Types of Sports Bets

Parlays, MoneyLine, Straight Wagers, Teasers, Round Robin, Alternate Line, Futures, Props.

Straight Wagers – A spread is applied to the game. An example of this would be Steelers +6, you decide if you think the Steelers will lose the game by 5 or more less points. If they lose by 5 points or less, you win the bet.  If they lose by 7 points or more, you lose. If they lose by 6 points exactly you tie, and receive your money back.

Money Line – This is the simplest wager in all of sports.  You decide which team is going to win, and the odds are laid out accordingly.  The Steelers +6 would be something like +220 to win the game outright. In that case you would be paid more than twice your bet on a Steelers victory if you were to take them on a MoneyLine Wager.

Teasers – In a teaser bet you are given 2, 4, 6, or 7 points in the direction of your choosing to aid your current odds on a parlay of 3 or 4 teams.  Example the Steelers +6 would now by the Steelers +13 in a 7 point teaser in the NFL.

ALT lines – Alternate lines are high, and long odds lines in favor of the straight wager you’re considering choosing.  Example the Steelers +6 is -110 odds, but the Steelers -3 is +180 ALT line. You’re able to choose longer, or higher paying out odds based on the alternate line given for a game.

Futures – You decide which team you think is going to make the playoffs, win their division, or win the Championship for their sport. An example is the Vegas Golden Knights were 500/1 to win the Stanley Cup at the beginning of the year.  Had you taken a futures wager of just $50, you would have standed to win $25,000 if the Golden Knights won the NHL Stanley Cup.

Props – These are bets on a game to game basis for each player.  An example is Ben Roethlisberger +140 to have 25 more passing yards than Tom Brady in a Steelers/Patriots matchup.  Prop bets are more for the pure action bettor who really just wants to make a wager.

Sports Betting Advice

Do not bet sports you don’t have any direct knowledge of. If you only watch, and follow basketball, and football, don’t bet hockey. Stick to the sports you have the most knowledge in, or background with, as those are the sports you’ll have the greatest chance to win.

The best way to become a losing sports bettor is making bets you can’t afford to lose. When you do that you actually increase your risk of losing by adding extra stress onto yourself. A good sports bettor makes bets within their range of comfortability. Example, if you have $10,000 to bet with, and you put $5,000 of it on a team, and that bet loses, you’re going to be in a big hole, and you’re going to want to get that money back. It will get you started on a bad, bad path of poor, emotion based sports handicapping, and consistently large wagers, that you’ll likely lose. A good way to lose your current bankroll, and another buy in, or even important personal income is making uncomfortably large wagers.

Don’t make wagers on teams that you support, or have an emotional tie to.  It creates a serious bias, and clouds your judgment. In the end this is you against the sportsbook, and the oddsmakers (which will undoubtedly get more sophisticated and intelligent as sports wagering expands across the country) and in a confidence, mentally driven game like this, it all matters.  You don’t want to get caught making a large wager on your favorite team because you feel like wearing your favorite players jersey to a home game. A serious, and professional sports bettor does not operate that way.

Betting drunk, or while drinking is just ridiculous.  You’ll lose 80% of the time, and even if you win you might lose your ticket at the bar, or sportsbook. It’s always better to place your wagers sober, and plan on being sober the entire time if you do intend on watching your game at the bar that night.

Sports Betting Tips

This is without a doubt the most important aspect of betting sports and possibly the most neglected. The first key to proper money management is to be sure not to bet more than you can afford to lose. If you are going to bet on sports, it is important to set aside a certain portion of your money for betting and to stick with that bankroll, win or lose. Winning money on sports is not a sprint. If you bet your whole bankroll on one game and lose, you will be more likely to try and chase your losses. If you spread your bankroll among several smaller bets, you are more likely to make a profit in the long run if you do the proper homework. Remember, there are no locks in this business and any team can lose on any given night. And on the subject of chasing: Don’t do it! There is no worse way to mismanage your bankroll than to chase your bets after a losing day. If you didn’t like the game before you lost your money, why would you like it after your losses? Chasing bets is a losing proposition almost every time. If you are on a winning streak, increase the amount of your bets. Wins and losses often come in streaks, and it can be profitable to ride out a hot streak.

The second most important aspect of betting on sports is shopping for the best number. There will be more discrepancy in the numbers on different sports at different sports books. The NFL, for example, will have very similar numbers at most of the betting shops you visit. On college sports and daily events like the NBA, you will be able to find different lines at different sports books. These books change their numbers according to the betting patterns of their customers, so it is not entirely uncommon to find two or three point differences in the lines. When you are betting your hard earned money, getting the best line is a top priority. And since the lines the bookmakers release are increasingly strong, the difference between a point or two is usually the difference between a win or a loss.

