Sports betting is a way in which fans of a particular sport can combine their expertise about the game and their gambling skills to make money on the outcome of particular games. Typically, the bookies offer odds on which the betters or gamblers place their bets.
The bookies normally ensure that there are sufficient bets on all the possible outcomes of the game in order to even out their risk. They make their profits by collecting a percentage of the bets as their premium or "juice." There are various ways in which sports betting odds are expressed, the most common being American odds, decimal odds, fractional odds, point spreads, and over-under.
One way in which bookmakers represent the sports betting odds is by placing a plus or minus sign before a number. This is called the American odds representation. Here, when a minus sign precedes a number it shows how much money needs to be bet on a team or competitor in order to win $100. Typically, this number is greater than 100 and indicates that the team or competitor is a favorite or expected to win.
On the other hand, book makers will place a plus sign in front of a number to indicate the amount in dollars the gambler will win if they bet $100 on the team or competitor who is the underdog. In both cases, the winning gambler collects not only the prize amount but also the amount placed in bet. As such a gambler betting $115 in a -115 bet will collect $215 from the book maker if his favorite team wins.
Another way in which book makes express the odds of a team or competitor winning is using decimal odds. This system is favored by book makers in Continental Europe. Here, the odds are stated in numbers that include decimal points and the amount bet is included in the odds offered.
This means that if the book maker offers odds of 2.5 on a particular team winning and a gambler bets $100 on the team and wins, they will get to collect 2.5 times $100 or $250. In order to make sure that the gambler can collect more than they bet when they place a winning bet, the odds are always greater than 1 in this system. Otherwise, the winning gambler would end up losing money after placing the bet.
The book makers in England state the odds as fractions. They are written as 6/5 or six to five and so forth. Here, the first number is the amount that can be won if the sum placed as a bet is equal to the second number. For instance, when the odds offered are 9/4 that a particular team or horse will win, the gambler needs to place $4 as a bet and can win $9 if they pick the winning team. The book maker will then have to pay the gambler $9 plus $4, that is, $13. This is because the amount bet has to be returned along with the amount won.
Sports betting can take place on various types of games. When the game involves scores, the gambler can bet not only on who or which team will win but also by how many points. The bets on the points are called point spreads. Book makers state the odds for point spreads as plus or minus a number. For instance, when the odds for a game are +9, it means that the gambler is betting that the underdog team will lose by at least 9 points. Similarly, if the point spread is -9, it means that the favorite is expected to win by at least 9 points.
A gambler who places a +9 bet wins even if the team he supports loses as long as they lose by less than 9 points, where as a gambler who has bet that the favorite will win by at least 9 points by placing a bet on a -9 odds loses if the winning team wins with a lower than 9 point margin.
Another way in which sports betting odds are offered is called over-under. Again, this type of bet can only be offered when scores are kept in the game being played. In such cases, the gambler can bet on the total number of points scored by both the teams regardless of which team scores how much. For instance an over 150 bet in a basketball game could be won if both the teams together score more than 150 baskets or points. Similarly, an under 4 bet in football can be won if both the opposing teams together fail to score at least four goals.
Apart from these major sports betting odds, gamblers can also bet on individual phases of the game such as which player will score how many points at which phase of the game, the total number of free throws in a basketball game, how many yards a QB will throw in a football game, or how many goals someone will score in a soccer match, for instance. The list is practically endless.
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