Sports Betting Odds Explained

When looking to place bets at an online sportsbook, it is best that you understand how to read the odds before placing a bet. The online sports betting industry is growing at such an extreme pace and has become one of the most popular forms of gambling. It brings even more of a thrill and adrenaline feeling to watching sports knowing that you have a bet placed on your favorite sports team or favorite sport in general. Learn how to read different betting odds and get a feeling for the terminology that is used when betting in this explanation of sports betting odds. You’ll get a feel for what normal game lines are and what each bet means on them as well as information on out of the ordinary bets that might catch your interest.

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Different Types of Odds For Wagering On Sports

There are tons of different betting lines and betting types out there that can be hard to keep up with. However, once you understand them, you will find that it is easy to understand and be on your way to betting. Right here is a total breakdown of the betting lines that you will come across on an online sportsbook.

Main Betting Lines:

Main betting lines, also referred to as game lines, betting lines, lines, or game odds, are the most popular betting type that you will find. This is when you are betting on a single game, the game lines consist of three different types of bets that each touch on a different aspect of the game. There is the straight bet, also known as the moneyline, points spreads, and game totals which are most commonly referred to as Over/Unders.

The Straight Moneyline

Moneyline odds are the easiest odds to understand in sports betting. It is betting on the outright winner of any sporting game. You can either bet on the favorite or the underdog to win the game, and your payout will differ depending on what the odds are set at. The way to differentiate the favorite and underdog is that the odds on the favorite will come in at negative (-) odds while the underdog will have plus (+) odds. An example using the NFL can be found below:

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-175)
  • Green Bay Packers (+150)

In this example, the Buccaneers are the favorites to win over the Green Bay Packers with -175 odds. In this case, if you were to bet $10 on the Buccaneers to win, you would profit $57. In order to make $100 on the Buccaneers winning, you would need to bet $175. On the Packers side of the odds, a $100 bet would profit you $150 if they were to win this game.

The Point Spread

Point spreads are somewhat similar to moneyline odds, but in this case, you are betting on either the winning margin of the favorite, or the losing margin of the underdog. Online betting sites will set a number prior to the game and you are able to bet on if the winning team will win by that number or greater or if the losing team will lose by that number or less. The odds for this bet are usually set at -110 which is the standard on main betting lines for everything other than the moneyline.

  • Miami Heat -7.5 (-110)
  • Boston Celtics +7.5 (-110)

Here, the Miami Heat are favored to beat the Boston Celtics and the spread set is 7.5 points. If you bet on the Heat to cover the spread, they would need to win the game by at least 7.5 points meaning if they win by 8 points or more, you win the bet. If you bet on the Boston Celtics to cover, they would need to either win the game outright or lose by less than 7.5 points. If they lose by exactly 7, you are in the clear to cash your bet. With -110 odds, a $100 bet would net you $90.

The Total or Over/Under

With game totals or Over/Unders, you are NOT betting on the winning outcome of the game and which team will win or lose. You are betting on the total combined points of the game by both teams. Like betting on the spread, betting sites will set a number and you can bet on if both teams combined will score Over or Under the set number.

New York Yankees Vs. Boston Red Sox

  • Over 6.5 (-110)
  • Under 6.5 (-110)

In this Yankees versus Red Sox example, the total is set a 6.5. Now, you can either bet on if the combined number of home runs scored goes Over, meaning 7 runs or more, or Under, meaning 6 runs or less. The odds for this bet are also usually set at a standard -110 giving you a $90 payout on a $100 bet.

Parlay Betting

Betting a parlay is when you bet on the outcome of two or more things to happen under the same bet at increased odds. In betting, the term “legs” is what each part of the bet is called. Taking the NFL for example, if you were to bet on the Green Bay Packers (-125 moneyline odds to win), Kansas City Chiefs (-160 moneyline odds to win), and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-135 moneyline odds to win), despite all of them being favorites to win their games, combined the odds would come out to +410.

