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A Guide to The Types of Bets You Can Make in Sportsbooks

January 17, 2012 at 6:22 PM | by | ()

The Big Game is happening is less than three weeks and you know what that means--sports junkies will go crazy placing bets. But what if you've never placed a sports bet? If you're starting to feel left out of the frenzy, don't worry. Over the next few days, we're giving you Sports Gambling noobz a quick how-to on placing bets from our newest contributor, Seth Gruen. Today, he's talking about the kinds of bets to make.

Walking into a sportsbook can be as overwhelming as staring down a craps table. Winning a bet is as much a byproduct of an individual’s knowledge of the teams and players as it is understanding a bet.

There are five bets most common among sports gamblers. Here's what you need to know:

The Spread: Almost every game in football and basketball has a spread associated with it. In other words, one team is typically favored. On rare occasions, a spread doesn’t exist if odds makers are feel the teams are so evenly matched (and of course that the sportsbook will still get its 50/50 split on each side of the bet.) That’s called a "Pick ‘em." But under most circumstances a line is created in which one team is favored by a certain number of points.

For example if the Green Bay Packers host the Chicago Bears they could be favored by 7.5 points. If the Packers win by more than 7.5 points, those betting on the Packers win. If the Bears lose by less than 7.5 points or win, those betting on the Bears would win.

As a general rule, the home team gets three points in its favor. So if the two teams played in Chicago, based on the fictional spread of 7.5 points in Green Bay, the Packers would be favored by 4.5 points.

Moneyline: It’s one of the most simple sportsbook bets to make. When it’s offered for a game—and it isn’t always if the spread is overwhelmingly in one team’s favor—you are picking which team will win. The caveat is that each team is given odds of winning.

A team that is favored will return less than $10 on a $10 bet. A team that isn’t will return more on that same bet.

Over/Under: A total number of points is set for a single game, between the two teams playing. Then you bet like it says—over or under that total. The return on your bet is the same as betting the spread.

Prop Bets: Among the most difficult sportsbook bets to handicap, prop bets predict an individual occurrence within the game. Typically odds are associated with these bets. In some cases there is a spread, be it with points or statistics.

Prop bets are gain the most notoriety during the Super Bowl and often, oddsmakers get a little too enthusiastic in conjuring up things to place bets on. An individual can bet on who will score the first touchdown or even how long the “Star Spangled Banner” will last. But they exist in regular games as well. Some prop bets may pit two players against one another and ask who will score more points (there is often a spread associated to this in the same manner as a game).

Futures: Like they sound, futures are bets are determined over the long term. Often sports talk shows and sportswriters will discuss the odds of an individual team winning a championship. This is the most common type of futures bets. If a team is 12:1 to win the championship, that means it would win $12 for every $1 bet.

Other futures bets could include who will win a league MVP, a specific college football award, or coach of the year in a specific sports.

Stay tuned tomorrow when we talk about researching your bets. In the meantime, got any questions about sports betting? Let us know. Or think you know something we don't know? Tell us in comments below!

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