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The most common type of sports wager is on the final score of a single game, known as a straight wager. One team is typically favored over another by a pointspread; the favorite gives the underdog points as a head start, for betting purposes. The favorite is always indicated by a minus sign (-3) and the underdog by a plus sign (+3). The amount of points a customer must give or take is estimated to be the amount, which will generate equal wagering on both the underdog and the favorite. For betting purposes, the result of the game is determined by taking the actual score and subtracting points from the favorite's score or adding points to the underdog's score. So, a favorite can win the game but lose by not covering the spread and an underdog can lose the game but win it for betting purposes by covering the spread.



A customer can also bet whether the combined number of points or goals scored by the two teams in the game will be over or under the total set by the oddsmaker. For example, if the total is 42 and you believe that the combined points scored by the two teams will exceed that number, you would bet over. You would bet under if you believe the total points score will be less than 42.


Money Line

A money line is used in addition to or instead of a pointspread on a match up between two teams. If a money line, like Major League Baseball, determines a match up then it will cost the customer more to wager on the favorite. For example, the New York Yankees are a -150 favorite over the Colorado Rockies. In this example, the customer must lay $150 in order to win $100. If New York loses, the customer loses $150. However, the customer could bet on Colorado, in which case the customer would lay $100 in order to win $140 (10 cent line). If Colorado loses, the customer only loses $100, and if Colorado wins, the customer would win $140. Most sportsbooks offer both moneyline and pointspread options on most sports.



The challenge is to gather as much information as you can about a game, weigh the probabilities of each team winning by an analysis of your data, and then compare your opinion to the oddsmaker's. Make the right call and you're the winner. Pretty simple! While luck may be a part of the outcome of an individual game, and luck will on occasion go against you, it will balance out in the long run; the skilled and well researched will win.


Consistently winning at sports betting is not about luck! It is about being prepared, taking the time to investigate the team, the players, the venue etc. It's about the ability to discern all the facts, notice trends, and evaluate probability. Then your goal is to stay consistent in order to have long-term success in your betting.


Remember, it's you against the oddsmaker, not the bookmaker. The bookmaker is the liaison between the bettors and the oddsmaker. Bookmakers operate on a small profit margin and, ideally, the bookmaker likes to see half the money wagered on one team and half on the other, assuring a profit. If too much of the money goes on one team, the bookmaker will move the line or pointspread to encourage bets on the other team in an effort to balance his book. The challenge for you is to outwit the oddsmaker and his views on each team's chances to win. By flipping a coin you will be right 50 percent of the time.


At odds of 10/11 only 52.4 percent of your bets have to win for you to overcome the bookmaker's profit and break even. You only need to win a little more than half of the bets you make. Do your homework, bet selectively, and 55 percent winning bets is definitely achievable. A very realistic target is 56-58 percent. With those percentages you will have a very profitable, as well as a gratifying hobby. That's right, win less than 60% of the time and more than 55% of the time and your hobby will be very profitable.