# What Does + or – Mean in Sports Betting?

When it comes to sports betting, there are a lot of terms and phrases that you will hear and maybe even ask yourself. ‘What does + or – mean?’, ‘How much can I bet?’, ‘Should I bet on this game or that one?’, ‘Is it a good idea to lay off a favorite team for a while?’

Each and every one of these questions have an answer, but they are not necessarily straightforward ones. It would be beneficial for you to understand what these terms and phrases mean so that you can make better, more informed decisions when betting on sports.

## The Meaning Of Book

When you place a bet on a game, you are actually placing a bet on the cumulative score of that specific game. When someone talks about the ‘book’ on a game, they are usually talking about the odds that exist for that game. For example, if you wager \$100 on a game with an even 50/50 shot of winning and losing, you would win or lose \$50 when the game is over. The ‘book’ for that game is half (50%) of what you wager plus the \$100 you already bet (i.e., total bet amount). For convenience, this amount is referred to as the ‘book’. So, the ‘book’ for that game is \$150. The number before the decimal point is the ‘point spread’, or the ‘over/under’ for that game. For example, the point spread for the game you just mentioned is +150, meaning that you must bet \$150 more than the other team to win \$100.

## Straight Up And Against The Spread

Whether you like it or not, the odds of winning or losing are always the same. If you just went through the exercise of computing the ‘book’ for a game, you will see that the odds of winning or losing are merely based on the total amount that you wager in that game (regardless of whether you win or lose). This mathematical fact gives rise to a betting term that most people are familiar with: straight up wagering. When you bet on a game ‘straight up’, you are simply wagering the total amount on that game. For example, if you wager \$100 on a game, you would win or lose \$100 on that game regardless of whether the game ends in a win or loss.

However, there is also a way for you to have some fun and let your luck decide the winner. This kind of betting, commonly known as against the spread, or ATS, betting, gives you the option of winning some or all of your wager, depending on which team wins the game. For example, if you bet \$100 against the spread on a game and the other team wins, you would win \$100. However, if the winner is the home team, you would lose your entire wager. This is one of the main reasons why you should avoid betting on the spread unless you are doing so for a playful wager or are an expert.

## Lay Downs And Cover

Another way to have some fun with sports betting is to ‘lay down’ your wager. When you lay down a wager, you are committing yourself to that outcome. You are saying that you believe that the team you have chosen will win the game. This kind of betting gives you the option of walking away from the game with your original wager intact. It is similar to putting your money down on a horse, except with betting, you get to choose the outcome instead of the horse.

When you ‘cover’ your wager, you are essentially betting on the opposite outcome. You are saying that you believe that the team you are against will win the game. When you cover your wager, you are simply taking your bet back. If you are covering a \$100 wager and the home team wins, you would lose \$100. However, if the visitor team wins, you would win the \$100 you initially placed. This kind of betting is not for the faint-hearted. It is high-risk, high-reward betting, which is why most people avoid it. But if winning seems too good to be true, there is always the risk of covering your wager. This kind of risk-reward mentality is something that every good gambler embraces. It is what makes sports betting so exciting!

## Favorite Plus The Point Spread

Another way to have some fun with sports betting is to ‘favorite’ a team. If you favorite a team, you are saying that you believe that that team will win the game. You are giving them an extra ‘boost’ in your wager so that they will cover the point spread. It is the same as saying that you believe they will win by exactly the amount of points stated in the point spread. For example, you can bet \$150 on the over/under for a soccer game and put \$100 on Atlanta United to win the game. In this case, the point spread is +150, which means you must bet \$150 more than the other team to win. If they beat the other team by one goal, you would win \$150 (\$100 plus \$50). As you can see, this is a much easier way to win. It is not like betting ‘straight up’ or ‘against the spread’, where your outcome is not always determined by which team wins the game. With favorites, it is much easier to determine the outcome because you have committed to a specific team winning the game. If winning still seems too good to be true, at least you know that you have reduced the amount of risk by committing to a favorite.