By far, football (soccer) is the most popular betting sport in Europe and other parts of the world. Much of the betting focus for European and Asian gamblers is placed on money-line wagering. By contrast, many of the betting opportunities from the US revolve around point spreads and over/under betting. The purpose of this writing is to educate gamblers about the nuances of betting on American sports.
US Betting with Point Spreads
With the exception of MLB and the NHL, most sports betting in America involves the use of point spreads. This would include the NFL, NBA, NCAA FB, NCAA BB and most women’s sports. The purpose of using a point spread is to take games that would otherwise be lopsided betting propositions and turn them into “fair” wagering opportunities.
For example, let’s say the NCAA Football’s Alabama Crimson Tide is playing the Tennessee Volunteers. As one of the top teams in college football, Alabama would be expected to trounce a mid-level team like Tennessee, especially if the game was being played on Alabama’s homefield. Given the circumstances, no sports book is going to post a money-line on this game because it would be too low to attract novice bettors and high-rollers would place huge wagers to pick up some “sure” cash. Instead of calling the game a non-wagering event, New betting sites UK will assign a point spread that evens things up a bit. In this case, using the past season for reference, Alabama would be favored by 23 points. Using computer data and experience, bookmakers arrive at this number and hope the number is reasonably accurate.
For gamblers who want to bet on this game, they have to decide if they want to bet on Alabama and lay the 23 points or bet on Tennessee and get 23 points. When the final score comes in, the 23 is deducted from Alabama’s score to determine the winner versus the point spread. If it lands right on 23, it’s considered a tie or push bet.
Some bettors prefer to view a particular game in its totality. If they can’t determine a winning side using a point spread, they might have a feel for whether the game will be low-scoring or high-scoring. That’s why bookmakers like to provide over/under wagers. Also using computer data and experience, the bookmaker will assign a specified over/under number to be used for wagering purposes.
Using the same example, bookmakers might make the over under 52 points. That means they anticipate the two teams scoring 52 points on a combined basis. If the bettor believes it will be lower, they can bet the under. If they believe it will go higher, they will bet the over. If the final score was 45-13, the over bets would be paid. If it lands right on the number, it’s a push. Most bookmakers will post a half-point line (52.5) on over/under bets to avoid ties.
On most point spread bets from the US, the bettor is usually required to lay $110 to win $100, gross return of $210. The extra $10 is considered the “vig” or commission for taking the bet.
With the information provided above, you can spread your betting wings and try betting on US sports.