There is a reason the casinos in Las Vegas supply you with free drinks while you are gambling. Because alcohol clouds your judgment and usually helps you to make rash decisions you usually wouldn’t otherwise make. To be a successful sports bettor you need to operate with a clear mind. If you have had too much to drink, it is in your best interest to stay away from the betting window.

As a bettor, you have the advantage of streamlining your research, which is something the sports books are not at liberty to do. They must keep on top of EVERY sport and EVERY game. The best way to win money betting sports is to develop a niche and follow it closely. If you become an expert on a smaller conference like the WAC, you have a good chance to beat the house because sports book operators do not have the time or resources to follow this conference the way you can. There is a wealth of information on the Internet; it is just up to you to find it and research it daily.

Some sports books have better odds on parlays and teasers. When you are betting big bucks the difference in odds translate into a huge difference in your payout. All it takes is a little research of the sports books you usually bet at. Most books have their payout odds listed in way that is easy for the bettor to find them. It should be noted that we advise against playing parlays and teasers for the most part. (Especially anything over a 2-teamer)

There is probably no better bet in sports than playing an underdog at home. Teams play inspired ball at home. Slim underdogs regularly win outright. Big underdogs often find ways to cover the spread and they rarely give up toward the end of a game in front of the home crowd.

The sharp bettors tend to bet underdogs, and they tend to bet them early. Squares usually bet later in the day and they tend to pick the favorites. If you like an underdog, it is best to get your bet in as late as possible, where there is heavy action from squares on favorites. If you are going to go with a favorite, it is best to place your bet early in the week when the Pros are laying heavy money on the points. Not all games work according to this formula, but it is usually a good rule of thumb.

How to Really Win at Sports Betting

The most important things you as a sports bettor need to utilize are money management, knowledge, experience, confidence, mental acuity, consistency, gut feeling, reading between the lines, and spending the appropriate time handicapping


You can find an outstanding sports handicapper, and professional sports bettor who has been utilizing those things for years like JD Sharp with The Wager Fund, a Vegas based entity wagering fund, to entrust your finances with.

How to Make Money Betting on Sports

Set your priorities right. Allocate funds wisely. You are learning how to bet. Risking your whole bankroll would be the most impulsive thing to do.

Start with small stake bets and gradually increase the amount only when you are fully confident that you have understood how that particular bet works. You want to go a long way and since your interest is not momentary, it becomes extremely important to learn how to manage your bankroll wisely.

After all, it is your hard earned money that is at stake here. Keeping this in mind, you can now begin looking for online sportsbooks or other betting products that make online betting for beginners easy.

Only bet the amount you can afford to lose. This should be funds that you have left over after you have met your other regular expenses.

Don’t use money from your household budget to fund your betting account because you may not be able to make up for the difference if you lose more than you had bargained for.

What is the Easiest Sport to Bet On?

There is no easiest sport to bet on.  It’s all variable based on your experience with the sport, and knowledge base.  A good way to find out what the best sport for you to wager on is follow the games, their lines, and respective odds, and make predictions in advance to their outcomes.  I would recommend to do this for a month, or two to get a really good sample size of your ability to handicap that particular sport. If your results would be considered “+EV” or “Winning” than that’s probably the sport easiest for you to handicap.

Historically the “easiest sport” to bet on is football. The lines are very simple, the teams are extremely well marketed, and advertised, and almost every game is on TV.  Football is America’s most popular sport, and placing a wager on it is very simple.

The answer to this question is the sport that you understand the most. Are you a big basketball fan? Basketball will be the easiest sport for you to bet on. Big into football? Football will be the easiest sport for you to bet on. The toughest part for some new bettors is understanding the sport they are betting on. Once you have that down, making a bet is easy!

If I had to pick a few sports that were the easiest to get started on, I would have to pick basketball or football. I find that new sports bettors take to these sports much easier, and the process is a lot simpler. Where people seem to get confused with betting is knowing what type of bet to make. When you get to the sportsbook or log into a sportsbook, you might feel overwhelmed by all of the options.

Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to tell you the simplest basketball and football bet that you can make. I’ll give you the bare bones details you need to get your head into the game and get your first bet made. We can fill in all the details and the particulars later. I just want you to see what it’s like to place a bet, realize how easy it is, and then hopefully walk away a winner!

