You might have heard of or seen the betting options “moneyline” and “spread” (sometimes called handicap). We are going to break down what these two bets mean. Spread bets might seem confusing at first but they are simple once you understand what is going on.
Moneyline bets are the simplist bets that you can make. You are just betting on if a team wins or loses. The margin of victory does not matter. It only matters if the team wins. Lets use the Super Bowl odds as an example.
Right now if you bet on the Patriots the odds are -191 / 1.52
That means if you bet 100$ on the Patriots then you win 52$ if they win (1.52) or another way to look at it is you need to bet 191$ to win 100$ -191. Do not let these different odds formats confuse you, they are just showing the odds in two different ways. For new bettors decimal odds ,1.52 in our example, is going to be easier to understand.
Spread / Handicap
A spread bet is betting on a team and by how much they win by or how much they can lose by. Imagine racing someone and giving them a head start of 10 seconds. Then the spread would be +10 seconds for the other person and -10 seconds for you. In the example of the Super Bowl the Patriots are a 4.5 point favorite. That means they need to win by 5 point for you to win a -4.5 bet. On the other hand if you bet on Phily +4.5 they can lose by 4 points and you would win your bet, since they start the game ahead by 4.5 points. Most of the time the odds on either spread bet are the same or very close. They are also going to be around -110 or 1.90 decimal odds.
What if there is a tie?
If there is a tie then a moneyline bet is refunded (push). You get your money back. This is also sometimes called “two way” betting since there is not an option to bet on a tie in that market. If you have a spread bet that is a “tie” then you also get refunded (this is called a push). For example New England -5 Philly +5 and New England wins by 5 points, then both spread bets would be a tie and refunded. If there is a spread bet with a half point on the end of a number then there is no way for a tie to happen (the half point is often refered to as “the hook”).
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