Whether you are new to sports betting, or a long-term player, understanding sports betting terminology is key to ensuring that you are making the correct bets based on your picks. It also allows you to broaden your range when looking at potential wagers for a full sporting event, because there are a lot more options available other than ‘who will win?” Below I will answer some of the questions I get relating to betting on sports, and after reading this post you will hopefully have a better understanding of the more common types of sports bets.
What does the Money Line Mean?
Moneyline betting is popular across all sports and it is when you pick one team to win outright. For example, if you make a moneyline wager on the Dallas Cowboys against the New York Giants, you are betting that Dallas will win the game outright. If Dallas wins 21-20 you are a winner, but if the Giants win 21-20 then your bet loses.
What is a Point Spread in Betting?
Point Spread betting is popular in football and basketball, and it is when you pick one team to win by more than a set number of points, or the other team to lose by less than the same number. For example, if you make a point spread wager on the Dallas Cowboys against the New York Giants, and the spread is Dallas -6.5, then you are betting that Dallas will win by more than 6.5 points. If you take New York +6.5, then you are betting that New York will either win, or lose by less than 6.5 points. If you choose Dallas and they win 21-10, then your point spread wager wins, but if Dallas wins 21-20, then your point spread wager loses because they didn’t win by at least 6.5 points. To look at the other side of the point spread, if you take New York +6.5 and they lose 21-10, then you lose your wager because they lost by more than 6.5 points, but if New York loses 21-20, then your point spread wager is a winner, because they may not have won outright, but they lost by less than the point spread amount.
What is Run Line?
Run line betting is the same concept as point spread betting, except it is used when wagering on baseball. The majority of run line wagers are +/- 1.5 runs, and it makes betting on baseball more appealing than simply taking a team to win outright, especially if one team is a big favourite. What I mean by more appealing is that if the Los Angeles Dodgers are playing against the Miami Marlins, the Dodgers are likely to be a big favourite. Instead of taking LA to win outright for a low return on your bet because they are such a big favourite, you have the option to pick LA -1.5, which is saying that the Dodgers will win by at least 1.5 runs. This may also be a “favourite”, but the return on your bet amount will be higher than if you simply took LA to win by at least one run. For example, if you make a run line bet (-1.5) on the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Miami Marlins, you are betting that LA will win the game by at least two runs. If the Dodgers win 5-3 you are a winner, but if they only win 4-3 then your bet loses. On the opposite side, if you pick Miami +1.5 then you can still win even if the Marlins lose the game, but only if they lose by exactly one run.
What is Puck Line?
Puck line betting is the same concept as point spread and run line betting, except it is used when wagering on hockey. Like run line, the majority of puck line wagers are set at +/- 1.5 goals and allows for a higher return on your wager than if you were to take a favourite to win outright. For example, if you make a puck line bet (-1.5) on the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Ottawa Senators, you are betting that Toronto will win the game by at least two goals. If the Leafs win 3-1 you are a winner, but if they only win 2-1 then your bet loses. On the opposite side, if you pick Ottawa +1.5 then you can still win even if the Senators lose the game, but only if they lose by exactly one goal.
What is Betting Totals?
Totals betting is common across all sports, and it is when you make a bet picking either over or under a set total number provided by the sportsbook. You can bet totals in pretty much every sport and for those who aren’t sure if they want to pick one team or the other on a money line or point spread bet, there is the option to wager on the total amount of runs, goals, or points that will be scored in a game. For example, if the Red Sox are playing the Yankees and the total for the game is 8.5 run, then you have the option to pick over or under this total. If you pick the over then you are wagering that at least 9 combined runs between the two teams will be scored in the game. If New York wins 8-4 and you picked the over, then you are a winner, but if they win 4-3 the total number is only 7, which is under the 8.5 and therefore your wager would lose.
What is Betting Over / Under?
I am including an additional category for over / under betting for the simple reason that it has become much more popular in sports betting today, but it is not just for totals wagers. Sure, if you pick the over / under in a baseball game, you are possibly picking over or under the total number of runs or points in a game, but there is a likelihood that you are picking something different. For example, you can pick over / under strikeouts for a pitcher, over / under strikeouts for a hitter, over / under total bases for a player, or over / under total errors committed in the game. While it is difficult to find value in some of these wagers, it opens much more options for single game betting, especially if you don’t know much about the teams playing, but are an avid follower of a particular player, etc.
While these are only a few of the items to learn in understanding sports betting terminology, they cover a majority of the bet types for both casual and seasoned gamblers.
What type of sports bets do you tend to wager on, or is there something not on my list that you prefer? Let me know in the comments section below!