In life, we are constantly given odds – either through statistics, or through the decisions made by others. When it comes to sports betting, it’s the same – either the bookmaker has adjusted the odds, or else you’re being biased by the decisions of others. In either case, you’re better off not knowing anything more than just the final score! Sometimes, though, we are given an extra piece of information, and that is what we will focus on in this article. We’ll go over the meaning of the symbols that appear on the scoreboards of sports events, and how they affect your wagers on those games. Let’s get to it.

## Odds, Scores, & Prop Bets

When you place a wager on a sporting event, you are in effect betting on the outcome of that particular game. However, when you do so you are actually placing a wager on a whole plethora of things – from the play of the game to the weather and time of day that the game is being played. To make matters more complex, this bet is known as a “sum-total” wager because you are placing a wager on the entire event, not just on the outcome of the game. Before we begin, it’s important to understand that there are generally speaking three types of odds: money, proposition, and selection. When you place a bet on a game, you are placing a bet on the proposition – that is the actual game itself. The selection is a decision made by the bookmaker that alters the odds of the game in your favor – be that through their own expertise, or through statistical analysis. For example, if you were to bet on the number of fouls called in a NBA game, the selection would be the fouls called – if you where betting on the total number of points scored in the game, then the proposition would be the total amount of points scored. The money is simply the stake you have at odds to cover the costs of the wager. So, in summary:

- The money is made up of two parts: your stake and the cost of the event (i.e. the sum of the odds)
- The selection is what provides your stake with an edge over the cost of the event
- The proposition is what you’re actually betting on – i.e. the game, or in this case, the number of fouls called
- The odds are simply what you have to qualify for the bet – i.e. if you where to bet on the number of fouls called, the odds would be the amount of money you have to lay down to qualify for that bet

## Odds For & Against

When you are presented with odds during the course of a sporting event, they will be in one of three forms:

- The first is to show you how much you will win or lose
- The second is to show you the return on investment for the amount you are betting
- The third is to show you how many times the odds are in your favor – i.e. the over/under or number of touchdowns or fouls in a basketball game

## Favored, Unfavored, & Totals

In the above example, you would be placing a wager on the number of fouls called in an NBA game. The bookmaker would have made that decision based on a number of factors – from the experience of their staff to the strength of their particular backcourt. It is important to understand that, generally speaking, if you are placing a wager on a game where the ending score is pre-determined, then you are placing a bet on what is known as an “upset” – that is, the bookmaker has adjusted the odds in your favor. However, if you where to bet on the final score, then you would be placing a wager on a “favored” outcome – that is, the bookmaker has not adjusted the odds in your favor. The following table breaks down the different types of outcomes that you can get when betting on a sporting event: