When you place a bet on sports, there are a few terms you need to know. A unit is how much you’re betting on the outcome of the game. For example, if you wager $100 on a football game and the point spread is 3.5, you’re actually betting $3.50 per unit. This is also called placing a ‘penny order’. There are, however, exceptions to this rule – mostly found in the world of fixed odds betting where you’re getting the same odds as the bookmaker (more on that later).
What Is A Point Spread?
The point spread is the line between the two teams in a game. The closer it is to zero, the easier it is to pick winners. In the example above, the point spread is 3.5, which means you’re getting 3.5 points for every $100 you wager. This is why it’s sometimes referred to as a ‘3.5 spread’. Another way of looking at it is that each team is receiving 3.5 units for every $100 wagered. So, if you wager $100 on the Cleveland Browns, you’ll win $400 – you’ll get $3.50 in point spread plus $100 for your unit. This is also called a ‘total of 4 units’ or ‘4U bet’ (named after the 4-unit bet offered by several online sportsbooks).
What Is A Money Line?
The money line is more of a ‘pick ’em’ style of betting where you’re just choosing one team to win the game outright. The closer this line is to zero, the easier it is to pick winners. In the example above, the Browns are listed at -3.5 and the Steelers are listed at -2.5, which means you’ll win 2.5 units for every $100 you wager on the Steelers. Just like the point spread, the closer this money line gets to zero, the easier it is to pick winners. This is also called a ‘pick ’em’ bet’ or a ‘matchup bet’ (because the two teams are generally considered to be evenly matched).
What Is An Over/Under?
An over/under is a style of wagering where you’re choosing one team to win outright and the other to lose by a certain amount. For example, if you wager $100 on the New England Patriots to win by three or more touchdowns, you’re saying the over-under is three touchdowns or more. This type of bet is generally available for basketball, football, and hockey. It’s also sometimes available for other sports like golf and baseball. For what it’s worth, in the 2010 NFL season, there were 20 over/unders picked per week on average, which is not a bad ratio at all.
What Is An Odds Bet?
An odds bet is much like a money line bet, except you’re getting some added benefit like the ability to use odds or ‘prop’ bets. These are wagers on whether an event will happen based on the assumption that the universe is ‘fair’. For example, if you think a baseball batter will get a hit, you could wager $10 on the batter getting a hit and the ball falling in for a three-run homer. If you think the opposite, you could put a $10 prop bet on that the batter won’t get a hit and the ball will drop in for a three-run homer. (Unfortunately, this is one bet where you can’t always get what you want, but you can often get what you need.) If you need some help figuring out which bets to make, check out our beginners guide to sports betting or our glossary of betting terms where you’ll find a ton of info on the different types of bets available.
When it comes to placing bets on the outcomes of sporting events, knowing the terminology and the differences between the various styles of bets is important. Not everyone is going to have the same opinion about which sports to bet on and what terms to use when placing their bets, but it’s important to know how others are thinking. This way you’ll be able to tailor your bets to be the most effective and, hopefully, win some money along the way.