to New England. Taking them in a 6 point teaser the point spread for the bet is: Colts – 1.5 (subtract 6 from 7.5) and Miami + 9.5 (add 6 to 3.5).