What Does Minus Mean in Betting Odds?

When you wager on sporting events, you’ll often come across terms like over/under, right/left, and of course the ever-present plus/minus. What do these terms mean exactly, and how do they affect your wagering decisions? Let’s examine the meaning of these three commonly used terms in an effort to provide you with a better understanding of sports betting language


When you bet on over/under, you’re playing above/below the current line for the game you’re researching. For instance, if a basketball game has an over/under of 57 points, you’re playing above the current line if you bet on the game to score less than 57 points, and you’re playing below the current line if you bet on the game to score more than 57. The same concept applies for football, soccer, hockey, and many other sports. When you bet on over/under, you’re essentially playing against the spread.


When you bet on a right/left game, you’re wagering either that the final score will be closer to what you think it will be or that the game will end in a tie. For instance, if you believe that the New York Giants will beat the Washington Redskins by more than 10 points, you can bet on them as a right-side team (Giants win) or you can bet on them as a left-side team (Redskins win). Similarly, if you believe that the two teams will end up with a tie, you can wager on them as a middle game (no winner). Using these two categories provides you with a great deal of flexibility when wagering on a sports game. You’ll simply need to decide whether you think one team is more likely to win or lose based on the betting lines available for the game you’re researching.


When you place a wager on a horse or other sports figure, you’ll often see the figure plus/minus next to the odds. This simply refers to the amount you’ll win or lose if the sports figure you’ve chosen wins or loses. For example, if you wager $100 on Tiger Woods to win the PGA Championship, you’ll earn $100 if he wins, but if he loses, you’ll lose $100. This is an easy system to follow, and as you may imagine, it can get rather messy when you begin wagering several thousand dollars on a single game or event.

The Spread

When you look at betting lines for a game, you’ll often see the word spread next to the odds. This refers to the amount of money you’ll win or lose based on the point differential between the two teams. For example, if you bet $100 on the New York Giants, you’ll win $100 if they win by more than 15 points, but you’ll lose $100 if they win by less than 15 points. This is a very basic but extremely important concept to understand when it comes to betting on sports. You’ll generally be given the option to choose either points or money when placing a wager – but you must choose one or the other. If you choose points, then you’ll need to set the money you’ll be wagering on each team. You cannot use the same account for both.

These three commonly used betting terms can be extremely helpful in giving you a better understanding of what’s going on when you’re betting on sports. You’ll always need to do your own research to determine whether you think a team is likely to win a particular game or event, but you’ll never know unless you take the time to learn. Familiarizing yourself with the basics of sports betting will also help you avoid some of the more common mistakes made by novices.