Before we get into types of wagers, it is very important that you understand what Juice or Vig means when you go to place your first bet. In simple terms the Juice is the price the Sportsbook or casino charges to make a bet. Of course, Sportsbook and Casinos are just like any other company in the world, they can only continue to be in business if they make a profit. The Juice is the built-in edge that a Sportsbook or Casino use to gain a profit on taking bets.
The best example we can give of this is being at a Roulette table when you bet on black or red. Since there are only 2 options then you have a 50/50 chance of winning…right? Well not exactly. You see a Roulette table has 18 black numbers and 18 red ones with 2 additional numbers that have no color, 0 and 00 (in U.S casinos). So your chances of hitting either black or red is 47.4% while the chances of you landing on 0 or 00 is 5.26%. Think 5.26% as being similar to Juice, in other words it’s the built-in advantage the casino puts in place to make sure they have the edge.
The thing that makes Juice fair from your perspective is that it is only paid on losing bets. If you win your bet, you get back the 10% Juice (that’s the standard amount) that you paid to make the wager. For example, if you bet $110 to win $100 on the Eagles and they lose it will cost you $110. If they win you get $100 in profit plus the $110 back that you risked.
TIP: The best way to calculate juice is to use round numbers like 10 or 100 until you get used to it. For example, let’s say you want to know how much you would have to risk to win $20. Well if you use a round number like 10 then you know that if the Juice is (-110) then it would cost you $11 to win $10 in the same way it would cost you $110 to win $100. So, if it cost $11 to win $10 then it would cost $22 to win $20. If you’re thinking to yourself “I just want to bet I don’t want to do homework every time I want to know how much I’m risking” you need not worry. Your account has a built-in system that calculates everything for you. So if for example you like to bet $125 a game and you don’t feel like trying to figure out how much you would have to risk, you can just log into your account and put $125 under the box that says “to win” and in the box “risk” that will give you the amount it will cost you (If the Juice is at the standard -110 then you would be risking $137.50 to win $125). For those of you that like math and want to know how to do it on a calculator, take the Juice and place a decimal after the first digit. So, if the Juice is -110 and you wanted to win $150 how much does that cost? On your calculator you would do 1.10 x 150 which would give you 165. So to win $150 you would need to risk $165.
The most common type of wager is called a Straight Bet. It’s as straight forward as the name suggests. It’s simply a bet on team or person (depending on the sport) to win the game. Where new account holders often get confused is by the 3 types of straight bets that you can make: Spread, Moneyline and Total. We’ll start with the most popular straight bet which is betting on the Spread.
The Point Spread are the numbers you see all the time on your favorite sports channel or website around a game. You might have seen something like this:
Patriots -9.5 (-110)
Jets +9.5 (-110)
If this has never been explained to you it might seem quite confusing, however once you understand what the + and – symbols stand for it becomes quite clear. Whenever you are looking at a point spread the first thing you need to understand is that the minus symbol is for the favorite and the plus symbol is for the underdog. Once you know that it’s time to understand what the number means. In order to understand that you need to be a fan for a moment. As a fan of football, you understand that the Patriots have been the most consistent team in football for almost two decades. You also know that the Patriots and the Jets are division rivals which means they play each other twice a year every season. With that being said you understand these are two teams that know each other very well. Now understand that the -9.5 for the Patriots means that they need to win by more than 9.5 (so by 10 or more) in order for you to win your bet. Now as a fan you might be thinking “I know the Patriots might be good but these are division rivals who know each other inside out, those are usually close games”. You would be correct, division games in any sport are tough because you are so familiar with your opponent. The thing is there are two sides to a point spread. The other side of this game would be the Jets +9.5 which means that if you bet the Jets, if they win of course you win your wager however if they lose by less 9.5 (so for 9 or less) then you still win!! Now as a fan you might be thinking well wait a minute, I don’t think the Jets can beat the Patriots, but I do think they can hang around! Well if you considered that for even a split second, you now understand betting on the Spread. It’s basically a tool to even the odds between 2 teams that are not even according to the statistics. Without a point spread nobody would ever bet on the Jets to beat the Patriots which of course would make it pointless. The point spread attempts to even the odds so that it’s closer to a 50/50 proposition. So what happens if you don’t want to bet on the Spread? You just want to make a bet on who wins period, what do you do? Time to introduce you to the second type of wager called a Moneyline wager.
A Moneyline wager means that the team you bet on needs to win game and you win your bet. That’s it that’s all. So why would anyone bet on the Spread? Well that’s where it gets a little bit tricky. The first thing to know is that you’re understanding of Moneyline only needs to be basic. We say that because at some point in your wagering experience you will become curious as to how they come up with a Moneyline. It will seem like a random number at first but it isn’t random at all. There is a chart used to come up with the Moneyline in sports like Football and Basketball where betting on the Spread is more common. That’s not important now. What you need to understand is that the Moneyline means that if you want to bet on a team to win straight up there’s a different price for the favorite than there is for the underdog. What do we mean by different price? Think back to betting on the spread, regardless of picking the underdog or the favorite, you risk the same amount. If you bet on the favorite in a Moneyline wager, you will need to pay more. To get a better understanding of this you need to be a fan again for a moment. Think of a scenario where you’re watching a game with one of your friends that know just as much about football as you do. We’ll use the same example as earlier from the Patriots vs. Jets:
You already understand the Spread part of this line so what about the Moneyline? Well if you think back to how Juice works, you should have an idea already of what to do with the Moneyline. One of the reasons we ask you to think of it like a fan is so that you see the common sense behind what these numbers mean. In this case, you’re with your friend and he says “hey I bet you $10 that the Patriots are going to beat the Jets”. Your response would be predictable. No chance you take that bet because everyone knows the Patriots always beat the Jets. Well guess what, so do Sportsbooks. This is where the Moneyline comes into to play. Since Sportsbooks know that the Patriots always beat the Jets, they need to make it worth their while to take that bet. So, to even the odds, they charge you a price: the Moneyline. So, in this case the Moneyline for betting the Patriots is -400 which means if you wanted to win $100 you would have to risk $400. We know what you’re thinking, who would do that? Well actually you just might! Go back to the example of your friend that wanted to bet you $10 that the Patriots would beat the Jets. Well if you use the example of the -400 Moneyline, you could say to your friend “Dude you already know the Patriots will beat the Jets so let’s even the odds. If I’ll take the Patriots and if they win you pay me $10 and if they lose I give you $40”. Now that is a much more reasonable wager between friends. If you know one team is expected to win over the other, then why should you the betting odds be even? If you understand that concept you have a much better understanding of how the Moneyline works. Again, there are two sides to a bet. In our example with your buddy, you would give him 4 to 1 odds. Well if you take a closer look at the Moneyline that isn’t exactly how they do it. Remember we mentioned that there is a chart for calculating the Moneyline which we don’ need to get into. What we do need to get into is how the Moneyline calculates how much you are going to win.
It is very important that you understand the concept of betting the underdog on the Moneyline. Essentially this is where you get the best bang for your buck so to speak. If you’re betting on the underdog on the Moneyline, you already know you are making wager that is expected to lose. Knowing that you would expect to get a bigger return on your investment (win more than you risk). Well that exactly what you would get by betting the Underdog on the Moneyline!! So, in our Patriots vs. Jets example the Moneyline for the Jets is +300 which means that if you bet the $100 on the Jets you would win $300. There are fewer things in your gambling experience that will be sweeter than winning an underdog Moneyline bet.
TIP: To have a better understanding of Spread and Moneyline it’s important to understand that the type of sport you are talking about is key. Football and Basketball are Spread sports and the rest Baseball, Hockey, Soccer) for the most part Moneyline sports. Why is that the case? Well think about how the scoring works in those games. In Football or Basketball, a 5-point win is a close game. In Baseball, Hockey and Soccer a 5 point win a blowout. So, because the scoring in Football and Basketball is so dramatically different, the point Spread makes more sense to wager on because the Moneylines get really expensive when betting favorites. In the Moneyline sports, because the games are low scoring, it’s more likely that games will be close in score therefore betting the Moneyline is way less expensive. To understand that last point better, we’ll give you the Moneyline of a close football game.
TIP: In this situation a lot of people betting on the Panthers would take them on the Spread because the difference is price is small (-110 vs. +110) and they get the added insurance of the +2.5. Now this is a personal decision and your betting experience will help you make the right choice for you.
It’s time to visit our 3rd type of straight bet which is betting on the Total. You will sometimes hear betting totals referred to as wagering the “Over/Under”. Betting the Total or Over/Under has to with the final score of the game. For example, you might see this line:
|Golden State||-6(-110)||-275||225o (-110)|
TIP: A lot of new account holders tend to bet on Totals when they really aren’t sure who is going to win the game, but they still want action. Now we aren’t recommending this simply because it makes more sense to bet on something because you really feel like you can win. That being said, sometimes just having action on the game makes it more exciting to watch. Like all things in life it’s about finding that right balance.
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