# What is a Pick in Betting?

You might be familiar with the phrase ‘gambler’s ruin’ which is when, through bad luck, poor decisions or both, a gambler runs out of money. Well, ‘picking’ in gambling is similar. You might also hear about ‘line picking’ where you choose the winning team or the losing team in a sporting match and the odds are adjusted accordingly. This is a type of ‘handicapping’ where you try to determine which team is most likely to win.

In blackjack, if you bet on red or black (assuming there are no other cards) and the dealer turns out to be showing a 7 (a card which most often represents a dollar sign in gambling) you would win 7 to 1 or 3 to 1! If you bet on black, you would be correct in guessing that the dealer was holding a 5 or a 9, however, if you went with red, you would have been wrong because the dealer was actually showing a 7. This means you ‘picked’ the wrong color and lost your money even though you guessed correctly that the dealer was holding a 5 or a 9. In this instance, you ‘picked’ the wrong team!

Let’s look at an example of line picking in more detail. If you are playing roulette and decide to bet on red (even though there are no specific red or black wagers in the game), then you are effectively selecting which team you think is more likely to win. So, let’s say you chose to bet on red and the dealer then spits out a black 25 times in a row. In this case, you would win 16.67 times your amount bet! Similarly, if you had chosen to bet on black, you would have lost 16.67 times your amount bet.

Now, there is one more form of picking which might be helpful to know about in relation to betting, and that is a ‘combination pick’. Say you want to choose a team that you think will win and have some confidence that their victory is also more likely. In this example, you might want to choose the Lakers plus 3 points to beat the Spurs by 2 points. Essentially, you are taking a guess at what the score will be and adding in a little bit of ‘handicapping’ by using probabilities. So, in this instance, you are effectively selecting which team is most likely to win by using a combo pick!

## How Do I Choose My Picks?

There are several ways to go about choosing your bets. You can do this before the game starts or during the game. Before the game starts, you can look at the spread (the amount bet by you on one team compared to the amount bet on the other team) and if it is significant, you can choose which team you think is less likely to win based on the initial line. For example, if the spread is 2.5 to 1, then you might decide that the 2.5 represents the amount you are willing to risk on the over (the team you think is more likely to win) and the 1.5 represents the amount you are risking on the under (the team you think is less likely to win).

So, to return to our earlier example, if the Lakers plus 3 spread is 4 to 1, then you might feel that the 4 represents how much you are risking on the over and choose to back that team. As for the Spurs, you might decide that their odds are significantly less (1 to 1.67 or 1 to 2) and decide not to risk as much on them. It is always good to have choices and know which ones to go with based on whatever factors matter most to you at the moment!

## Why Do I Need To Bet On Both Teams In Many Sports?

Some sports, like a baseball game, involve two teams and you have to choose which one you think is more likely to win. You cannot make such a selection if the game is close (within five runs or so). However, in most sports, like football, you do not have to choose just one. You can get an ‘over/under’ (most often used in football) where you choose which team is more likely to score the most points (there are varying opinions as to which team is more valuable when it comes to sports betting, but typically the over is considered more valuable). If you believe that one team is more likely to score more points than the other, then you can place a wager on that outcome and let the chips fall where they may!

## Should I Spread My Betting On Several Teams?

In sports betting, you will often times be asked whether you should bet on just one team or should you go with multiple teams. You should generally look at how good your teams are and how much you like them versus the others. If you have strong opinions on one team over the other, then you can choose to bet on that team. However, if the games are close and you do not have a strong opinion on which team is better, then you can often times benefit from betting on both (assuming, of course, that they are not identical teams). So, in the end, you might just need to go with your gut instinct in figuring out which team you think is best!

## How Do I Calculate The Payout Of A Spread Bet?

For those who have chosen to bet on both teams in a game and decided to use the over/under as our pick, let’s say the over won. You would then want to know the average payout of a spread bet. You would want to know what is the difference in average amount you would have won versus what you risked (assuming, of course, that you did not bet on the under). In our example, that would be 4 wins (the over) against 1 loss (the under).

However, in some instances, you will win more than you risked. In those cases, you would have to subtract the amount you paid out of pocket (the amount you risked) from the total amount you won (the over plus the under). If that is the case, then you would have to increase your winnings (the total amount you won) by the amount you paid out of pocket (the amount you risked). The final calculation for our example would then be:

• Total amount you won: 4
• Total amount you paid out of pocket: 1
• Final amount you won: 3

## What Do I Need To Know Next Time I Want To Place A Bet On A Game?

So, we have talked about selecting which team you think is more likely to win and determining whether you should bet on just one team or on both. Now, as a bettor, you will want to know how to place a bet, how to calculate winnings and how to analyze the results of your bets. You will also want to know what else you need to know and what terms to look out for. In order to place a bet, you will need to ensure you are familiar with the rules the game, know what the various outcomes are and have a general idea as to how the game is played. Once you have placed the bet, you will then need to monitor the results of the game closely (especially if you are using a betting service) and make sure you adhere to any winnings/resignation policies the service provides. You will also want to know the best method of contacting the service if you have any questions about your winnings or need help in deciding whether to stay or go with a particular team!