The simplest bet you can make is a moneyline bet. A moneyline bet is a pick on who is going to win the game. If the team you picked wins the game, you win your bet. It’s as simple as that.

Let’s say the Dallas Cowboys are playing the Denver Broncos. If you think the Dallas Cowboys are going to win the game, you place a moneyline bet on the Cowboys, and if they win, you win! It doesn’t matter how many points they win by, how they win, or even if it’s pretty. All that matters is that they win, and you win your moneyline bet.

The sportsbook will print on your ticket how much you will get paid out for a correct pick. The bigger the favorite the team you pick is, the less they are going to pay you out. The bigger the underdog your team is to win, the more you are going to get paid for a correct bet.

For your first bet, though, don’t even worry about this. Disregard everything except for who you think is going to win the game. Whoever that is, make a moneyline bet on them, and you’re all set! Most major sports will allow you to place moneyline bets. I’d recommend starting with basketball or football.

How to Read Sports Betting Lines

When you bet on the money line, you are betting on one side to simply win. Any time you see a money line, the minus sign (-) indicates the favorite while the plus sign (+) indicates the underdog. For example: Chicago Bears –240 vs. Minnesota Vikings +210. Using $100 as the base, it will take $240 wagered on the Chicago Bears to win $100. For a bettor wagering on the underdog Minnesota Vikings in this scenario, $100 will win $210. With the money line you just have to hope your team wins rather than cover a point spread. Of course, the one downside is having to risk more money to return the same amount that a point spread bet would net you.

When the point spread was invented in Chicago by Charles McNeil the money line took a backseat. When two unevenly matched teams played, the playing field was leveled by having the favorite give points (for example Chicago Bears –7) while the underdog got points (Minnesota Vikings +7). No matter which team the bettor took the bettor would always risk $110 to win $100. The extra $10 needed to win $100 is called the juice or the vig, it is basically the house’s or the bookie’s take. It’s 10-percent of the bet so it would take $33 to return $30 and $440 to return $400 etc. (winning bettors get the vig back).

In football the money line is often a popular choice for bettors who have been burned by last-second scoring that actually had no actual effect on the outcome of the game. With the money line you just have to hope your team wins rather than cover a point spread. Of course, the one downside is having to risk more money to return the same amount that a point spread bet would net you.

Money line bets tend to be even more popular with underdogs. A nice profit can be made if a touchdown or more underdog pulls off an outright win. Of course, it’s still a risky proposition to bet on a team expected to lose by a touchdown or more to win the game outright.

When betting with a point spread you are wagering that a particular team will win or lose by a certain amount of points. This pays out even-money minus the vigorish, or bookmakers take, which we will later explain further. To better understand how point spreads work let’s look at a typical NFL oddsboard:

401 Buffalo Bills 49

402 New York Jets -4


403 Seattle Seahawks 39

404 San Francisco 49ers +3

In this example the Jets are listed as four-point favorites (-4) over the Bills and the 49ers are three-point underdogs (+3) against the Seahawks. So, if you bet $110 on the favored Jets, they must defeat the Bills by more than four points in order to win $100. If you bet $110 on the underdog 49ers you will win $100 if they win outright or lose by less than the three-point spread. If the final score happens to end up exactly on the number it’s a tie, or ‘push,’ and you get your money back.

These are examples of ‘side’ betting with a point spread. There are also ‘total’ wagers that refer to the total amount of points scored by both teams. In the above example, the total, or “over/under,” in the Bills-Jets game is 49. You can bet whether the final score will come in over or under that total by laying $110 to win $100.

The optimal situation for bookmakers is to set odds that will attract an equal amount of money on both sides, thus limiting their exposure to any one particular result. To further explain, consider two people make a bet on each side of a game without a bookmaker. Each risks $110, meaning there is $220 to be won. The winner of that bet will receive all $220. However, if he had made that $110 bet through a bookmaker he would have only won $100 because of the vig. In a perfect world if all bookmaker action was balanced, they would be guaranteed a nice profit because of the vig.

Identify the favorite: Lines with a – before the number (i.e. -200) indicate the favorite. A -200 should be read as: “For every $200 wagered, I win $100.” When there is a negative sign, the line should always be read with relation to 100. That does not mean you have to bet that much, it’s just easiest to understand! When a + sign is present, just reverse the reading, always keeping reference to 100:


1) -150: For every $150 wagered, I win $100 ($50 wagered would win $25).

2) +300: For every $100 wagered, I win $300 ($50 wagered would win $150).

3) 100 (can be either +/-): For every $100 wagered, I win $100 ($50 wagered would win $50).

