The moneyline is one of the most basic and fundamental odds to consider in any kind of wagering activity. Essentially, the moneyline allows the bettor to bet on the outcome of a sporting event without worrying about the quality of the opposing teams. Instead, the bettor is betting on the final score of the game so long as the point spread is considered.

If the moneyline bettor is correct, then the bet will have proved profitable since they will have won an amount of money that is the same as their stake. The opposite is also true – if the moneyline bettor is incorrect, then they will have lost what they staked. That is the fundamental concept behind the moneyline.

The moneyline can be wagered on either a regular or a repeat game. Most often, it is placed on a single game since the point spread varies from game to game and can change the outcome of the game. For example, in a college football game where the spread is currently set at (-5) points, a moneyline bettor would bet $100 on the Oregon Ducks and win $500. In this case, the winning amount is the same as the stake ($500 to be precise).

However, in a National Football League (NFL) game where the spread is typically set at around (-3.5) points, then the moneyline bettor would be wise to bet $100 on the Green Bay Packers and win only $400 since they would have to cover the point spread in order to win. In the NFL, a single point can sometimes make the difference in the outcome of a game. To put this in context, the 2016 season featured 8,500 games where the point spread was within one score, resulting in 4,950 ‘push’ matches. In these instances, the moneyline is extremely useful since it prevents the bettor from being overruled by the line movements. The flip side is also true – if the point spread in a particular sports wager moves in favor of the bettor, then they can potentially win an amount that greatly exceeds their stake. This is called a ‘blow out’ and it is usually referred to as ‘smart betting’.

## Why Are Spreads Used in Sports Betting?

The point spread is important in sports betting because it is one of the main ways that the sport is ‘officially’ determined to have occurred. The point spread is generally applied in an effort to balance out the betting lines and create a level playing field. In the aforementioned college football example, the line moves in favor of the Ducks (-5) and the Pack (-3.5) and the difference of those two numbers is how the game will be settled. In general, the spread is used to determine the number of points that will be awarded to or against the visiting team. The theory behind the spread is that it creates a level playing field where all teams have an equal chance of winning, regardless of how good or bad they may be. It also prevents a large number of people from betting on just a few selected games due to the risk of oversaturation in those games. With fewer people betting on them, the odds of the games improving will increase as well.

## How Do I Place a Spread Bet?

In order to bet on a spread, the bettor must first decide upon which team they will support in the sporting event. They must then decide how much they will wager and whether or not they’ll take the bet on the moneyline or against the spread. The minimum bet on a spread is $2, and the maximum amount that can be bet on a spread is $100. Once these elements are decided upon, the sportsbook will provide the bettor with a series of prices and odds for the selected teams. The bettor then chooses a price and odds combination that they find appealing and clicks on ‘submit bet’. This will bring them to a ‘thank you for registration’ screen where they can review their bets and find out how their orders have been processed. Most sportsbooks also provide an ‘Auto Bet’ feature where the spread and moneyline are automatically placed for the bettor whenever they make a wager, regardless of which game is being played. This makes placing a spread bet pretty easy. Just be sure to bet on the team that you support – if you place a wager on the opposing team, you’ll lose since the point spread is against you.

## What Is the Difference Between a Point Spread and a Point Total?

A point spread and a point total are synonymous – they both represent the total number of points that will be awarded to or against the visiting team. The main difference is that a point total is usually the first score of the game while a point spread is applied at the end of the third period. This is usually due to the fact that the point total is the result of the addition of all the scores up to that point, while the point spread is simply the difference in total points between the two teams. Most often, the first score will be some sort of a field goal or touchdown, while the second score will usually be the result of a conversion attempt, an extra point, or a safety. In the 2016 season, there were 19,300 instances where the point total was within one score, with 7,100 of those instances being decided by a point conversion. In other words, 68% of the time, the point total was the correct score. In those instances that the point total was incorrect, there were 4,700 ‘push’ matches where the game was within one score. In these cases, the point spread proved to be extremely useful since it prevented the bettor from being bested by the line movements. In other words, if the line had moved in the direction of the bettor’s team, then they could have lost their wager since the point spread was applied. The opposite is also true – if the point spread had moved in the direction of the bettor’s team, then they would have profited greatly from those wagers.

## What Is The Over/Under Scoring System?

The over/under scoring system allows for more flexibility in terms of wagering and is worth exploring if you are looking for ways to increase your betting portfolio. Essentially, the over/under scoring system is based on the concept of ‘over’ or ‘under’ determining the final score of the game. These are the basic, foundational concepts behind over/under scoring – if you are thinking about placing a wager on sports, then over/under scoring should be at the top of your list. The difference between the over and the under is based on the number of points that are awarded for or against the visiting team. The line will then be adjusted according to whether or not the bettor’s team is an ‘over’ or ‘under’ the point total that is being used in the odds calculation. Most often, but not always, an ‘under’ will cross the line in favor of the bettor. In other words, an ‘under’ is usually a winning proposition in terms of wagering. In the 2016 season, there were 12,600 instances where the over was the correct score and 14,500 instances where the under was the correct score. In those cases where the over was incorrect, there were 5,600 matches where the game was decided by one point. In other words, the over/under scoring system proved to be very accurate since it predicted the result of 17 out of 19,300 instances where the point total was decided by one score. In the remaining 2002 instances, the game was within one score regardless of whether or not the over or under scored.

Now that you are equipped with the basics of betting on sports, you can move on to more specific information on how to place your wagers. For general information on placing wagers, visit the betting pages of reputable sportsbooks or check out the online resources available at your local library. Happy betting!