The other day, I was reading over an older blog post when I came across a sentence that I simply couldn’t understand:
“+3.0 points,” the post read. “+3.0 points,” I thought. “Points? What are points?”
After doing some research, I found out that \”+\” in gambling (and sports betting in particular) is short for \”plus-equivalent\”, which means that the wager is worth exactly what you’d expect it to be, given the point-spread. In other words, it’s like wagering on the favorite team to win the game, but instead of using traditional wagering odds, you use the point-spread to determine the exact amount you’ll have to wager.
It’s an unusual way of looking at wagering, but it can be a lucrative one. You could potentially win or lose more than you would with traditional wagering, depending on the point-spread and your position (if any) within an exchange. It’s like playing roulette, but instead of rolling the dice, you’re using the statistics to your advantage.
This technique is commonly seen in American sportsbooks (especially on the online versions), but it can also be found in European sportsbooks as well as in some Asian countries. For example, Australian Sportsbooks allow bets on rugby, cricket, and soccer using the “+” method, as do those in New Zealand. Some American casinos use it as well.
Here’s how it works:
Say, for example, you have a point-spread of one-half (½) point in favor of the New York Yankees over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the American League Championship Series. That means the betting public is roughly split 50-50 on whether the Yankees or the Dodgers will win Games 3 and 4 in Anaheim, California this week. If you look at the current odds for those two matchups, you’ll find them listed as follows:
“Yankees” (50-50): +600; Dodgers: -400.
“Yankees” (50-50): +700; Dodgers: -300.
As you can see, the betting odds for the Yankees have gone up by 100 units (or “points”) because the point-spread is now +600, meaning the betting public is more confident than ever that the Yankees will win.
Meanwhile, the betting odds on the Dodgers have gone down by 300 units because the point-spread is now -400, indicating that the betting public is now less sure of Los Angeles’ chances of winning Game 3 and 4.
So which set of odds would you choose? The answer is simple: the ones that favor your side of the bet (in this case, the Yankees). As a general rule of thumb, whenever there’s a + sign in front of the number, it means your team is favored to win that game, tournament, or contest. On the other hand, a – sign in front of a number indicates your team is the underdog, and you should therefore wager smaller amounts on them.
Why Is Wagering Based On Point-Spread Rather Than Odds?
As I mentioned above, this kind of wagering wasn’t originally meant for sports fans. It was developed as a handy tool for horse racing enthusiasts and gamblers looking to place bets on certain horses, based on their past performances. For example, if you believe that a certain horse has a good chance of winning a particular race, you can look at their Form (their record of past performances) and their Fitness (their current racing status) and come up with a number to use as a wager. This kind of bet is typically placed within an online sportsbook where the odds are also available, along with the point-spread, so you have a ready reference point when making your decision.
The advantage to this kind of wagering is that you don’t need to guess at how the horses will perform in the future. You know exactly what to expect, which allows you to make better-informed decisions and reduce the chance of getting “hooked” on a losing streak.
The disadvantage, of course, is that if you’re wrong and the horse you bet on loses, you could potentially lose more money than you would if you’d simply bet on the odds. However, that is rarely the case today because online sportsbooks and gamblers are much more sophisticated than they were back in the day, and they’re much better at analyzing statistics and predicting the outcome of games and competitions. Given enough time, they could possibly provide you with a perfect forecast for every horse race, but that isn’t practical in the real world, especially when there are so many unpredictable variables that could affect the outcome. Your best chance at winning is usually to pick a winner you believe in and stick with it, rather than to bet on a random other horse who might turn out to be a runaway winner.
What If You Don’t Agree On The Outcome Of The Game?
If you don’t want to risk losing money on a horse that turns out to be mediocre, you have another option: wait until the results of the game are known and then settle your bet. That way, you’ll either win or lose money based on the actual outcome of the game, rather than on how you estimated the horses would perform.
Unfortunately, in some cases, this is nearly impossible. If you’re watching a game somewhere else (let’s say, at a bar or restaurant), you might not be able to follow the results, and even if you could, it might not be worth it. There’s usually too much competition, and the game might not even be close to over when your food arrives. This is why you should always make sure that you’re sitting at a place where you can follow the action effectively, or else you might miss out on the results that affect the outcome of your bet. When that happens, you’re always left with the option of trying to get your money back (if you’re betting with real money), or simply settling for what you’ve already lost, which, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, is usually the more preferable option, especially since there’s little to no chance of coming back from down 100 units (or “points”).
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand what does “+” mean in relation to sports betting. It might not be for everyone, but those who choose to try it are likely to find it quite convenient. Sometimes, life just isn’t convenient enough, and you need a little help from your friends. When that happens, having access to online sportsbooks is a godsend, as being able to research whatever you want, whenever you want is the best feeling in the world.