Bets placed at offshore sportsbooks might occasionally show up as “+X.5” on a betting line. What does that mean? Let’s examine…
What Does It Mean To Be “+X.5” On A Betting Line?
“+X.5” on a betting line means that the bettor would win by a half a point or more. In other words, if the bet were placed at +100 on the football line, the bettor would win by at least +50 points ($100 x 0.5 = $50).
The number after the decimal point is called the “point-spread.” It’s the amount of money the layman would have to wager in order to ensure he or she would win $100 on the given bet. So, if there’s a spread of +4.5 between two teams, the bettor would need to lay $4.50 to win $100 on that bet.
Decimal point spreads are usually applied to underdog propositions or long-shots. For example, maybe you’re playing at +150 odds on the Super Bowl, and you notice that the commercials are over and the game is about to start. You want to bet on the underdog New England Patriots, but you don’t want to risk $150 on a game that might well end in a tie. In that case, you might lay $150 on the spread and hope for the best.
That would be a smart move, especially if the Patriots win. You would win your $150 and, very importantly, keep the $100 you won from betting on the right team. In the event of a tied game, however, you lose your $150 and the $100 you won on the underdog team. If the game ends in a win for the Patriots, you would end up paying $50 to win $100.
You would prefer to avoid that scenario as you would prefer to keep all your money, so you would never bet on an underdog proposition in the first place. Even if the Patriots win, you’re still better off taking your chances with a traditional bet rather than an “over/under” wager on a long shot.
Why Use Point-Sets To Express Betting Percentages?
Decimal points are an easy way to show the fraction of victory the bettor will enjoy. In the example above, the Patriots only won by three points, so the point-spread actually measures the victory fraction. If the score had been tied, the Patriots would have won the game, but the point-spread shows how slim the margin was.
Other types of bets, like “Over/Under” bets, require more work. For those wagers, the casino takes the opposite viewpoint. In the case of an “Over/Under” bet, for example, the bettor would win if the final score is above the number called for in the wager. Otherwise, the bettor loses. In the example above, the over/under would win if the Patriots score more than 15 points, so you would beat the casino by putting a $150 on each leg of the under/over bet.
If the Patriots only scored 13 points, you would lose your $150 because the over/under would win. In that case, you might as well not have bet at all because the odds were in favor of the casino the whole time.
How Effective Is It As A Betting System?
It is important to keep in mind that decimal point spreads are just that – spreads. They are not actual bets. You can’t say that all bets represented by a point-spread are made equal. Some bets, like “Over/Under” wagers, have a much lower house edge than other types of bets, like the simple “Point-Spread” wager you see above. In the case of the Over/Under wager, the house edge is only about 1.5%. In other words, for every $100 you wager, you risk $150 in gain, plus the $100 you wager, you could win by as much as $150.
As a way to lower the house edge on a bet, some gambling houses will offer you what is known as a “Vivid Chip.” In the above example, if you had a problem with your $150 wager and asked the casino to give you your $100 back, they might very well give it to you. In return, they would ask for your Vivid Chip in lieu of cash. The house would then apply all winnings from your Vivid Chip toward your next bet. In effect, it is a way to lower the max possible loss to the casino on any one bet.
How Common Are Point-Sets On Betting Lines?
The majority of bets made at an online casino will use decimals to show betting fraction. Since most casinos only deal in whole numbers, the decimal point will usually appear after the winning and losing money. So, in the example above, it would appear as $100 winning, $100 losing.
Point-sets on betting lines are most commonly seen in combination with “Over/Under” or “Pick’em” propositions, which are bets on the outcome of a game. Those types of bets have been popularized by college and professional sports, but have now made their way to the world of greyhound racing, where you can place wagers on the outcome of a game simply by selecting one of the participating teams. In the case of “Over/Under” and “Pick’em” bets, the point-spread is used to determine whether or not the bettor wins. In the case of the underdog/favorite proposition, the point-spread is used to determine the amount of gain, or loss, the bettor experiences.
In summary, decimal point differences are used very commonly on betting lines. They make it easier for the bettor to keep track of the amount of winnings and losses on a given wager. Decimal points are also commonly used to show the fractional nature of a bet. For example, you may see “+1.5” on a betting line to show that the bettor will win by at least +1.5 points or more. That’s a significant edge, meaning that for every $100 wagered, the bettor will win $150 or more.