on sports are most commonly placed on the outcome of
a single event or game. In virtually all contests, there
is a favorite and an underdog.
make wagering more even, the oddsmaker or bookmaker
draws up an odds line, or the odds, such that you can
bet on the probability of a competitor’s chance
to win that single event or game.
example, if Tiger Woods was to take on legendary golfer
Arnold Palmer in an exhibition match, Woods would obviously
be favored to win the match and Palmer would therefore
be the underdog.
oddsmaker would then post the odds so that it would
make it favourable to take a chance betting on either
golfer. The odds would probably look something like
Woods: 1 to 20 (noted as 1/20)
15 to 1 (noted as 15/1)
win $1 on Woods, you must wager $20. If he wins, you
get $21 back, the $20 you bet, plus the $1 you won.
the other hand, when betting on Palmer, you need only
wager $1 to win $15. If Palmer does win, you get $16
back, the $1 you bet plus the $15 you won.
is how odds are created to entice betting “action”
on both sides, which is what all bookmakers are trying
There are three basic betting types in North America:
Moneyline, Point Spread and Totals.
Odds can be converted into a moneyline representation
(see Calculation Table). This is a bet strictly on
who wins and who loses. See Bet Types for a more detailed
Point spreads are used by bookmakers to level the
playing field and attract betting action on both sides
of the same event by placing a handicap on one side
(giving points), or getting points by taking the other
side. So if betting football, you can either give
points, say a touchdown (-7), which means your team
must win by 7 points or more. Or you can get points
(same game would be +7) where you can lose up to 7
points and win your bet. See Bet Types for a more
Totals or Game Totals are used in football, basketball,
baseball, and hockey. You are betting on whether or
not the “Total Points” scored in that
specific game are going to go “Over” or
“Under” the number established by the
bookmaker. The total is set and periodically adjusted
to ensure that half of the people will wager on the
over and the other half will wager on the under. See
Bet Types for a more detailed description.
more Exotic Bets, please see Bet