# What Does it Mean if a Spread Grows Bets?

A bet spread is the amount of wager placed on a side or sides of a wager. Generally, a spread is created when players are placing bets on the outcome of a specific game or event. For example, if two players are betting on who will win the Super Bowl, their bet would be considered a spread bet as it involves two conflicting outcomes. In this case, the overall wager would be over \$100, but the individual bets would only be \$2 each (\$100 divided by 2=\$50; \$50 x 2=\$100).

It is also possible to have a bookmaker’s spread where players participate on both sides of the spread. For example, if two players are laying \$100 each, but the bookmaker is taking a \$200 “line” on the game, then both wagers are considered part of the spread.

There are several different types of spreads, and each one has various uses. Here are some of the more common types of spreads and their typical uses:

A quarterly spread is one where the wager is placed on a side (or sides) of the spread every three months. For example, if a trader is predicting that the S&P 500 will close higher than 590 on July 15th, 2016, the wager would be set at +105 on that side, with +5 being the vigorish (discount) in quarterlies. This means that the initial wager would be 10.5 (\$105), and the additional 5% (\$5) would be added three months from now on July 15th, 2017. If that specific wager is not met, the loss (or gain) would be calculated based on the amount wagered multiplied by the leverage (1.05) with the bookmaker (or casino). For example, a \$100 wager with a \$5 vigorish would result in a \$105 loss (plus \$5).

One advantage of this type of spread is that it can be used to hedge risk. For example, if the S&P 500 does end up closing higher than 590 on July 15th, 2016, the trader would simply wait three months and redeem his wager. The trader is essentially taking on risk in the short term, while still obtaining the benefit of anticipating the movement of the market in the long term.

An annualized spread is similar to a quarterly spread, except that bets are placed once a year and the calculations are based on the annual return. For example, if a trader predicts that the S&P 500 will close higher than 590 for the year, the wager would be set at +105 on that side, with +5 being the vigorish (discount) in annualized spreads. This means that the initial wager would be 10.5 (\$105), and the additional 5% (\$5) would be added once a year on January 1st. If that specific wager is not met, the loss (or gain) would be calculated based on the amount wagered multiplied by the leverage (1.05) with the bookmaker (or casino). For example, a \$100 wager with a \$5 vigorish would result in a \$105 loss (plus \$5). Because bets are placed once a year, annualized spreads can be used to hedge risk over the short term while still obtaining the benefit of anticipating the market in the long term.

## Vigorish & Use

A vigorish is an amount paid to a bookmaker as a “vig” or rebate on winning bets. The vigorish is often a percentage of the wager, and it is designed to encourage higher wagers. A vigorish is usually added to the wager when it is placed, but it can be modified at any time. Vigorish is generally not accepted as a type of bet in all jurisdictions, but it can be used to reduce the risk of betting on horse races and sporting events where there is a possibility of a “lock.”

If a bookmaker offers 5% vigorish on all sports, but 5% vigorish is only offered on football, then all bets except those placed on football would be subject to 5% vigorish. This is designed to spread the risk among all the wagers, reducing the impact on the overall funds should some of the games end in a loss. In a similar scenario, if some of the basketball games end in a loss, the impact would be greater than 5% vigorish because there are more winners than losers in basketball, which results in more wagers being placed.

## In-Race & Use

An in-race bet is one where the wager is placed on the outcome of an ongoing sporting event as it is being played. For example, if a horse race were being held, it would be considered an in-race bet where the wager is placed on the horse that eventually wins the race (subject to the “lock” amount). An in-race bet is typically placed within an hour or two of the start of the event, with some exceptions for long-distance race where bets are placed in advance.

This type of bet can be a great way to get the most out of an event, as bettors can keep an eye on the action as it progresses. If a horse passes a certain point and the odds change in favor of another horse, the original wager will be affected (generally, bets are refunded if the odds change, less the vigorish, in the same way that winner-take-all wagers are affected when the odds change). If the odds do not change, the in-race bet will still be affected by the initial set of odds unless the sportsbooks modify the bet after the fact (generally, the odds stay the same until the end of the event, with some exceptions).

## Futures & Use

A futures bet is one where the wager is based on the outcome of a specific future event; for example, the winner of the next year’s World Series. Just like an in-race bet, a futures bet is played within an hour or two of the start of the event, with some exceptions for lengthy series where bets are placed in advance.

Futures bets may be combined with spread bets. For example, if a trader believes that the New York Yankees will win the World Series in 2017, he might decide to bet \$100 on the series +105, with the understanding that if the series is not over in the next 365 days, the \$100 will be returned. This is known as a “combo” bet, and it combines two types of bets into one. For instance, part of the bet is on the series, while the other part is on the 365-day time frame. Should the Yankees not win the World Series in 10 games, the bet would be considered a win of \$105, with the bookmaker charging the trader \$50 for the “combo” bet. Since the bet is on the outcome of an event that has not yet occurred, it is considered a “futures” bet. Futures bets are generally not accepted in all jurisdictions, but they can be used to reduce the risk of betting on certain events (primarily pro-sports events and horse race where there is a possibility of a “lock”).

## Tropes & Use

A trope is an event that happens repeatedly in gambling venues, and it is used to help new players understand the nature of betting and how it works. Some of the tropes are:

## Chasing Alpha

A gambler who is motivated by pure chance would be considered a “chaser”. A person who is motivated to win money would be considered an “alpha” player. A person who is motivated by an outside factor, such as momentum or the betting lines, would be considered a “beta” player, or a “chaser” whose interest is in collecting winnings and avoiding losses.

Betting enthusiasts are usually motivated by alpha, while players who specialize in collecting winning numbers are usually motivated by beta. This is one reason why most sportsbooks are located in Las Vegas or other gambling meccas. These types of bookmakers want to attract as many bettors as possible, which results in a higher payout percentage, as well as mitigate the risk of large losses due to unexpected events (such as the Super Bowl winning touchdown).