What Does Plus/Minus in Betting Mean?

When someone places a wager with you in sports betting, the first thing that comes to mind is probably the money that they’re risking. After all, they’re the one who will have to lose if the bet turns out to be bad. But there’s far more to placing a wager than just how much you stand to gain or lose. There are dozens of betting terminology and abbreviations that you should know, and here’s the low-down on what they mean.


You’ll often hear sports bettors use the terms “lay” and “take” when referring to the way they want to position their wagers. A lay is when you place a wager on the outcome of an event without favoring any team or player. If a team you’re rooting for loses, you’ll lose your lay bet. But if the game ends in a tie, your lay bet will be a tie as well. That’s because in a tie situation, both teams are considered “homers” and you have no idea who’ll win the toss-up.

A take is when you tip your hat to one team and choose them as the “favorite” to win the event. When placing a take, you are implying that you believe there’s a great chance for them to win. Say, for example, that you’ve picked the New York Yankees to triumph in the World Series. The next week, they go on a 12-game winning streak and reach the top of the baseball world. What would you do? You’d have to honor your take and pay off your bet. Even if you thought the other team was better, you have to stick with your favorite and hope that they continue on their winning spree.


Another way of phrasing a lay is to wager on the moneyline. The moneyline is a simple wager where the payout is based on the final score of the event. For instance, if the game ends in a tie, there will be no payout since both teams were even. But if one team wins by a large margin, they’ll win the entire wager regardless of the final score.

This is a popular choice among fans since it grants some leverage. For instance, if you’re watching the end of a tight game, and the score is tied, you have no idea who’ll emerge victorious. But if you’ve wagered on the moneyline and the home team wins by a lot, you’ll have no problem collecting your winnings.


An over is when you bet on the outcome of an event to be more or less than a certain number. For example, you might want to bet on the number of home runs that Babe Ruth will hit this season. The bet will be resolved in the following manner: If he finishes the season with fewer than 18 home runs, you’ll win the ante; otherwise, you’ll lose.

An under is when you bet on the outcome of an event to be less than a certain number. For example, you might want to bet on the number of runs that the Chicago Cubs will score this season. The bet will be resolved in the following manner: If they score fewer than seven runs, you’ll win the ante; otherwise, you’ll lose.

These wagers are usually placed in the form of a parlay, so if you want to make money off them, you’ll have to join a parlor and place bets with them. You’ll also need to make sure that all the games you’re backing are winnable, as you cannot pick winning teams or players when doing an under or over.


Futures are wagers where the payout is based on some pre-determined event that will take place in the future. For example, you might want to bet on the Boston Red Sox pitching star, David Ortiz, hitting a certain number of home runs this season. The bet will be resolved in the following manner: If he hits the number required for payout, you’ll win the wager; otherwise, you’ll lose. The advantage of betting on futures is that they allow you to take a quick peek into the future and make some educated guesses about upcoming events.

For example, if you think that David Ortiz is going to have a great season, you might want to put some money on it now. You’ll also need to keep in mind that since they’re based on future events, you’re not allowed to make any bets on sporting events for the rest of the year.


Every sport has regulations regarding when games can be played and which ones can’t. Sometimes, those regulations change during the season and others they don’t. When that happens, the league will suspend certain games to ensure that they abide by their own rules. A blackout is when a game or event that you’re interested in is blacked out by the authorities. For example, the 2022 World Series was blacked out in regions that had legal betting in place during the duration of the pandemic. Freezes happen when there’s an extraordinary amount of heat in the stadium or arena which forces the game to be interrupted for a while. Lastly, holds are events where the players and/or teams have to stop the game to make repairs. During a hold, the game will be resumed when the necessary repairs are made.

Tie/No Decision

Tie and no decision are, for lack of a better word, wild cards. They’re situations where the outcome is either a tie or there’s no clear winner. In a tie, everyone who placed a wager on the game will get their money back (this applies to both the lay and take). But in a no decision game, you have no way of knowing which team or player will triumph. For instance, if there’s a major earthquake which ends up toppling all the sports books and shuts down all the betting sites for a while, there will be no decision in that game because no bets can be resolved.

Money Bag

Finally, we have the money bag. This is another way of phrasing a lay, but it’s much more colloquial. When someone refers to a “money bag”, they mean that they’re carrying a lot of cash. For instance, if you meet a sports bettor at the casino and they tell you that they’re going to be winning big on that day’s baseball game, you’ll know exactly what they mean. The money bag also comes in handy when you want to make a quick $100 deposit to your account. Since the money is already in your hands, there’s no need to go to a banking institution to make the deposit. Just use one of the many money bags available at the convenience stores near the casino.

With all these terms and abbreviations, it can be difficult to keep everything straight in your head. But that’s what makes sports betting so interesting, isn’t it? One thing’s for sure: if you want to make money, you’ll have to learn several different techniques. Some gamblers are successful because they’re talented at picking winning teams and players. Others make a living betting on the money line and obtaining discounts at the casino. Still others are successful because they have a knack for laying down huge profits on long-shots. Ultimately, it depends on you how you want to approach the game and what you’re capable of.