Sports Betting 101

 Sports Betting 101

The legalization of sports betting no doubt will bring throngs of new players who need to know the ropes before they bet.

Old hands who have wagered in Nevada or online already know the basics, but for those finding a new betting experience in Mississippi, here are a few of the basic ways to bet.

**Point spreads: Most sports fans are familiar with spreads. On a sports book board, you might see a New England Patriots-Buffalo Bills NFL game listed with a +3.5 next to Buffalo. That means the Patriots are favored, and if you bet on them, they must win by more than 3.5 points for you to win the bet. If you bet on the Bills, you win if either they win the game or lose by less than 3.5 points.

An easy way to visualize is to add the point spread to the underdog’s score. If the final score is Patriots 20, Bills 17, then for the purpose of the wager you add 3.5 points to the Bills’ score. That makes it Bills 20.5, Patriots 20, and Bills bettors win.

Most sports books charge an extra 10 percent, called “vigorish” or just “vig” to make point-spread bets. To win $100, you need to bet $110, or to win $20, you must bet $22.

**Over/under: This is a bet on the total points scored by two teams. If the over/under number on that Bills-Patriots game was set at 40.5, then over bettors would need the two teams to total 41 points or more, and under bettors would need 40 points or fewer.

As with point spreads, sports books typically collect a 10 percent vig on over/under.

**Money line: This is a bet on who will win the game, with no point spreads involved. You’ll see two numbers on the board, a negative number next to the favorite and a positive number next to the underdog. In our Patriots-Bills game, you might see -140 next to the Patriots and +120 next to the Bills.

Those represent payoff odds. To win $100 on the Patriots, you must bet $100, but if you bet $100 on the Bills, you can win $120.

No extra 10 percent is required on the money line. The different odds between favorite and underdog bets give the house its edge.

One Comment
Posted by Kellie Brewer on

I found a ticket an old ticket. Not sure if it’s been cashed out yet. How can I tell?

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