The different wagering types
Online sports wagering offers a wide variety of opportunities. The most important thing is to understand what type of bets to make and when to make them. Not all wagers are the same, nor are they bet the same.
The moneyline or straight-up (SU) is a wager on a specific team or player winning the match. The most important thing about the SU wager is the game's price. Bettors want to avoid betting on large favorites over -200 and underdogs of +200. The reason is the amount staked to win $100 isn’t always the same.
Let's say the Chicago Bears are a -400 favorite to win against the Detroit Lions. The bettor would need to stake $400 to win $100. That's too much of a risk for a minimal reward; however, the Bears -150 would require less chance to get the same reward.
The Over/Under or Total is a wager where the bettor decides how many points will be scored in a fixed odds sporting event. The bettor decides whether the number of points will go Over the oddsmaker's set number or Under the number on the board.
If the Bears-Lions total is 54.5 points, the bettor can choose Over the total or Under the total at the standard odds of -110. A bettor wagers $110 to win $100 on either side of the line, and the betting limits are usually lower for totals.
The spread bet is a wager where the bettor decides how many points a team will either win or lose by in a fixed odds sporting event. The game odds are attached to a number of points the sportsbook sets for a team or player to win by, and the odds are usually -110 on either side of the line.
If the Bears are -3.0, they would have to win by four points for the bettor to win, and if the Bears win by three points, the wager is ruled a “push,” and the bettor only receives the original stake.
A middle bet is when a bettor places opposing bets on both sides of a game, creating a "middle" opportunity where the bettor cashes both bets. This type of wager doubles the profits if the final score lands in the middle of both bets and is an advanced bet beginning bettors probably shouldn’t make.
If the Bears open as -3.0 favorites and the number rises during the week to Lions +5.5, a bettor wagering on Chicago -3.0 then takes the Lions +5.5, and if the Bears win by 4-5 points, the bettor wins both wagers and doubles their profit.
Future bets depend on how a team or player performs. This long-term wager can be extremely profitable if a longshot lands and, depending on when the bet is made, can take months to collect.
Wagers on amount of games won or lost plus odds on teams winning their division, conference, or championship can be made at odds of up to +50000. Individual awards, such as a player winning a Most Valuable Player award, can fetch a handsome price if wagered during the preseason.
A prop or proposition bet is a wager made that doesn’t directly affect the outcome of a sporting event. Usually, these wagers are how an individual player will perform, but there are props for how teams perform during a specific point of the contest.
Props are generally an Over/Under wager where the oddsmaker sets a total number based on any number of statistical categories and is another way for an informed bettor to make a wager on a contest without worrying about the outcome of a team.
Parlay bets are wagers linking two or more teams on the same betting slip. If any bets lose, the player loses whatever was staked on the bet. Illinois sportsbooks offer a wide array of pre, live, Teasers, or Same Game parlay opportunities and offer special odds boosts to lure unsuspecting bettors into making a bad bet.
+600 odds aren’t very favorable towards the bettor, and making wagers with a 14% implied probability of winning isn’t a wise bet.
Live bets are wagers made after a contest has officially begun. Illinois bettors can make the same wagers during the game as before the contest at slightly different odds. Live betting is also a great way to middle or even hedge a bet.
Still, the odds can change rapidly, and it's advisable to make a live wager during a timeout, commercial break, or at the end of a quarter or 1st half of any sporting event on offer.
How do odds work?
Sports betting odds are the measure of how much you can win vs. how much you bet, usually per $100 bet. Odds are included in all betting forms and every sportsbook board, whether moneylines, spreads, or totals. -110, for example, means a $110 wager for a $100 potential profit.
Sportsbooks make money off the vigorish (vig) or juice attached to a wager. To break even, a bettor must win 52.4% of their bets at -110, which is not as easy as some would lead one to believe. A beginning sports bettor should never pay over -110 for any side or Over/Under wager and no more than -200 on a moneyline bet.
How to choose an online betting operator
Illinois players have seven online betting operators to choose from, and each operator is in this business to make money. It’s imperative that a new bettor understands the various enticements and offers made to find the best one.