What Does – Mean in Betting Odds?

Defining Terms

When you enter the world of sports betting, you’ll realize pretty quickly that there are different ways of expressing the same thing. Take the term ‘favorite’. In the US sportsbooks, you might see ‘SF (Sportsfans) -2.5′ next to an NBA pick, or a ‘TSC (-2.5)’ next to a fantasy football pick. In Canada, you might see ‘$2.5′ next to an NBA pick, or ‘$2.5 TS’ next to a fantasy football pick.

These are pretty straightforward indications of the ‘favorite’ status of a selection. In layman’s terms, a ‘SF’ is a sports fan who has backed that team during the season, while a ‘TSC’ is a sports writer who has back that team during the season. If you’ve ever been to a baseball game and heard the phrase ‘play ball’, that’s where these abbreviations come in handy. You’re reading it now, so let’s assume you’re familiar with both of these terms.

The Basics Of Odds

For those of you who are new to the world of betting or sports, here’s a quick primer on the basics of odds. If you follow sports betting or wagering in general, you’ll be swimming in a sea of odds sooner than you know it. If you’re not familiar, odds are simply an expression of the probability of an event occurring. For example, if I bet $100 that the New York Yankees will win the World Series, the odds of the Yankees winning are 5:1 (or 5 to 1). In other words, I would win $500 if the New York Yankees win the World Series this year (or about $100).

Here’s where things can get a little bit tricky. Most online sportsbooks offer multiple odds for each bet, or each market, so you’ll have to be careful to interpret the meaning of these numbers correctly. If, for example, the odds of the Patriots winning the Super Bowl are 3:1, that’s probably a good bet for you. However, if you look at those odds in the context of the entire site, you might notice that the implied probability of the New York Jets winning the Super Bowl is 45:1 (or 45 to 1). In layman’s terms, that means you’d need to bet $450 to win $100 if you follow the odds on the betting site as a whole.

Practice Make Perfect

A seasoned sports bettor might scoff at the idea of practicing what you preach. A good sports bettor should have a feel for when and where to enter bets, as well as an instinct for when to leave them. Still, every now and then, it’s helpful to go over your gameplay with a critical eye, figuring out where you could have been smarter or more effective. This is where using statistical analysis can be extremely helpful. Still, nothing beats the experience of getting in there and feeling out the markets yourself. At the end of the day, the best strategy is the one that you and your heart agree on.