When someone lays a wager or bet on a sporting event, they’re usually relying on odds to make their money back. But what exactly do odds mean when it comes to sports betting? What are the different types of odds, and how do they work?
In a nutshell, odds are the amount of belief that one team will win compared to the amount of belief that the other team will win.
For example, if a bookmaker offers odds of 4.0 on a certain sporting event, it means that they’re taking a bet on the game with a 4.0 return on investment (ROI). The reason why they’d offer that bet is because they think that the outcome of the game will be close and there will be more bets placed on that game than expected. So if you lay a wager on a game and the lines are in your favor, your return will most likely be good.
On the other hand, if the lines are against you or you don’t want to risk placing a wager on the game, you have two options. You can either walk away or you can place a wager on the opposite team. If you choose the latter, you’ll need to find a bookmaker that offers good odds on the opposite team. That way, you’ll have an even shot of winning or losing your money.
Types Of Odds
There are two types of odds: money-back and winning-based. With money-back odds, you’re betting on the game without any expectations. Simply put, you’ll need to lay bigger bets to make the same amount of money back. In other words, you’re taking more of a risk with every bet you make. Money-back odds usually apply to games with long odds (see below).
The advantage of money-back odds is that you’re not tied to the result of the game. So, if the game ends in a draw and there were no suspicious actions by the officials or the other team, you can simply walk away a dollar or two lighter than you would have been if you bet on the winning team. The disadvantage is that you have no control over whether or not your money will be refunded, so you might end up losing more money than you ever made if the game ends in a suspicious manner.
If you choose the winning-based odds, you’re expecting one team to win and the other team to lose. For example, if you lay a wager on the Boston Red Sox and the Colorado Rockies in a World Series matchup, you’re expecting the Red Sox to win the game because they’re the favorites. You can’t walk away with any money back, as the odds would dictate that one side of the bet – in this case, the Rockies – must lose.
How Do Odds Work?
When you lay a wager on a game, the sportsbook will take your action and apply it toward the winning-based odds displayed on their board. Depending on whether or not the game is a pushover (see below) or a parlay (when multiple games are linked together as a single bet), you’ll either need to lay more or less money to get the same amount of return. Here’s the logic behind that:
When you win a bet, the bookmaker will return the amount of money they paid out to you plus a small commission. If you lose a bet, they will only return the amount of money paid out plus the commission. So, when a game ends in a draw, neither side wins the bet, and the bookmaker doesn’t make any money.
What if there were three or more teams involved in the wager? For instance, let’s say you’re betting on the Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, and Toronto Argonauts in the 2019 NFL season. If the Argonauts win the game, you’ll need to pay them back 3x the amount you originally laid down, while the other two teams will only need to pay you back 2x the amount you originally laid down. In that situation, you could say that your return is more than 100 percent because you made a profit on the bet!
This is when one side of the bet has a longer odds than the other side. For example, if you bet 10 units on a horse to win and the odds are 10 units to 1, you’re getting a lot of leverage with your bet. It’s the opposite if the odds are 1 unit to 10, as you’ll be risking less than you’re expecting to win.
Long odds can be either winning- or money-back depending on whether or not the game ends in a draw. Let’s say you’ve got 10 units to place on a certain NBA team to win the game and the line is 500-to-1. In that scenario, you’re getting an excellent opportunity to win a large sum of money. However, if the game ends in a draw, you’ll have to return 500 units plus your 10 x 100 percent commission to the sportsbook.
When a game is a pushover, the line is so overwhelming in the favor of one team that it’s effectively an automatic win. For example, if you bet on the Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series and the game ends in a tie, the Blue Jays will win the bet. If it ends in a tiebreaker (such as extra innings), the team that led in the most wins after the end of regulation will win the bet. For the purposes of this article, we’ll consider a World Series pushover when one team scores at least 14 runs in the first three innings of a game (this can be determined by reviewing each individual playoff game).
You might wonder why a bookmaker would offer odds on a pushover game. Well, in case you lose, you don’t lose much. If you win, you win big. In other words, it’s a no-risk wager for the bookmaker. So, while they don’t offer money-back odds on a pushover game because there’s no chance of losing, they might offer winning-based odds to help you cover their commission on a bet that, in reality, had little to no chance of winning.
What Is The Appeal Of Odds?
Odds are often used when someone is betting on a game that they don’t follow closely. It’s hard for them to accurately predict the outcome of the game, so they turn to the bookmaker to get an idea of how much they should bet. If they’re going to wager more than they’re expecting to win or lose, they might as well do it with the help of the odds.
The other major appeal of odds is that they make complicated wagers easier to understand. Rather than worrying about whether or not you’re going to win or lose the bet, you can simply focus on the return. For example, let’s say you’re interested in betting $100 on a game that’s scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. You’d contact the bookmaker a few days in advance to place your wager and establish the amount you’re going to lay down. Then, on the day of the game, you can simply check the news sources to see if the game has started and, if it has, that it’s going to be close. If it’s not close at the end of the third inning, you can simply walk away a dollar or two lighter than you would have if you’d placed the bet on the winning team.
Keep in mind that when the time comes for you to collect your winnings, you’ll need to wait for the game to end before you can get your money back since the line is often closed when the bet is placed. It’s also worth noting that if the line is closed when the game ends, you’ll have to find another bookmaker that offers open lines or else risk losing your money.