In sports betting, when you make a wager on a game, you are often offered a line and an over under. What do these terms mean? Let’s dive in and find out.
The line is a point or fractional amount of money that you are willing to wager. It is usually expressed in terms of the odds of the game, and represents how much you are willing to risk. For example, if you wager $100 on a game and the line is 2.0, you are willing to risk $200 to win $100. The line is often used when making parlays or teasers, where you are combining several teams or games into one wager. In parlays, you are usually betting on the total score of a multiple-game football (or basketball) matchup. In teasers, you are typically wagering on the outcome of an individual game.
The over under is the money line of the game, or the amount of money that you are willing to wager on whether the game will end in an over or a touchdown. The over under can be either above or below the line, so long as it is determined by the bookmaker before the game starts. This is generally used in conjunction with parlays and teasers, where you are wagering on the outcome of more than one game.
As a general rule, the line is usually half the total amount of money that you are willing to wager. For example, if you wager $100 on a game and the total amount of line is $200, you are risking $100 to win $100 (plus whatever winning or losing money you make on the over under).
With a little bit of strategy, you can increase your odds of winning. For example, if you are betting on the Super Bowl, you can place a parlay or a tepper (a combination of the two) where you are combining several teams or games into one wager. If you choose to do this, you should look for sportsbooks that allow you to do teasers and parlays simultaneously, so that you can take advantage of the strategy when making your wager.
Keep in mind: When you make a wager on a sporting event, there are often limits on how much you can win or lose. For example, if you bet on the Super Bowl and the total amount of line is $200, you can win $100 or lose $100. Bookmakers often limit how much you can win or lose on any one wager. This is called a juicebox, and is done to keep your money safer and ensure that you are compliant with the law. Sometimes, you may even be required to put down a deposit (called a vigorish) before being allowed to make any wagers.
There are four basic rules that you must know before you begin betting:
- Never bet on a game or event that you cannot afford to lose
- Always bet on a game or event that you can afford to lose
- Never bet with money that you cannot afford to lose
- Always bet with money that you can afford to lose
The first rule is the most important rule when it comes to sports betting. As the name implies, you never want to bet on a game or event unless you can afford to lose the bet. In other words, you must be able to cover the spread. In the United States, the legal minimum for gambling is between 5% and 15% of your total wager. Most states have a 5% federal excise tax, plus various state taxes. So, if you bet $100 and the line is $100, you are risking $5 or $10 (at worst) to win $95 or $90 (at best).
Similarly, if you choose to parley or telegraph (combine multiple wagers into one) or spread (bet on more than one game), you must do so responsibly. For example, suppose that you chose to parley on a basketball game and a baseball game taking place on the same day. In this case, you are placing bets on two games, and you must consider the juicebox, as well as the combined juicebox and spread. The juicebox is worth $20 on the basketball game and $10 on the baseball game. So, your combined juicebox + spread is now worth $30. You are probably wondering why you are losing money. Remember: These are all bookmaker losses, not yours. You are still in the black as far as you wager goes.
The second basic rule for betting is to bet on the game or event that you can actually afford to lose. If you bet on a game or event that you know is going to be very close, it is usually best to walk away. For example, if you have wagered $100 on a basketball game and it ends up being close, you might want to walk away ($100 + $20 = $120). In this case, you would incur a $20 juicebox loss, but you would still come out ahead as far as your overall wager goes. It is always better to be over than under, especially when betting on sports.
The next two rules are self-explanatory. Never bet with money that you do not have. If you do not have the money in cash, then you must either deposit it before you can place a bet, or use a credit card or debit card that is on-file with the betting establishment. Most sportsbooks will be more than happy to take your credit card or debit card, provided that you are not a professional gambler. If you follow these six rules, you will be able to avoid most of the pitfalls that you might otherwise encounter when betting. While it is always great to win, it is extremely important to stay within your budget when doing so.
Now that you know how to place a wager, it’s time to learn how to analyze game results. Stay tuned for more information on how to read and interpret games and results when betting.