How does sports betting work?

How does sports betting work?

louisvilledw asked:
Particularly football and baseball. I’m curious as to how spreads are determined and how to read them.

Sports betting on football and baseball

Sports betting is the act of placing a wager on the outcome of a sports event. In this answer, we will focus on football and baseball, explaining how spreads are determined and how to read them.

Point Spread in Football

In football, the point spread is the most common type of bet. The point spread is a number set by oddsmakers to level the playing field between the favorite and the underdog. The favorite is the team expected to win the game, while the underdog is the team expected to lose.

The point spread works by giving points to the underdog and taking points away from the favorite. For example, if the point spread is -7 for the favorite and +7 for the underdog, the favorite would need to win by more than 7 points for the bet to be successful. If the favorite wins by exactly 7 points, the bet is a “push” or a tie, and the wager is refunded.

Run Line in Baseball

In baseball, the run line is the equivalent of a point spread. The run line is usually set at 1.5 runs, meaning the favorite must win by at least 2 runs, while the underdog can either win outright or lose by 1 run for the bet to be successful.

How Spreads Are Determined

Oddsmakers determine spreads by considering various factors, including team performance, injuries, home-field advantage, and public perception. They analyze statistics and use their expertise to create a line that will attract equal action on both sides of the bet. The goal is to balance the betting action, so the sportsbook can profit from the commission (also known as the “vig” or “juice”) regardless of the game’s outcome.

How to Read Spreads

When reading spreads, you will typically see the favorite denoted by a minus sign (-) and the underdog by a plus sign (+). Here’s an example:

New York Giants -3.5 Philadelphia Eagles +3.5

In this example, the Giants are the favorites, and they need to win by more than 3.5 points to cover the spread. On the other hand, the Eagles are the underdogs, and they can either win outright or lose by less than 3.5 points for the bet to be successful.

When placing a bet, you will also see the odds associated with the spread. These odds indicate the payout for a successful bet. For example:

New York Giants -3.5 (-110) Philadelphia Eagles +3.5 (-110)

In this case, the odds are -110 for both teams. This means that you need to bet $110 to win $100 (plus your original stake) if your bet is successful.

In conclusion, sports betting involves wagering on the outcome of sports events using point spreads (in football) or run lines (in baseball). Understanding how these spreads are determined and how to read them is crucial to making informed bets and increasing your chances of success.

One comment

  • kcslammer13

    The spread is determined in Las Vegas for pretty much all sports. As far as reading the spread or lines it goes like this: for football say New York is playing New England and the line reads like this New England -7. What this means is that if you bet on New England you are betting that New England will win by more than 7 points. If they win by exactly 7 points then it is a push on nobody wins. If you bet on New York, you are saying that New York won’t lose be 7 or more or even win outright. Also, in betting on football there is what is called an over/under. A number is set such as 38 for the NY/NE game. You can bet that both teams will combine to scores more than 38 or less than 38.

    Betting on baseball is a little different. A baseball line might read like this: San Francisco -140 San Diego +120. If you decide to bet on San Francisco since they are favored (all teams that are favored have a minus next to the name) you need to put $140 in order to win $100. So at the sportsbook in Las Vegas you go up and place $140 on SF. If they win you get your $140 back plus the $100 you won. If you decided to bet on SD, you just bet $100. If SD wins then you win your $120. Also, you can bet on the over/under for baseball as well.

    It is a little confusing but I hope it helps.