Sports betting is the process of attempting to predict the end result of a sporting event then placing a wager on that result. These wagers are placed through bookmakers or “bookies”. In organized gambling areas the wagers are placed at sportsbooks. Bookmakers or sports books earns a small fee known as the “juice” or “vigorish” by paying out a smaller amount on a winning wager then was received.
A basic example of the “vig” would be the odds on a “straight bet” of 10/11. In this case, the bettor must bet $11 to win $10. If the bet wins the bettor will collect a total of $21 and if the bet loses the bettor will collect $0.
The vigorish comes into play when the bookmaker receives a bet on both sides of the game. For example, Team A is playing Team B. The bookie takes a bet from one bettor on Team A for $11 and another bet from another bettor on Team B for $11. Team A wins the game so the bookmaker must pay the winning Team A bettor $10 and then will keep the $11 from the losing bettor of Team B. In this example, the bookmaker kept $11 and paid $10 thus having a vigorish of $1.
Many large sports betting sites in Kenya will take millions of dollars of bets each month – so that $1 vig really can add up.
Let’s take an in-depth look at the definitions of the different types of wages that exist in sports betting.
Types of Wagers:
- Straight Bet
This is a wager made on “one” game or event that will be determined by a point spread or money line. You are just betting on one side (team) win. This is actually called “betting the side”. Just like the example above where the bettor’s bet either Team A or Team B – those each were straight bets.
Totals Bets are also known as the “over-under bets”. This is a wager on the final combined score of both teams to go over or under the posted number on the odds board. For example, if the total is posted at 43 then you can place a bet that the game will go “over the total” or “under the total”.
- Point Spreads
A point spread is the number of points the favourite team is predicted to win by. For example, Team A is expected or favoured to win against Team B by a point spread of 3. This means if you bet on Team A you are “spotting” Team B 3 points before the game begins. As such, Team A must beat Team B by more than 3 points for you to win your bet. If Team A wins by less than 3 points then you lose your bet. If Team a wins are exactly 3 points (the point spread) then it is considered a draw or “push” and the amount of your initial bet will be refunded.
This is a wager of “two or more” teams in which all of the teams you bet must win by the posted point spread or money line. The more teams you pick on the parlay the higher the payout odds you receive.
Teaser Bets are normally a football or basketball wager in which a bettor may move the point spread by an additional 6, 6.5 or 7 points in football and 5, 5.5 or 6 points in basketball. When betting a Teaser, points are added to the underdog team or are subtracted from the favourite team. The odds are adjusted according to the amount of point that is added or subtracted.
- Half Times
Half time bets are normally a football or basketball wager where you can make a bet just on the second half of the game. Some sportsbooks also post first half betting lines as well.
“Prop” bets are referred to as “exotic” bets where the sportsbook posts odds on things like which team will score first or which team will kick the most field goals. Dozens of prop bets are posted for the Superbowl game each year. You can even bet on who will win the coin toss at the beginning of the game.
Futures are wagers on sporting events where the result of the event will occur sometime in the future. Examples are who will win the Superbowl or the World Series or the Stanley Cup. The odds on future bets are posted months in advance of the event.
- Money Lines
Money Lines are the opposite of point spreads. Instead of a point spread the “money line is moved” to determine the odds on both the favourite and the underdog. For example, Team A -150 vs Team B +130. For every $1.50 you bet on Team A you win $1. Conversely, for every $1 you bet on Team B you win $1.30.
It is very important to review the sports betting rules at the sportsbook that you plan on using to place your bets. Many books may vary in exactly what definitions they use to describe a certain type of wager. It is safe to say that the above is more of an industry-standard that most sportsbooks adhere to.