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Spreads and Money Lines - when to use them

If you’ve decided to try your luck at sports betting, there are a lot of options in front of you.

 You have a lot of sports and leagues to pick from, not to mention the various teams on a day to day basis. In addition to the actual sports involved, sports gamblers have a lot of options when it comes to betting methods. Here’s a couple of sports betting options and some quick tips on when to pick a particular option.

 Spreads: The point spread is the most common betting option taken in North America, largely because it applies to the two most popular sports, basketball and football. The scoring used in these sports means that there is a good chance of a wide margin between the winning team and the losing team after a game is concluded, making the spread possible.

 On a point spread, the favorite is indicated by a negative sign after the team name; Washington Redskins -14.5. The Redskins are the favorite and must win the game by more than 14 points in order for people who bet on them to win the bet. The fraction is used so that bookies are not middled (they don’t have to pay both sides and lose their vig AND get put in the hole).

 Point spreads are a fun way to bet, and sports betting purists maintain that betting the spread is the only way to bet. Spreads mean that a victory or a loss by a team does not necessarily mean a victory or a loss by the bettor; an underdog who beats the spread can still net a bettor a good amount of money.

 Money lines: Money lines can be used in all sports, whether the points system means a high or low total. Money lines have better odds than point spreads, and are a good wager when you are pretty sure a team is going to win, but aren’t sure if they can beat the spread. This is the gambling option used in individual sports such as boxing.

 Money lines are listed as dollar amounts preceded by a plus or minus sign. A quote may look like this: New Orleans Saints -180/Seattle Seahawks +220. The Saints are the favorites, and in order to win $100 you must bet $180. If you want to bet on the underdog Seahawks, every wager of $100 will net $220 with a Seattle victory.

 Money lines can be very useful when a team that is clearly superior is playing an underdog. When a team dominates a game, the players may decide just to rest instead of run the board. In this case, the team may not make the spread a bettor needs in order to win. You can’t bet on the underdog in the spread because you aren’t really sure what will happen, but you don’t want to risk losing on the spread. The money line is a good way to make sure you take some money out of the game.


Published on 06/30/2007

More in Betting School:

 Avoid the most common sports betting mistake



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