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American Online Sports Betting Explained: Understanding Odds

Aug 17, 2007
Sports betting can be a bit intimidating if you're trying to bet on sports played in a foreign country. However, one of the best opportunities to profit from sports betting is to place bets on American sporting events.

Now that the United States has passed laws making it even more difficult for Americans to place bets on sporting events in their own country, there will be even more opportunities for astute gamblers to win big money betting on sports. Why? Because sports betting is a competition among the people who participate in it. The sports books set the point spreads based on how people are betting, not necessarily on who they think will win the game. This creates an opportunity for the "smart money" gamblers to place high percentage bets, and to win lots of money!

But before you can hope to do this, there are three important things you need to understand about American Sports Betting:

1. You Must Understand The Betting Odds

Let's just stick with American Football. The way most people bet these football games is by using the pointspread, also known as the "line" or simply as the "spread." Here's how this works. Say the Pittsburgh Steelers are playing the Cleveland Browns and everybody expects the Steelers to win easily. The sports books will put a "line" on the game to try to get an equal amount of money bet on both teams. They might say the line is Pittsburgh -7. This means that if you bet on Pittsburgh, you have to "give" the Browns 7 points. You win your bet if Pittsburgh wins by more than 7 points. If Pittsburgh wins by exactly 7 points, it's called a push, and you get your bet back.

2. There Are Also "Money Line" Betting Odds

In addition to the point spread, you must also be aware that there is a "money line" with each game. There are only two types of money lines -one when you bet on the favorite, and the other when you bet on the underdog. These money lines work differently.

When you bet on the favorite, the money line shows how much money you have to bet to come out ahead by $100. If the money line is -110, that means you have to bet $110 and if you win, you get your $110 back PLUS your $100 winnings. In other words, when you see -110 that shows the amount you are risking to win $100.

When you're betting on the underdog, the money line works differently. For example, you might see a money line at +135. When you see a + sign in front of the number, that means that this bet is on the underdog. What this represents is the amount of money you win if you bet $100. For example, if the money line is +135 that means if you bet $100 and you win your bet, you get your $100 back, PLUS your $135 winnings.

3. Even With Point Spread Bets, There Are Still Money Line Odds

Typically when you make a bet using the point spread, the money line is -110. What this means is that whether you take the team getting points, or the team giving points, you still need to bet $110 just to win $100. For example, if the Steelers are -7 and you bet on them, you bet $110 that the Steelers will win by more than 7 points, and if you're right, you get your $110 back, PLUS you're $100 winnings.
About the Author
David James is one of the world's foremost sports handicappers. Not only does James have an uncanny knack for knowing who to bet on, but he also is one of the best at providing in depth explanations and statistics showing exactly why each pick meets his criteria. Click on this link if you would like to learn how to be successful at Sports Betting
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