Spread betting

In every sporting event there are favorites and underdogs. A favorite is the team that the sportsbook believes is most likely to win the game, while the underdog is the team the sportsbook believes is least likely to win.

In order to “even out the playing field,” the sportsbook will handicap the favorite team by a certain amount of points every game. Meaning, the sportsbook will give the underdog an advantage by assigning them extra points to equalize the chances of winning.

For the purpose of spread betting, we need the team we pick to either cover the spread or not lose by a specific margin. For example, if the bet was “New England Patriots -2.5 vs. the Chicago Bears +2.5” and we chose to bet on the Patriots, we would need them to win the game by more than 2 points. On the other hand, if we chose to bet on the Bears, we would need them to win the game outright or lose by no more than 2 points.

If the game goes into overtime, the final score of the overtime is the score that determines the bet result.

In cases where there is a tie with the spread (including when the game has gone into overtime), no winner emerges and the money that was placed on the bet is refunded.


The Over/Under (O/U) bet is when sportsbooks predict the number of points that will be scored in a game and bettors wager whether the actual score will be higher or lower that the sportsbook prediction.

For example, if the O/U bet is “New England Patriots vs. Chicago Bears O/U 26,” and I bet Over, I need the final outcome to be at least 27. If it is 25 or less, I lose the bet, and if it is exactly 26, the bet results in a tie (in which case I would be refunded for the amount for amount I wagered).

Money line

Moneyline bets are the simplest wagers of all. Simply put, it is betting on a specific team to win the game.

Betting odds explained

What are odds?

Odds are a way for sportsbooks to communicate what the payout will be for each bet.

How do I read the odds?

American odds are also known as “moneyline odds” or “US odds.” For example: New England Patriots +120 vs. Chicago Bears -110

The odds for favorites are denoted by a (-) sign and the amount you need to bet in order to win $100. In this example, the Bears are the favorite team to win, and in order to win $100, you must bet $110.

On the other hand, Underdog odds are represented by a positive (+) sign, and denote how much you can win by betting $100. In this example, the Patriots are the underdog team, and you can $120 by betting $100.

How do I know my exact return for every bet amount?

To determine the net return on the New England Patriots we would use the following calculation:
(120(the (+)120)/100)*(amount of the bet).

To determine the net return on the Bears, we would use the following calculation: (100/110(the (-)110))*amount of the bet.

Why do lines move?

Lines are created by sportsbooks using a statistical module to provide a forecast of a game, which then drives the first line and the odds.

If a betting line is very one sided once bets start coming in, the sportsbook will minimize their risk by adjusting the odds on the bet in order to attract more wagers on the other side of the bet. This, in turn, creates incentive for bettors and causes the lines to change. Because each sportsbook or betting operator does this independent of one another, opportunities appear in the form of higher lines and higher odds for different operators every time.

Research on line movements used to be conducted by only the most savvy gamblers and was kept as a closely guarded (and highly profitable) secret. However, it’s not a secret anymore, though - thanks to Sidelines.

And best of all - it’s free!