What Does a Minus 550 Mean in Betting?

When placing a bet on any sports game, you will most likely come across the number 550. This is the minimum wager amount allowed in most places, with the majority of sportsbooks not allowing any wagering below this amount. If you are wondering what this number means, here is some background information about this wagering limitation, as well as why it is there.

Wagering Limits

Most sportsbooks have settled on a wagering limit of 550 for several reasons. First, this is the legal minimum amount in the majority of places. Second, it reduces the chances of fraud. Third, it helps keep the “house advantage” at a minimum. And last but not least, it creates an even playing field for all bettors, regardless of experience or knowledge. With a minimum wagering limit in place, all bets are treated equally and no one is advantaged over the other. This is good for maintaining a level playing field and keeps everyone interested in the action, which is ultimately what the sports betting industry strives for.

Why Are Wagering Limits There?

As stated above, the main reason for the minimum wagering limit in sports betting is to keep things legal. However, this is only part of the story. The reality is that the sportsbooks’ motivation to keep limits in place is to keep people interested in wagering on their favorite sporting events. For one thing, it is quite easy for someone to place a bogus bet if they know they are below the minimum. As a result, the sportsbooks prefer to avoid this situation and limit the amount of wagers below a certain amount. It also serves as a barrier to keep people from entering into online sports betting, as the financial regulations regarding this are quite stringent and, in most cases, virtual currencies like Bitcoin aren’t accepted as wagering money. Lastly, placing a limit on the amount of wagering in terms of cents or dollars also prevents people from using automated tools or employing any sort of “edge” in their favor, both of which are considered cheating by the bookmakers.


In addition to the minimum wagering amount, most sportsbooks also have set differentials for the different types of wagers they offer. For example, moneyline bets settle at -120, while half-point bets settle at +110. These are the standard differentials applied to all wagers, regardless of the sport or event, and they are what most people are familiarized with when it comes to betting on sporting events. These are also the “House Edge” or “Vig”, as bookmakers like to call it, built into the system by which they make their money. For example, if a bookmaker takes in $10 on a $10 wager, and the game ends up being a push, they will win $5 (10¢ on the dollar).


Another way in which sportsbooks try to level the playing field and keep sports interesting is by implementing some sort of parity adjustment. This is where they take into consideration that some sports are quite “unfair” in terms of the odds, and even the smallest wagers can potentially be significant if used correctly. For example, a $1 wager on the Oakland Athletics for the World Series will net the bookmaker $15, or 15 to 1 payout. If the game ends up being a push, then the bettor will break even. This is quite a good return on investment for such a small wager!

Another important point to make with respect to odds is that they can and often do change slightly depending on the time of day or night the game is played, as well as the day of the week. For instance, early morning or late-night games on the weekend are considered “rush” bets, while afternoon games on the weekdays are more typically taken as “money” bets. This is one of the primary ways in which sportsbooks try to get a leg up on the competition, as they are able to charge slightly higher rates (more money) for weekday games and significantly higher rates (more money) for weekend games.

So, in summary, wagering limits are there for two reasons: first, to prevent people from cheating and second, to keep interest in the sports itself. A good sportsbook will use these limits to their advantage by adjusting the line, odds and the money that can be wagered depending on the time of day, day of the week, and the particular game.