# What Does the Plus and Minus Mean When Betting?

The plus and minus signs are used (in some parts of the world) to indicate the amount of uncertainty or variability in data or estimates. It is sometimes used to indicate that a range of values could be assumed instead of precise results being given.

Imagine you are giving advice to a prospective client on how to start their own business. You could tell them to study other small businesses in their area to see what would work for them and what wouldn’t. This is because the chances are that the statistics on the most profitable industries will be skewed towards the bigger companies, as smaller businesses simply do not have the financial resources to study and implement successful business models.

Uncertainty can be a major factor in choosing not to invest in a new venture, and this is why when looking at investment options, the plus and minus signs will generally accompany the odds. The higher the plus, the more uncertain the outcome; the lower the minus, the more certain the outcome will be.

The following list represents some of the most common uses of the plus and minus signs when betting:

## Bets with No Odds

If the sports book you are at does not offer odds on your particular game, there will be no need to use the plus and minus signs. For example, if you put down a \$100 bet on the favorite in a college basketball game, there will be no need to indicate that the outcome is uncertain because the line does not exist. The outcome is simply whether or not your team wins (plus) or loses (minus)

## Long-shots And Super-long-shots

If you are backing a long-shot or super-long-shot, it is usually because you either want to risk it all on one bet or you are trying to profit from the mathematical odds in favor of the longer shot. You may be required to use the plus and minus signs to indicate the level of uncertainty in this type of bet. For instance, if you back a \$100 bet on a horse named Lady Luck with odds of 150 to 1, this would indicate that you feel very uncertain about the outcome. You could use the ‘-‘ sign to indicate that the outcome is likely to be quite bad, while the ‘+’ sign would indicate that it is more likely to be fairly positive.

## Handicaps

Certain sportsbooks and online betting forums offer a ‘handicap’ option, which is essentially a combination of the plus and minus signs. For example, if you put down a \$100 bet on the favorite in a college basketball game and choose ‘-‘ for the odds, it would mean that you are ‘shortening’ your bet by \$50. This is because the book will assume that the outcome is going to be close to even money, so they will take off \$50 (half your total bet) from the winnings if your team wins. In this case, you would win \$150, but the book would take off \$50 because they have assumed that the game is going to be close. This would mean that your actual winnings would be \$100 (plus your original \$100).

The benefit of using the handicap option is that sometimes there will be several scenarios that could arise. For example, say you are backing a long-shot in a horse race. You may want to bet \$100 on the horse named Lady Luck, but if she does not come in first, you may want to switch your bet to the next closest horse in the running. This is because the longer your stay in the ‘money management’ stage of betting, the more difficult it becomes to safely withdraw your funds, as larger bets require more time to settle. Having several options available (rather than just one) is always a good idea when betting. It would be best if you could avoid backing long-shots and super-long-shots if you can, as this is usually when you will start losing money.

## Lay (and Collar) Bets

The lay bet is when one person (the ‘dog’) puts down an amount of money (the ‘bet’) and agrees to take the opposite position (the ‘bettor’) if the dog wins. This type of wager allows for more than two outcomes to arise, as the dog may lose or draw (tie). A collar bet is when one person (the ‘dog’) puts down an amount of money (the ‘bet’) and agrees to take the opposite position (the ‘bettor’) if one of two pre-determined outcomes happen. This type of wager allows for only two outcomes to arise, but it is a useful tool for people who want to limit the potential for their bet to lose.