Understanding Betting Odds

Anyone interested in making bets should take the time to learn how to read and calculate odds. The betting odds determine whether or not your pick will win and how much money you stand to gain if your stake is successful.

Even though betting odds might seem complicated at first glance, learning how to read and understand them will ensure that you know how they function and can make better-educated decisions while betting money online.

How Do Odds Work?

Bookmakers calculate betting odds to express their opinion on the possibility of an event or series of events occurring. Betting odds are applied to any event on which bookmakers accept wagers, ranging from horse racing and football to television specials and political campaigns and elections.

Point Spreads

Point spreads are bets on the margin of victory in a game. This is the most common type of bet in football and basketball.

To cash your bet, the perceived stronger team (the favorite) must win by a set number of points/runs/goals. The underdog must lose by less than that amount or win the game outright.


All you have to do with moneyline betting is decide which side you think will win. Underdogs will have odds against them, while favorites will have odds in their favor.

As a result, it is an excellent place for new bettors to begin in sports betting. Naturally, understanding and choosing to stake money on moneyline odds is a common occurrence and practice among new bettors.


A parlay is when you place a wager consisting of several bets, combining all outcomes at once. Of course, you need to be right on all your selections to win big money.

This means that your odds of winning are much less. For example, every month, bookmakers make a significant amount of revenue from parlay wagers.


Betting on the total aggregate score (sometimes known as an over/under bet) is known as the “totals wager.” Oddsmakers set a benchmark number, and bettors wager whether the actual score will be greater or less than that amount.


Teaser bets are a variant of parlay bets in sports betting. It is possible to alter the point spread to make a teaser bet more profitable. For profitability, the sportsbook reduces the winnings the bettor gets in a winning scenario.

Among the most popular teasers is the six-point, two-team football teaser. In this teaser bet, bettors may change the point spreads for both games, but they get a reduced payout if the chances come out on top.


Bets on future events, such as who will win the championship or who will earn MVP, are called futures bets. Betting on the long-term results and outcomes of a season or tournament determines the outcome of these bets.

As the season progresses, bookmakers modify futures odds in response to the outcome of games, injuries, trades, and the amount of money placed on specific teams or events. As a result, there is no way to change or cancel a futures bet once it is made, regardless of the game’s outcome or the futures odds offered by sportsbooks.

Betting Examples

  • Moneyline: The New England Patriots will win against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
  • Point Spread: The LA Lakers will cover the -13 point spread against the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Playoffs.
  • Teasers: I) The Rams will win against the Saints ii) The Saints will, however, cover the spread against the Rams.
  • Futures: Stephen Curry will score the most 3-pointers in the NBA Playoffs 2022-23
  • Parlays: I) Lebron James will be the leading scorer against the New York Knicks and the Lakers will win the game by five points or more and also cover the spread.
  • Total: The Lakers and Golden State Warriors will score OVER 210 points in their Sunday night game.

Betting Odds Guide FAQs

How Are Sports Wagering Odds Calculated?

Bookmakers generate odds for sporting events to indicate the anticipated result of a game or tournament. In addition, they determine how much a bettor may win while placing a wager on a sporting event at that particular sportsbook. As a result, sports bets, particularly football, are sometimes highly impacted by the lines offered by Las Vegas bookmakers.

How Do I Interpret Sports Wagering Odds?

One of the three methods of listing odds described above is likely to be simpler for you to grasp than the others. Totals odds, for example, are easy to understand.

Is There a Difference in the Odds Based on the Sport?

Odds may theoretically be shown in any format, regardless of the game. However, in reality, the location of the intended audience will have some bearing on this decision. Due to most viewers being in the U.S., football odds will almost always be displayed in the American format.

What's the Use in Knowing the Odds in Sports Betting?

Because you may pick from many sites, some of which might only provide their odds in one format, it’s critical to be familiar with the numerous types of odds. You’ll also avoid making errors like putting large bets on low-odds events.
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