Sports Wagering Basics


When wagering on sports, there’s a wide selection of betting options to consider. It really depends on which sport you are betting.

Some wagers are more popular then others in most cases. For example, the point spread is more popular in football and basketball wagering, while the moneyline is in baseball and hockey.

Some types of wagers can get confusing at first, but when you get them down and understand all of them, the more enjoyable sports gambling really becomes.

Here’s a list of sports wagering options to consider the next time you bet on sports.

Straight Wager

A single bet placed on a favorite (-) or an underdog (+) by using either a point spread, moneyline or a total. Wagering on the outcome of a single event. This is probably the most common wager made out of them all in sports betting.

Moneyline Wager

A bet using a money line that is based on the odds of a favorite (-) and an underdog (+). The team or player you wager on must only win outright. The moneyline is usually set by the 100’s. An example would be the favorite Dolphins -130 vs. the underdog Lions +130. In this case, you would have to put up $130 to win $100 on the favorite and $100 to win $130 on the underdog.

Point Spread Wager

A bet in which points are set and handicapped for both teams. The bookmaker will give a (-) number for the favorite to win by and a (+) number for an underdog to stay within. An example of this would be the Cowboys -5 vs. the Cardinals +5. The Cowboys must win by 6 to cover the point spread and the Cardinals must lose by no more than 4 or win outright.

Total Wager

A bet of the combined score of both teams during the duration of an entire game. You would be betting on either the “Over” or “Under” of the total amount of points scored in any given game. This bet usually includes overtime scoring as well.

First-Half and Half-Time Wagers

A bet on the outcome of the first half and after half-time only, usually using a point spread or total. The first-half line is usually set half of the regular game. Half-time lines are set at half-time of a game and basically determined on how well a team performed in the first-half with the regular game line in mind.

Parlay Bet

Betting a combination of two or more straight wagers placed as one wager at a higher risk, but with better odds. For you to win a parlay, all bets involved must win or cover. Use the parlay calculator to calculate the payout odds of up to seven teams.


A bet of two or more teams in a single wager in which the point spread or total is adjusted in your, the bettors favor. Additional points are either added to the underdog or subtracted from the favorite. The odds vary according to the number of points the point spread or total is moved and the number of teams combined. Similiar to a parlay, all teams involved must win.

‘If’ Wagers

Placing multiple wagers at the same time, at an equal amount, that are dependent on the outcome of a previous wager. An “if bet” will only be carried out if the first bet won or pushed and on down the line, depending on how many teams you choose. Example would be taking the Seahawks -5 and “if” they win or push, proceed to take the Eagles at -3, etc. If any wager loses, the whole “if bet” stops there.

Round Robin

A wager of three to eight teams with all possible combinations of 2-team parlay scenerios.

Future Wager

Wagering on the outcome of a future event. Examples would be odds to win the Super Bowl in football or World Series in baseball, before the actual season or game plays out.

Proposition and Exotic Wager

The sports books best friend, along with the parlay. A “prop” bet involves specific events and occurrences that happen throughout a game. Examples would be “An Over/Under on how many touchdowns a QB will throw” or any “yes” or “no” that will happen throughout a game.

As you can see, there’s definitely alot of different bets that can be made when gambling on sports. Now that you know the different type of bets, give some a try. It will make your sports wagering experience all that more exciting.

For more meanings and definitions used in wagering on sports, visit the sports betting terminology page.

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