4) Most commonly: -110: For every $110 wagered, I win $100.

You see “4” most commonly because the extra $10 you have to bet to win $100 is called the “juice” that the books keep as a fee for making the line available to you.

The most important thing you can teach yourself early on is: “Just because the books assign one side to be the favorite (even large, -200 or -300, favorites), does not mean that they will win.” We have all seen favorites get upset, and it is important to avoid the temptation of finding comfort in the fact that the lines makers put one team as a favorite.

Identify the type of line you are looking at. All online sports books offer you the chance to have your lines in an “American” or “Money line” version. If I were you, I would use this as my standard. An “American” line uses either a + or – before a number to indicate odds. So a -120 and a +120 are two very different odds on a team… I will explain the differences shortly. Two other less common variations exist: decimal odds and fractional odds. .

The most important thing you can teach yourself early on is: “Just because the books assign one side to be the favorite (even large, -200 or -300, favorites), does not mean that they will win.” We have all seen favorites get upset, and it is important to avoid the temptation of finding comfort in the fact that the lines makers put one team as a favorite.

How Does Sports Betting Odds Work

How the point spread works – When two teams meet on the playing field or on the basketball court, one team is typically better than the other or in a more favorable position because of factors like playing at home. If all you had to do were pick the winning team in a game, everybody would simply wager on the best team or the home team in a even matchup and bypass all the lines and collect their winnings at a high rate.


Lets take, for a hypothetical situation on one of the types of football bets (using the point spread), that the Kansas City Chiefs were visiting the Detroit Lions and Detroit was established as a six-point favorite at game time, which is commonly written as Detroit -6. Kansas City would be the underdog and displayed as Kansas City +6. If you bet the favorite, Detroit has to win by more than six points to win your bet. Remember, the Lions are favored by six points, so we subtract six points from their final score on a spread bet. If Detroit were to win 27-20, Lions bettors would win their wager. If the Chiefs were to win the game by any score and you picked the Chiefs you would win not including the extra six points. If the Lions were to win, 20-14, it would be exactly six and a push, so you would get your money back.


In the sports betting industry the acronym ATS is used to label a team’s record when betting against the spread. ATS records are a valuable tool in sports handicapping. A team may be playing great straight-up, winning a lot of games but at the same time they could have a dreadful ATS record because they are overvalued by the general public and the oddsmakers. And, conversely, a team could be losing a lot of games but playing in a lot of close games as underdogs and have a good ATS record going.


In order to guarantee a profit for the house, a bookie needs to create even action on both sides of a particular game. In a perfect world the bookie would have 50 percent of the handle come in on the underdog and 50 percent on the favorite. This ensures that the sports books are guaranteed a profit because of the 10 percent commission or “vigorish” charged on most sports wagers. This is why there is “movement” on the point spread. If one side on a game is being bet more heavily, the bookie must move the number in order to attract interest on the other side in order to balance action.

How are game totals set?

It’s common knowledge among bettors that the online gambling industry pays close attention to Las Vegas Sports Consultants, a private company that handles the odds for casinos and newspapers. But the totals I set have to reflect our customers’ preferences for betting the over or under on certain teams in certain situations. Also, because LVSC lines are published early, I have to keep on top of injuries and potential changes in coaching strategy leading up to the game in question before I release any totals. This is doubly important in basketball, where pace determines how many shots will be taken in 48 minutes.


Ideally, the lines I release will balance the action equally, so that the winners get paid out from the pockets of the losers and we take the vigorish. That’s an ideal that rarely happens – especially in sports without a point spread, like NASCAR and golf. If Team A is getting too much action, I’ll move the line toward Team B to try to achieve that balance. My personal preference is to tweak the vig from –110 to –105 or +100 before taking the bigger step of moving the spread a half-point or more.


Absolutely. When the lines go up for the NFL, or for the first game of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, there are several days in between the open and the game itself where movement can take place. You’ll find that the betting public tends to pile in on their favorite teams once they get home from work on Friday. You can anticipate these line movements and time your bet accordingly to take advantage.

Sometimes a line will move far enough to create a “middle” opportunity. Say the Texas Longhorns end up facing the Wisconsin Badgers in the first round of March Madness. If you have Texas early as a 5-point favorite, and I move the line to Texas –7 later in the week, then you can also place a bet on Wisconsin +7. If Texas happens to win by six points, both your bets cash in. Texas winning by either five or seven gives you a win and a push. Any other result creates a win and a loss, so you’re only risking the vigorish.