The + and – signs have been around since the 1800s, and there are many theories about what they mean. Some people think that they stand for “plus” and “minus”, a mathematical formula used to calculate discounts and provide other kinds of value. Others think they represent the “plus” and “minus” branches of a person’s social media profile.
Whatever the meaning, most people agree that they can be used to show a probability or a likelihood. Whether you’re playing roulette, betting on sports, or just trying to figure out if it’s going to rain or snow the next day, the + and – signs let you know what to expect.
Here is a guide to how the + and – signs work in betting and how you can use them to benefit your next bet.
The Odds Behind The + And – Signs
The odds and payout for different bets are generally indicated by the plus and – signs. For example, if you put a $100 wager on a sportsbook online betting site and it pays $110, the payout is (+110) or 11 to 1. (The $100 is not actually losing, since you would have earned $110 in profit.)
Similarly, if you bet $100 on the New York Jets vs. the Buffalo Bills and win, your payout is (+100) or 10 to 1. The $100 is actually “bets”, meaning it is placed at a casino. When you win, the casino will add the amount of your wager to your bankroll. (If you lose, you will have to cover the full price of your wager.)
As another example, if you bet $100 on the New York Yankees and win, your payout is again, (+100) or 10 to 1. However, if you bet the same amount of money on the Tampa Bay Rays and win, your payout is only (+70) or 7 to 1. The plus sign indicates a higher payout for the same bet.
Also, keep in mind that if the spread is positive (i.e., the total amount bet on one side is higher than the amount bet on the other side), the + sign indicates a payout advantage to the side with more money wagered on it. For example, if you bet $100 on the Tampa Bay Rays and win, the payout advantage is +70 (7 to 1). However, if you bet the same amount on the New York Yankees and win, the advantage is only +20 (2 to 1). This type of advantage is often stated in terms of odds-ratio or leverage.
How Do The + And – Signs Work In Roulette?
When betting on a roulette wheel, the location of the + and – signs depend on the color of the ball. If the ball lands on black, then the signs will be on the left of the zero (-). If it lands on red, then the signs will be on the right of the zero (+).
So, for example, if you place a $100 wager on black and the ball rolls away, you win! Your payout is again, (+100) or 10 to 1. To make matters more interesting, there is also a second type of wager, the exact opposite of the previous one. If you bet $100 on black and it comes up red, your winnings are again, (+100) but this time you have incurred a “black” or “red” (depending on which color the ball rolled) loss. This is because the casino takes into account the relative probability of each color coming up when providing its house take on the game. (The casino’s take on the odds of winning or losing is also stated in terms of probability and is found on the back of the ticket or the pit-lane card.)
As another example, let’s say you want to bet $100 on orange but it comes up red. You have lost, but you want to continue playing. To do so, you place the same $100 wager on blue. (Or, if you wanted to bet on orange, you would place another $100 wager on blue.) As long as both your wagers are on the same color, you will not lose your money. However, if one of the wagers is on a different color than the other, then you will lose. The colors on a roulette wheel are red, green, black, and yellow. So, if you bet $100 on green and lose, you will not be able to recover the money from yellow or black, and vice versa.
When Do The + And – Signs Appear In Sportsbooks?
In sportsbooks, which are places where people place bets on sporting events, the + and – signs appear when there is either a positive or negative spread.
In the previous example, if the spread is positive (i.e., the total amount bet on one side is higher than the amount bet on the other side), then the + sign will appear next to the number of the team that is favored (i.e., the amount bet on that team is higher than the amount bet on the other team).
For example, if you bet $100 on the New York Jets and win, the payout is (+110) or 11 to 1. However, if you bet the same amount on the Buffalo Bills and win, your payout is actually (-110) or 11 to 1.
Similarly, if you bet $100 on the Tampa Bay Rays and win, your payout is (+70) or 7 to 1. But if you bet the same amount on the New York Yankees and win, your payout is again, (+100) or 10 to 1.
Remember: In a casino, the house edge or the probability of winning is always negative. If you play for free in a casino, you have no edge. The casino takes this into account when calculating its odds.
Another difference between sportsbooks and online casinos is that when there is a negative spread and a team that has a higher than expected number of points scored (or more likely wins), then the – sign will appear to the left of the point spread. For example, if you bet $100 on the New York Jets and win, your payout is (−110) or 11 to 1. However, if you bet the same amount on the Buffalo Bills and win, your payout is again, (−110) or 11 to 1.
This type of alignment provides information to the player. If you are playing online, then you can use this to your advantage by knowing which side has the higher probability of winning.
Are The Signs Always As Good As They Look?
While the signs themselves may be helpful, it is important to remember that the interpretation of the signs can vary from person to person. For example, if you see that the spread is positive between the Kansas City Chiefs (+14) and the San Diego Chargers (+7), but you are a Miami Dolphins fan, then you may get worried that your team is getting a slight edge in the matchup. (Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is a favorite to win the 2018 NFL MVP award, and the Dolphins’ Jay Cutler is among the favorites to win the 2018 NFL Coach of the Year award.)
However, if you look at the signs and think that they indicate a positive edge for the Miami Dolphins, then you might be correct. The signs alone do not always provide 100 percent accurate information, so it is important to do some research online before placing a bet. This will help ensure that you are aware of all the pertinent information.
Also, in some cases, you may see that the spread is negative but there are no + or – signs next to the numbers. In this case, you know for sure that the casino’s take on the odds is that the favored team will lose. For example, if you bet $100 on the Arizona Cardinals and win, your payout is (−120) or 12 to 1. If you bet the same amount on the Tennessee Titans and win, your payout is again, (−120) but this time it is the Titans who will walk away with the big prize.
Keep in mind that the casino’s take on the odds can vary from game to game. For example, if you play blackjack and the dealer is showing an odd or even card, then the odds will be 50/50, regardless of what the signs say. In this case, it does not really matter if you have the + or – signs on the left or right of the zero because the odds will be the same. You will not gain or lose based on whether the signs are on the left or right of the zero in blackjack. (For more information on betting and odds, check out this helpful guide from our friends at BestBettingTips.com.)