One of the most basic concepts in gambling is determining the odds of your favorite team winning a given game. When it comes to sports betting, a team’s winning or losing streak, or their performance on any particular day, can be reflected in their betting spread, which is essentially the difference between the two teams’ odds. Knowing what the plus and minus mean in relation to sports betting is important, especially if you’re new to the world of betting or if you intend on placing bigger wagers than usual.

## The Meaning of the Plus Sign

If you’re familiar with basic arithmetic, then you know that a plus sign can signify either an addition or a multiplication. In most cases, a plus sign in front of a number indicates that the number is to be added to your bet. For example, if you wager $100 on the New York Yankees and the betting odds are currently the Yankees at 7/1 and the visiting Boston Red Sox at 13/1, your total bet, including the commission, would be $107 ($100 plus $7).

In the previous example, your total stake would be increased by 7%, and since the Yankees were the team you supporting, you would be pleased that they won the game and your investment returned 76.2% (i.e., $107/$100). Of course, if the Red Sox had won the game, your profit would have been 24.8% ($13/$100 plus $100/$100).

Keep in mind that if the visiting team is listed first in the betting odds, then your desired outcome is a (presumably) smaller sum added to your total stake. For example, if the New York Yankees are listed at 7/1 and the visiting Boston Red Sox at 13/1, then your total stake would be 16.9% ($107 plus $13); if the Red Sox won the game, your profit would be 41.1% ($13 plus $100/$100).

## The Meaning of the Minus Sign

If you’re familiar with basic arithmetic, then you know that a minus sign can either indicate a subtraction or a (negative) multiplication depending on its precedes. In most cases, a minus sign in front of a number indicates that the number is to be taken from your bet. For example, if you wager $100 on the New York Yankees and the betting odds are currently the Yankees at 7/1 and the Red Sox at 13/1, your total stake would be $87 ($100 minus $13).

In the previous example, your total stake would be decreased by 13%, and since the Yankees lost the game, your loss would be 36% ($87/$100). Of course, if the Red Sox had won the game, your profit would have been 64% ($13 plus $100/$100).

Keep in mind that if the home team is listed first in the betting odds, then your desired outcome is a larger sum taken from your total stake. For example, if the New York Yankees are listed at 7/1 and the Boston Red Sox at 13/1, then your total stake would be $127 ($100 minus $27); if the Red Sox won the game, your loss would be 53.3% ($27 plus $100/$100).

## Key Points To Keep In Mind

Since betting spreads include both the plus and minus signs, it’s essential to keep in mind a few key points about what these symbols mean. First, they always represent a wager; second, they always represent a gain or loss of money; and third, they always represent a percentage point (or fraction of a point).

For example, if you and a friend each wager $100 on the New York Yankees (7/1) and the Boston Red Sox (13/1), their results would be as follows:

- You would win $107 (7% of your wager) since the Yankees were the team you were backing;
- Your friend would lose $13 (13% of their wager) since the Red Sox were the team they were backing;
- Your total stake, including commission, would be $123 (7% of your stake plus 13% of their stake) since both of you were backing different teams;
- And finally, you would win $53 (7% of your total stake) since the Red Sox were the underdogs in this game.

There are a few more points to keep in mind about betting spreads, but these four should provide you with an adequate foundation for understanding this common betting calculation tool. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to sports betting. By keeping all of this in mind, you can enjoy placing a few wagers every week instead of spending your entire bankroll on one or two big bets that may or may not pay off.