Spreads, Totals and Money Lines

When you go to a sportsbook there are 3 main types of bets you can place: Spreads, Totals (or Over/Unders) and Money Lines. Below is an explanation of how each of them works.


Spreads are the most popular form of sports betting there is. In Spreads, one team will be the favorite and one the underdog and the spread will be the amount of points the favorite has to win by to win the bet. For example, if Miami is playing New England and they are favored by 10.5 points, they must win by more than 10.5 points for you to win the bet. If you bet on Miami, the underdog, you win as long as they don’t lose by more than 10.5 points. Basically, you are adding 10.5 points to the underdogs score at the end of the game. It’s that simple.

For Spreads, you bet roughly $1.10 to win $1.00, depending on the sportsbook. It doesn’t matter whether you pick the favorite or the underdog, you still get the same payout if you win.

Spreads, Totals and Money LinesTotals (Over/Under)

Totals are based upon the combined score of both teams and it doesn’t matter who wins. All you do is bet on whether you think the combined score will be above or below a certain level. For example, in basketball the over/under for a game may be 180. If you bet that the score would be over 180 and the teams combined for 181 points, then you would win. If it ends up as a tie, 180 in this case, all money is returned to the players. If it is below 180, then you would lose.
As with Spreads, you bet $1.10 to win $1.00 no matter which side you choose.

Money Lines

They aren’t as popular as the first two but they are the easiest to understand. All you do is bet on which team you think will win. The amount of money you win is based on how big a favorite or underdog your team is. If they are a big favorite you might only win $15 on a $100 bet. But, if they are a big underdog you could win several hundred dollars. It should be noted that many sportsbooks don’t give you Money Lines on all sports so you may have to look around to find them.

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