How Do Betting Numbers Work?

Many people enjoy betting on sports, but not all those who like to place a wager know how the chances work. How do betting odds compare to regular odds? What are probability calculations used for? Are there any specific terms used for sports betting odds? These are just some of the questions that arise when placing a wager on sports.

Types Of Sports Wagers

When talking about sports betting, people often think of race horses, baseball games, and the such. Those are all forms of wagering, but there are actually many more options! Keep reading to discover more about sports wagering and how you can make the most of it.


People who enjoy betting often wonder what the “over” and “under” options are for. The over/under options are wagering on the total number of points that will be scored in a game. For example, if a basketball game is played and the spread is 3, then you are wagering that the total number of points scored will be greater than or equal to 3. Under/over options are popular choices amongst sports bettors, especially because they provide more ways for winners, and fewer ways for losers. If you are curious about how over/under bets work, continue reading.

Point Differential

A point differential is simply the difference between two teams. For example, the New York Giants are currently -3 points against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6. That means there are 3 points in it for the Giants, if they win. Differential betting is a popular choice amongst sports bettors because it provides a new way to balance out an odds bet. The main reason why differentials are so popular is because they provide much better value to both the player and the bookmaker. The point is, the differential allows a bettor to place a much more precise wager, while simultaneously offering better odds for the bookmaker.


Head-to-head betting is exactly what it says it is: a wager where the teams play each other directly after regulation time (in the case of American football, this would be between the 1st and 2nd halves). Head-to-head options are amongst the most popular types of sports bets because there are usually a limited number of games each week, and they provide much greater value to both the bettor and the bookmaker. Another great thing about head-to-head bets is that the games are essentially fixed! This means there is always a high turnover rate, making these bets highly profitable for both parties involved.


The moneyline option is one of the more popular choices amongst sports bettors. When placing a moneyline wager, you are simply wagering on whether or not the total wins will exceed a set amount. For example, if you were betting on the Atlanta Falcons vs New England Patriots football game and the spread is 3, then you would be betting that the total combined earnings of the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots will be greater than or equal to 6. The main reason why the moneyline option is so popular is because it provides a way for bettors to hedge their risk. If you are concerned about the possibility of one of the teams you are betting on losing, then you can use the moneyline option to reduce the risk associated with that wager.


A proposition bet is simply a wager on the outcome of a newsworthy event that is not yet complete. For example, if you were betting on the winner of the 2020 presidential election, then that would be a proposition bet because the election is not yet over. If you really want to get fancy, you can prop up a horse race or a dog race as well! The reason why this type of wager is so valuable and popular is because it provides an opportunity to make large wagers without having to worry about the outcome of a complete game. Another great thing about proposition bets is that you can generally place them without having to worry about any restrictions that may be placed on partial-game wagering.


Exotic wagering is what you get when you combine different forms of betting on the same event. For example, if you were betting on the New York Yankees vs Tampa Bay Rays baseball game and the odds on that game were 5:1, then you would have placed an exotic wager because the Yankees are the favorites. What makes this bet different is that you are also wagering on the outcome of the game, as usual, but you are also considering the form that the winning team will take (i.e. will they be fighting, or will they be celebrating?). Exotic wagering can be very fun, but it also requires a lot of research because there are a number of factors that must be considered when placing an order. If you are looking for an edge in your betting, then exotic betting may be the option for you.

Hopefully, this article answered some of your basic questions about how the odds in sports work. Keep in mind, not all forms of wagering are made equal and there are many situations where one type of bet may be favorable over another. For example, there are generally superior value when betting on spreads, under/over bets, and proposition bets. The key is to find the best value possible for your bets, considering all your options.