# What Does -3 in Betting Mean?

The number -3 appears frequently in betting conversations. It is the number of goals a baseball team must score in order to win a game. It can also be the number of points that a basketball team needs to score in order to win a game. And for American sports lovers, it is the number of runs that your favorite baseball team must score in order for them to win the game. But what does it mean?

When you place a bet on a baseball game or a basketball game, the point spread will almost certainly include some reference to -3. That is because the bookmakers want to make sure that they cover their bases should the favorite team or player score fewer than three goals (in the case of a baseball game) or three points (in the case of a basketball game). So if you are using this number in your head to determine whether or not to wager on a game, be sure to convert it to the appropriate format first.

## Goals Versus Points In A Basketball Game

A single basketball game contains two ten-minute periods, separated by a five-minute break. The first period is called the “first half.” The second (and any following) periods are called the “second half.” During these periods, the score is updated at the end of each period. With six minutes to go in the second half of a game, and the score at 43-36 in favor of the home team, you can be certain that the line for the upcoming period will say something like: “Home team +3 in second half.”

The number -3 is shorthand for “in the second half,” meaning that the home team’s score is expected to increase by three points or more during the second half. Similarly, a score of -20 would be understood to mean “the home team is expected to lose by 20 points or more during the second half.” A score of -3 would be understood to mean that the favorite team is expected to win by three points or more during the second half. Similarly, a score of +3 would mean that the home team is expected to win by three points or more during the first half.

The goal in a basketball game is to score more points than the opposition. If the score is tied at the end of the two halves, then the team with the highest score wins the game. In the previous example, the home team is leading 43-36 with six minutes to go in the second half. A possible outcome is that the home team scores three points during the last six minutes of the game, overtaking their opponent.

The use of -3 in a basketball line makes sense. The game is often close, and the last few minutes can be critical in deciding the outcome. As such, the line -3 makes it clear that the outcome of the game is very much up for grabs. If you were a betting man on the phone, you would not want to bet on a basketball game with a line of -20, because you know that the home team is going to lose.

## Goals Versus Runs In A Baseball Game

A single baseball game is divided into three ten-minute periods. The first two periods are “innings” (one “innings” is equivalent to a baseball game). The third is the “inning-type” break. During the three-innings period, the score remains static, but “time played” (i.e., the amount of time that has passed) is updated. At the end of the three-innings period, the score is updated for the following game (or for the game after that should there be a tie).

An important concept to grasp is that of “inning-type” runs. This is a category of runs that are scored when a team reaches a certain number of outs: i.e., when a team reaches “4”, “3”, “2”, or “1” outs, then that team scores a “run,” respectively. These runs accumulate, and the team with the most runs at the end of the three-innings period wins the game. (Note: in some cases, such as the World Series, the game does not end when “time played” is updated; in these cases, the “inning-type” break continues until the teams have “exited the field,” at which point the final score is updated and the game ends).

The most common scenario that you will encounter involves three outs and no “time played.” At this point in the third inning, the score is 0-0. The line for this “type” of run is typically +3, meaning that the home team is favored to score three or more runs during this period. This may seem like the safe choice, as it does not involve any ambiguity. However, if you follow the logic of the situation, you would have to bet on the home team, because they have the two-out, “force” play. (In theory, the visitor could hit a walk-off home run in the last inning, but this is extremely rare.)

Here is where -3 comes in. Just as in a basketball game, the goal in a baseball game is to score more runs than the opposition. However, in a baseball game, the runs that are scored do not carry over to the next game. As a result, you should not expect to see a -3 in a baseball line unless the game immediately repeats itself (e.g., the 2022 World Series, for which the line is -3). In a baseball game, a score of -3 means that the favored team has scored exactly three runs during that particular inning. (In the case of the 2022 World Series, the favored team is -3 in the series opener and +3 in the finale).

The use of -3 in a baseball line makes sense. Just as in a basketball game, the last few minutes of a baseball game can be critical in deciding the outcome. As such, a line of -3 makes it clear that the outcome of the game is very much up for grabs. If you were a betting man on the phone, you would not want to bet on a baseball game with a line of -20, because you know that the home team is going to lose.