When you bet on a football or basketball game, you’ll typically be playing against a “pointspread.” 7 points will favor team A over Team B for example. You’ll either take Team A to win by more than 7, or Team B to lose by less than 7 or to win the game outright. It’s important to remember that the pointspread DOES NOT represent a prediction on the game from the sports book or casino but rather, a number that it believes will split the money evenly to reduce their risk.
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You see when you bet a straight play like this, you have to risk your money in an 11/10 ratio (that extra 10% is called the vigorish, or the “vig” or “juice” in slang). You risk $11 to win $10 or $110 to win $100 or $55 to win 50, etc Ideally from the sports book perspective half the wagerers will take one team in a game, half will take the other then the sports book will make its profit from the losing side. Imagine that wagerers as a group risked $55,000 to win $50,000 on Team A, and $55,000 to win $50,000 on Team B. It doesn’t matter who wins the sports book will pocket $5,000 in profit and use the other $50,000 from the losers to pay off the winners.
All of this is important to you, because it means that for smart players, sports wagering is the best money making proposition in all of wagering.
Think about it, the laws of probability rule all the other casino games. The odds concerning the next card that comes up in blackjack or poker, where the ball’s going to land in roulette, what number is about to be rolled in craps, etc The casinos know the laws and have adjusted their payoffs accordingly. For the most part, you have to get lucky to win in the casino. You can’t purposely beat roulette any more than you can purposely hit the jackpot at a slot machine. But you can through research and intelligence, be sports pointspreads!
Pointspreads are based on perceptions of the wagering public. Because the wagering public isn’t perfect in its analysis there are holes that can be exploited each and every day. There are 7-point favorites who should be 10-12 point favorites there are underdogs who have match-up advantages that will yield a straight up victory there are good teams about to have an off-day, and bad teams who play over their heads in certain scenarios. This applies to all sports including Football and Basketball.
Football and Basketball are similar in that they use pointspreads. Baseball generally uses a money line. Hockey uses either a “puck” line (similar to a pointspread but based on goals), or a money line like baseball. Remember to study the starting pitchers, since the pitcher will decide the outcome of the game one way or another, good handicapping can help you become better at sports betting, and profit more from it.