Understanding odds and implied probabilities are essential for sports betting. But it’s also important to know the different types of wagers and how payouts are calculated. That way, you can whittle down the available options and find those that work best for you.
Spread bets are made by laying points against an underdog team. This gives the favorite an advantage by adding points to their final score while reducing the amount they would win if the game ended in a tie (called a push). The point spread is often given in increments of half-a-point (.5) even though very few sports have a.5 point scoring system, to avoid ties and allow the book to make money.
Futures bets are placed on events that haven’t occurred yet, such as a certain team to win the Super Bowl or an individual player to win the playoff MVP. These bets are generally available before a season or event begins and the odds will update regularly based on performance, injuries, trades and more.
Another type of bet is a proposition, or “prop.” These are wagers that aren’t directly related to the actual action on the field or court and often have nothing to do with the outcome of a game. These can include anything from what color Gatorade will be dumped on the winning coach, how long the national anthem or coin toss will be to which song the halftime performer will sing first.