When betting, we’re always looking for the value that best represents our wagers. For instance, if we’re betting on the Superbowl, we might look at the spread to determine the value of our bets. If we’re betting on the College Football Playoff, we might use the point spread to determine the value of our bets. But what about betting on games that are less predictable? In cases like these, we can use the money line to determine the value of our bets. Using the -2.5 line on odds, for example, might indicate that the game has an implied value of +125 to -125 if the Raiders win.

To make matters more complicated, some places allow you to make wagers on whether the Oakland Raiders will cover the point spread or the underdog will beat the spread. This is called parlays or propositions. Using these types of bets, we can determine the value of games with an implied money-line of -2.5 or greater.

Why does -2.5 mean so much in betting? Let’s take a look.

## Value Bets

The first thing to point out is that when using these types of bets, we’re looking for value. As we stated above, the value of a game can be determined by looking at stats and odds. If we use the example of betting on the Raiders to cover the point spread in the Superbowl, using the -2.5 line on the money line would mean that the game has an implied value of +125 to -125. This is a lot of value! On the other side, if the Rams only have an implied money-line value of -160 (“-160” indicates that the Rams will win the game by more than 160 points), then the bet has very little value.

A value bet is useful when trying to decide whether or not to wager on a game. If we’re feeling adventurous, we can use our smartphone apps to search for the best odds for our desired outcome. If we’re feeling lucky, we can place a value bet using a few taps on our smartphones.

## Odds Bets

Another thing to note about betting is that we’re always looking at odds. This is especially important when using odds-based bets. For example, if we use the same example above and place a $100 wager on the Raiders to cover the point spread, our winnings would be based on the chances of the Raiders winning. After all, they’re 2.5-point underdogs in this contest.

It’s important to keep in mind when making odds bets that the odds can change over time. In the example above, if the game were to end in a tie or the result were to be a landslide victory for the Rams, then the value of our wager would suffer. To avoid this, we can use the betting coupons available at many online sportsbooks to lock in our odds while avoiding the fluctuations that usually come with betting on live events.

## Parlay Bets

The above example only touches on one type of bet, the value bet. There is another type of bet that is very useful when using odds: the parlay bet. This type of bet works like a charm in sports betting because we are looking for value. If we bet $100 on the Rangers to win the Stanley Cup, for example, then we’re expecting the Rangers to cover the the point spread. The catch is that we’re also expecting the underdogs in the Toronto series to also win. So we are expecting a total of $175 in wins from three events. If the Toronto Maple Leafs win the first game of the series, $100 win on the Rangers and $100 win on the underdog (-140 for the Leafs), then we make a $150 profit. If the Maple Leafs win the second game, then we win $200 (our original $100 wager on the Rangers plus our $100 win on the underdog), and if the Rangers win the third game we win $175 (our original $100 wager on the Rangers plus our $100 win on the underdog).

In a parlay bet, we are looking for value, but in our favor. This means that even if some or all of our bets lose, we still come out ahead. If we wanted to be extremely cautious, we could put all our money on one team: the New Orleans Saints in the 2018 Superbowl. The Saints were originally favored by 10 points, but after a few injuries and lackluster performances by their defense, the odds are now 3 points with sportsbooks. We would have won $300 on a $100 wager, but since the odds were in our favor, we only lost $200. It’s always safer to be overly cautious than to be reckless with our investments.

## Limits

It’s important to remember that there are limits to how much we can win or lose on any given wager. For example, if we place a $100 wager on the Rangers to win the Stanley Cup and they only win two out of three games, then we would only win $150 ($100 x 2). In sports betting, this is known as a push. In the event of a push, we cannot win more than what we risked. In the case of the Rangers winning the whole thing, we would only win $100 because we risked $100. This is similar to the case of a bull whip bet, which is used in horseracing to give the illusion of a winning bet while limiting our losses in case of a foul. In the case of the Rangers winning the whole thing, our loss would be $100 because we risked $100 and the actual winnings would be $0 since we cannot win $100 in one bet.

If we use the above example and place a $100 wager on the Rangers to win the Stanley Cup, but they only win one game and the underdogs win two games, then we would have won $200 ($100 x 2) plus our original $100 on the underdogs. In the event of a tie, then both wagers would have tied and we would have won $0 since in no event can we win $100 in one bet. In this case, we would have needed to risk $300 to win $100. In betting, we always need to keep in mind that we are gambling and that someday, we might lose. It’s all about risk versus reward.

To wrap it up, if you’re looking for the value of a game, you can use the money line to determine the best odds for your desired outcome. If you’re looking for a chance at profitable wagering, then value bets and parlay bets are the way to go. Just remember: use your head, not your heart, when making wagers.