When you place a bet on sports, there are generally two betting units you’ll need to know about: The unit stake and the unit spread.
The unit stake is how much you’re betting on the selected team. For example, if you stake $10 on the Arizona Wildcats to win the College Football Playoff, you’re actually placing a $10 bet on each of their four games. The unit spread is how much you’re paying for each point scored by the selected team.
Let’s learn more about these important betting units.
What is a Unit Stake?
The unit stake is just that: The amount you’re betting on the selected team. For example, if you’re betting $10 on the Cincinnati Bengals to win the Super Bowl, the unit stake is $10. However, if you’re betting $2 on the Pittsburgh Steelers to win the NFL Draft, the unit stake is only 2 bucks. It’s different because every game has a different unit stake.
The unit stake affects the payout ratio of a bookmaker’s wager. For example, if you’re betting $5 on the Detroit Lions to win the Super Bowl and they win, the payout would be $5/$10, or 80%.
What is the Unit Spread?
The unit spread is the amount you’re paying per point scored by the selected team. You can find the unit spread online just by entering the team name into a sportsbook search engine. Alternatively, some books will display the spread along with the unit stake for each game.
Take the Atlanta Falcons for example. They’ve got the unit wagering of $7.50 on the New England Patriots and $4 on the Cleveland Browns. That means their unit spread is $4.50, or 56%.
The unit spread affects the amount of money you need to wager to ensure a profit. For example, if you wager $5,000 on the New England Patriots and they win by 12 points, you’d make a $12,500 profit. However, if you wager $5,000 on the Cleveland Browns and they win by 2 points, you’d only make a $7,500 profit due to the 56% payout ratio on a two-unit spread.
Useful Tips When Placing a Bet
Although putting on a bet is straightforward, there are a few things you should keep in mind before hitting the books or the buttons:
- The spread may not be available at all bookmakers.
- The spread may be available only at certain bookmakers. If you want to put on a sports wager at a reputable bookmaker, make sure to check first to see if the spread is available.
- You should avoid betting on football games in European leagues as you’ll need a different set of rules. Find out if a particular league has fixed games or matches.
More Than Meets The Eye
If you want to place a successful wager on sports, it’s important to learn how to read betting lines. You’ll often see percentages instead of the usual figures on odds displays, but all you need to know is that the higher the percentage, the better the chance of the selected team winning.
For example, the line on the Detroit Lions–New England Patriots game might read as follows:
- Lions -3.5
- Over/Under 47.5
- New England Patriots +3
- Pick ’em
What does that mean? It means that punters believe that the Lions will win the game 3.5 points, under 47.5 points, and the Over/Under is 47.5. So if you want to bet on the game, you’ll need to wager $3.50 on the Lions and $7.50 on the Patriots.
Checking The History Of A Game
Another important factor to consider when placing a wager on sports is looking at the history of the game. You’ll often find stats regarding point spreads and money lines for previous games between the same teams. Looking at these numbers can help you determine whether or not to bet on a particular game.
For example, you might see that the Los Angeles Rams beat the New England Patriots last year by seven points, meaning the spread was -7. If you look at the stats, you’ll see that over the past five years, the Rams and Patriots have always played close games with either the score being within five points or under 52.3 points.
Although you might not always have the option of checking stats before placing a wager, keeping track of previous results can prove to be useful information in the future. If you want to get a free weekly newsletter delivering all the breaking news directly to your inbox, click here to subscribe to Elio Recchie’s newsletter.
A couple more tips when placing a bet:
The first is to make sure you’re playing in the right location. If you want to play at a reputable bookmaker, make sure to look for signs of authenticity and support along with the betting lines. If you’re playing at an online sportsbook, make sure to check for any potential problems such as latency or slow transactions via a VPN app like ExpressVPN.
The second tip is to familiarize yourself with the different betting types offered at the bookmaker. There are usually odds-on favorites, which means the predetermined favorite in the betting market. Also, there are many betting types such as totals, the Over/Under, and prop bets. Learning more about these types of bets will make you a better player.
These tips may seem obvious, but remembering them can help you make much more money when you place a sports wager. With a little bit of research and dedication, you’ll be able to make a lot of money from online sportsbooks, taking advantage of the amazing odds they provide.