Online sportsbooks offer as much excitement for your
NFL betting dollar as virtually any other form of gambling.
Putting $25 bucks down on a four team parlay can keep
you on the edge of your seat for hours... and hitting
for a big win is guaranteed to make you come out of
Perhaps the most confusing part of sportsbook betting
is the variety of bets offered ... the types of wagers
can get pretty creative. You can make bets for your
team to win the game. You can bet on which team will
win the Super Bowl (a "future"), you can make
bets where you pick a number of games, (parlays) and
You can get "points" which means after the
game is over, you can add (or have to subtract) a certain
number of points from your team's total score to see
if you won the bet. This type of betting lets two teams
that have different skill levels on the playing field
be "even" on the "gambling field".
These points are known as the "point spread".
The point spread, or "points" or "spread",
is set by the "odds makers". These guys are
very skilled at what they do. An important part of sportsbook
betting is to understand the job of the odds makers.
Their job is not to pick the wiiners and losers for
Their job is to balance the bets so that the same amount
is wagered on each side. A casino makes money on taking
a percentage from the payoff of a bet. For example,
if you make a bet of $100 and win, you'll get back your
original $100, plus $90 that you won. The $10 share
for the casino is known as the "vigorish"
Good spread makers know things such as the public will
bet more often on home teams and usually a 3 point advantage
is needed to even out any home field advantage, in the
eyes of the betting public. Knowing how the public will
bet is a major requirement for a odds maker.
What the sportsbook hopes to do is to pay you $100
out of the $110 someone else lost by betting on the
other team. In essence, they are being "middle
men" for betting action. They do not want to gamble,
although sometimes the casinos really take a beating
when they don't get the amount of money evenly bet on
both sides. In reality, you are not betting against
the casino, you're betting against other gamblers, with
the casino being the "broker".
The line can "move" or change, depending
on current circumstances. Let's say the Rams are playing
the 49ers next Monday night. The week before the line
has St. Louis favored by 10 points, meaning they must
win by 11 points or more to win the bet.
On Friday, the Rams announce that Kurt Warner and Marshall
Faulk ran into each other during practice and are both
injured and out for the week. Obviously, these events
will affect the outcome of the game. More importantly
to the sportsbooks, these recent developments will also
impact how we bettors bet the game. So, the sportsbooks
adapt and now make the game even. The thinking is, to
have people bet on the Rams after all the injuries,
the casinos will now have to give some incentive for
bettors to bet on the
Rams. This incentive is now the Rams only have to win,
not win by 11 points or more.
We now have a 10 point "middle"! Had we bet
the 49ers when getting 10 points, then bet the same
amount on the Rams, after the spread dropped 10 points,
then we bet them at even, only two things can now happen:
We either win both bets, or we win one, and lose one!
This is sportsbook heaven!!!
Remember, your bet is paid
on the spread at the time of your bet, not the spread
at game time.