Because more and more people are accustomed to hearing about point spreads and watching handicappers share their views on which team will cover the number rather than winning the game, the recreational sports bettor needs to know that there are several types of bets they can make.
Most people believe the only option is to bet a team to cover the spread which involves betting $11 to make $10, with the additional dollar charged by the bookie as a fee for the privilege of being able to bet whatever side you please. In the sports betting parlance, that fee is known as the vigorish or vig. It is usually a 10 percent commission that must be paid but it can vary depending on circumstances. But betting a team “flat” to cover or not cover is only one way to bet. Let’s discuss the top five below.
1. Betting Sides
Essentially, a side is simply another word for team. If the Packers are playing the Vikings, a flat bet allows you to bet a side that would either be the Packers or the Vikings. This is the most common wager and the one with which most people are familiar. As stated above, there is always a vig to pay if you want to bet this way, so in this example, if the Packers were -7 the bettor has the option of betting either the Packers -7 or the Vikings +7 but either way the standard vig is 10 percent.
2. Betting Totals
This works the same way as betting a side only instead of betting a team, one would bet the total, commonly known as the over/under. The total is a number the bookmaker sets as the combined number of points between the two teams playing when the game is over. In the example above, the total on the Packers/Vikings game might be set at 47 which allows the bettor to bet over or under that number. If the game lands exactly on 47 then it would be considered a “push” and no money is won or lost. The standard 10 percent applies on these wagers as it does on betting sides.
You better be able to use a parlay calculator if you want to bet parlays. A parlay is simply one single bet that encompasses betting more than one team to cover the spread. The more teams you include in a parlay, the more money you will make from your original investment. However, the downside is that all the teams must cover so if you bet a six-team parlay and five cover but one does not, then you lose. But the rewards are great if you do connect. For example, if you were to wager $10 on six teams or totals and you covered all six then you would win $60. But if you put those six bets in a parlay, your payout would be $400! Parlays can be valuable tools to build your bankroll but use them sparingly.
Before the season begins, every online sportsbook has a list of future bets which are essentially odds on every team to win their division, conference, and world championship. The better the team the lower the odds. But if you see value in a team that most are overlooking then you could get plenty of bang for your betting buck. Speaking of bucks, let’s talk about the recently crowned Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Bucs, a team that was 12-1 to win the Super Bowl once news broke that Tom Brady had chosen sun-splashed Tampa Bay as his new team after a 20-year stint in New England. Had you invested $100 on the Bucs to win the Super Bowl back in September you would have collected a cool $1200!
5. Prop Bets
These used to be reserved exclusively for the Super Bowl but now you can find them on a random Thursday night game in November, and not just in football but in all of the major sports. Proposition bets have to do with anything from the total number of yards a running back will get in a particular game to how many touchdown passes the quarterback will throw. Everything is in play and if you want to bet more than a side or a total in a signle game then prop bets are for you!