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3 Common Types of Sports Betting in Big League Sports

January 24, 2019

With any major sports event that you plan on attending or watching on TV, you may check up on who the experts are saying are the favorites to come away with a victory. Once you see a clear favorite or potential for an upset, you may be inclined to put down some money on a bet.

Have you ever wondered how sports betting odds actually work? Many sports fans do not truly grasp how sports betting, Vegas odds, and other sport-related probabilities truly work.

Lets take a deeper dive.

How American Sports Betting Works

There are various ways in which major sports betting sites arrange their bets, but some are more common and may be somewhat familiar to you.  

With that said, there are a few major types of sports betting we will cover - moneyline bets, spread betting, and over/under betting.  

Moneyline Betting

Moneyline bets are one of the easiest types of sports betting out there. Essentially, a moneyline bet involves betting on a particular team to win a game.

So lets say you were to bet on the Toronto Raptors beating the Boston Celtics in their upcoming matchup and nothing more. That would be an example of a moneyline bet.

With that said, moneyline bets apply to more than just teams and can revolve around individual sports such as boxing and MMA where its all about a single performer.

Spread Betting

Spread betting is deeper than moneyline betting. It goes beyond the simple win or lose outcome and involves wagering on the details of the outcome. In the context of sports, that would entail who wins the game, the number of points scored, as well as other numbers.

The pay-off of a spread bet is therefore based on the accuracy of the wager. Of course, nailing the outcome with 100% accuracy is very difficult, so the payoffs are given to those with the closest numbers.  


There is also over-under (O/U) betting where wagers are made based on whether a particular outcome will be higher or lower than a set number. With these kinds of bets, you will have an over better, who is predicting that the outcome will be higher than the set number. Similarly, you will also have an under better who is predicting the outcome to be lower than the set number.

An NFL Example of Sports Betting Types

NFL Moneyline Bet

Lets assume the Minnesota Vikings are playing the Pittsburgh Steelers. A moneyline bet may look as follows:

Pittsburgh Steelers +125

Minnesota Vikings -150

This would mean that, on a $100 bet, betting on the underdog Steelers would result in a payout of $125. Alternatively, a $150 bet on the Vikings would result in a $100. It is common for the payout on a team expected to win will be lower than the original bet since there is not much risk involved.

NFL Spread Bet

Using the same teams for the sake of example, lets say the Vikings has a -2.5 point score while the Steelers have a +2.5 score. The Vikings are the favoured team, and a bet on them, given their spread, would mean that the Vikings would have to win by more than 2.5 points for the payout to occur. The opposite is true for a spread bet on the Steelers - they would have to lose by less than 2.5 points or win the game outright.

NFL Over-Under Bet

In the Vikings-Steelers matchup, if the proposed total is 50 and the combined score of the game is 48, then anyone who bets under would win the bet. If the combined score was 52, those who bet over would take the payoff prize.

Sports Betting Comes in Different Flavours

Many of the online sports betting sites and Vegas odds are based around one of the three approaches mentioned above. With that said, each approach will challenge you in different ways. Some will either require you to have some basic sports awareness and an analytical eye for whos good at what. Others will essentially rely on you putting money towards a vague outcome.

Regardless of which type of sports betting appeals to you most, you will certainly have a more immersive experience than just watching your favorite teams play.

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