With +410 odds, if you bet $100, your payout profit would be $410 if all three teams win. If one leg of the parlay loses, your entire bet is scrapped as a losing bet. It is important to remember that in order to cash a winning parlay, everything that you bet on must come true.

Teasers And Pleasers:


Betting a teaser is somewhat similar to betting on a parlay, being that you need to have two or more selections on your bet, but you can only bet on point spreads and Over/Unders. However, the sportsbook is actually giving points back to you on the spread or Over/Under. They can give you back anywhere between 4 and 6 points, depending on what the maximum of the sportsbook is. If the two games you choose have a point spread of 7 points and 8 points and they give you back 4 points, you would need the teams you bet on to win by now 3 points or more and 4 points or more.


A pleaser is the same layout as a teaser in terms of only being able to bet on point spreads and Over/Unders. The difference here though is that you are giving points back to the sportsbook. Lets say you choose to bet the Over on two NBA games with a 219-point total set and a 206-point total set. In this scenario, since you are giving the points back to the sportsbook, lets say 4 points, you would need the two teams to now hit over 223 points and 210 points.

It is also worth noting that teasers give you decreased odds while pleasers give you increased odds.

Futures Odds:

Futures odds are the odds you place bets on when you want to bet on the outcome of a season. Whether you want to bet on the winner of the Super Bowl, CFP National Championship, the winner of March Madness, or the NBA Finals winner before it happens, these are the odds you should be looking for. Something to take note of when betting on futures odds is that in some cases, the earlier you bet on a team to win the championship, the better the odds may be. It is not just championships you can bet on, you can also bet on different player awards.

College Football National Championship Odds

  • Alabama +200
  • Georgia +300
  • Ohio State +500
  • Clemson +1200
  • Texas A&M +2000
  • USC +2000

This is example is on the winner of the college football National Championship. With these odds, the Alabama Crimson Tide are favored to win the championship at +200 odds. This means that a $100 bet will pay you out $200 in profit.

Live Betting Odds:

Live betting odds allow you to bet on game lines while the game is live and in progress. You will find live betting odds on any game that online sportsbooks have to offer. When betting on live odds, you will see that the odds are continuously changing depending on what is happening at the game at that very moment. It is also a great opportunity to place a second bet on a game if your original bet is not playing out how you anticipated it to.

In order to get in on the best live betting odds though whether you are at a sporting event, or even in your home watching a game, it is through mobile betting platforms as you will always have the sportsbook in your pocket ready to go when you see betting odds that you like at any point of a game.

General Prop Betting

Prop betting allows you to place bets on any sporting event without betting on the actual winning outcome. You will be able to bet on specific players as well as different aspects of a game. You can even find out of the ordinary props for bigger events like the Super Bowl such as National Anthem totals, total commercials played, and odds on the coin toss. You will be able to find prop bets for every game and get in on the action however you want.

Player Propositions:

Some like to compare player proposition bets to daily fantasy sports as you are betting on the performance of one single player. However, it differs from DFS being that the player does not earn any sort points or anything. Looking at the NFL for example on proposition odds for Tom Brady’s passing yard total in a game.

Tom Brady Total Passing Yards

  • Over 275.5 (-110)
  • Under 275.5 (-110)

These odds allow you to bet on whether Tom Brady will throw for over 275.5 passing yards or under 275.5 passing yards. The odds are also usually set at -110 most of the time meaning you can profit $90 on a $100 bet.

Team Propositions:

With team proposition odds, you are betting on one specific team, but not on if they will just win or lose a game. There are loads of different team props to choose from that range from Over/Unders in a specific quarter of a game or the first or second half of a game. There are also odds on a specific teams game total and alternate spreads as well

First Quarter Total Points: Los Angeles Lakers

  • Over 34.5 -110
  • Under 34.5 -110

In this example, you are betting on how many points the LA Lakers will score in the first quarter and only the first quarter. Like the odds for the total points in a game, you are betting on if the Lakers will score over or under 34.5 points in the opening quarter.

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