When you are placing a bet on a sporting event, what does -1 mean? For those who are new to betting, it might seem obvious that -1 means the opposite of the number you are inserting. However, for those who have been placing bets for a while, -1 could mean something entirely different. Let’s take a look at how betting on sports can get a bit technical.
When most people think of betting, they usually think of trying their luck at the local racetrack. The reason for this is that most betting takes place on sports that can be viewed as a form of gambling. For example, a sportsbook will commonly take wagers on the Super Bowl, the World Series, and the NCAA basketball tournaments. Even the Kentucky Derby is often bet upon. On these kinds of events, odds are always in favor of the house. If you happen to win, you will typically be paid in cash or check, with none of the winnings being given in free prizes.
The odds of an event such as the Super Bowl or the Kentucky Derby are set by the bookmaker before the event starts. For those who are placing bets on these events, the point spread is the amount by which the sport outcome will differ from the odds set by the bookmaker. For example, if the Patriots are listed as -2.5 favorites to beat the Rams in the Super Bowl, the point spread is 2.5, meaning that the Rams must score at least two touchdowns to win (they will most likely win due to their powerful offense, though).
You will generally only see the point spread on events with large amounts of money wagered on them. If the bettor happens to be correct, he will make a profit, but if he is wrong, he will lose his bet. Point spreads are generally accepted everywhere, but in the US, they are mostly used in electronic sports books and on the internet.
Odds and point spreads are both aspects of sports betting that pertain to the outcome of an event. However, there is another aspect that pertains to the amount of a sporting event that will happen. This is over/under, or half-time/full-time betting. Basically, you are wagering on whether the amount of a game will be more or less than expected. This is similar to a Las Vegas bet, where you are laying a bet on the total amount of runs (the over part of the bet) or the total amount of points (the under part of the bet) that will be scored by the two teams in the game.
When you are betting on over/under, you will generally want to avoid using point spreads for two reasons: first, sometimes the point spread doesn’t apply to over/under betting (for example, if the total amount of points is even or the teams are tied at the end of a half), and second, sometimes the point spread is negated by the over/under part of the bet (if you are choosing the under, odds are you will lose your bet regardless of the point spread).
Another way of laying bets is using the moneyline. With moneyline betting, you are not placing a bet on the total amount an event will end up being; you are placing a bet on whether or not you think the amount will exceed some pre-determined value. For example, if you think that the total combined score of a certain baseball game will be over 100, you might want to give the Yankees a +100 moneyline bet. This means that you are placing a bet on whether or not the combined score of the game will be 100 or more.
Moneyline betting was first instituted in baseball in 1969. It was adopted by other professional sports leagues soon after, including the NFL, where it is now used for hockey, soccer, and football. In the US, moneyline betting is used in all state-run gambling arenas, such as Las Vegas, as well as on the internet.
Another way of taking a punt on a sporting event is wagering on whether or not a field goal will be made. This is mainly done on NFL games, where point spreads are not generally available. In the NCAA, field goals are often worth a slight point bonus, so you can expect to see some schools offering up to +2 points on a field goal.
Field goals are relatively easy to predict. It’s not very difficult to decide whether or not a 41-yard field goal will be made or an onside kick will be recovered by the defense. Sometimes, however, it’s not as easy as it seems. The difficulty comes in deciding whether or not a slightly closer field goal will be made. On these kinds of plays, you are almost always better off assuming the worse and taking the other option.
Besides the different types of bets that can be placed on a sporting event, there is also the option to bet on the total amount of points or the total amount of runs that will be scored. These kinds of bets are similar to the over/under bets discussed previously, only they concern themselves with the cumulative total of a specific event, such as a baseball game or an NBA basketball contest. If you think that a certain team is going to score a lot of points in a certain game, you can bet on those points with the over/under bet. For example, if you think that the total amount of points scored in the first half of a certain baseball game will be over 100, you might want to give the Red Sox a +100 over/under bet. This means that you are choosing the under, but if the total amount of points is, in fact, over 100, you will make a profit.
Some sportsbooks will also take bets on whether or not a certain proposition will become true after the conclusion of a game. This can be either good or bad for the bettor, so it’s always a bit of a risk. For example, if you think that a) a football team will lose a game by a certain score, b) a certain baseball team will hit a home run during the game, or c) a certain basketball team will win a game by a certain number of points, you can bet on those propositions. The upside is that if the proposition does indeed come true, you will make a profit. The downside is that sometimes the proposition comes up snake eyes and you lose your bet.
The technical name for these types of propositions is “proposition” bets. They were first used in the NFL in 1987 and have since become quite popular. In the US, proposition bets are accepted everywhere, even in casinos. There are several major difference between sportsbooks and casinos with respect to proposition bets: first, in a sportsbook, your winnings will be in the form of cash or check, whereas in a casino, most of your winnings will be in the form of chips; second, in a sportsbook, your winnings will be guaranteed (at least, they will be paid out if the proposition does not come up), whereas in a casino, you risk losing part or all of your money, depending on whether or not the proposition comes up as predicted; and third, you are not required to make a wager in a sportsbook, whereas in a casino, you are generally required to make at least a minimum amount, usually $10, to get started (this is called the “bait”). If you do not wish to wager, you can choose to “bank” your coupon instead, which is essentially the same as placing a bet on the proposition, but without the risk of losing money.
Last but not least, we have the bookmaker, the person or company that handles all the betting for you. Most people are familiar with bookmakers because they take bets on sporting events, but they also provide odds on all kinds of events, from the Super Bowl to the Kentucky Derby. For those who are new to betting, it is important to note that the “bookmaker’s share” of the revenue from a sporting event can be as high as 80%-90%, so make sure you are aware of this fact before you begin placing wagers.
When placing a bet with a bookmaker, the most common way of doing business is “against the spread”, which means that you will be placing a bet on the total score of an event (usually a sporting event), with the bookmaker taking the opposite view (or “line” as it is commonly known). If you happen to win, they will typically pay you in cash or check; however, sometimes they can be a bit stingy and only give you prizes (this is why it is important to constantly monitor the value of your coupons and be ready to cash them in when the time comes).