“Sportsbook @ Mandalay Bay” by Thank You (22 Millions+), CC BY 2.0 via Fickr.


At first glance most sports bettors are confused as to how to actually place bets correctly. Let us explain the basics of reading odds and how to place bets at the ticket window or online. It’s simple, so there’s no need to feel intimidated.

Learn How to Place Bets at Physical Sportsbook or Online

Wagering on sports has really blown up in the United States ever since they legalized it and allowed states outside of Nevada to license their own sportsbooks. Let’s look at the couple of options you have to place sports bets in the USA.

Playing in Las Vegas or Another State Licensed Physical Sportsbook

This the best way to do it in our eyes. It’s simple, you can watch the game there and you can cash your ticket as soon as the game is over and you are a winner. Let’s walk you thru the easy steps.

Placing a Bet in Las Vegas(and most state run sportsbooks): You are going to look at the odds board and pay attention to the rotation number. This is the number you see before the team name. So, for example, you may see this on the odds board:

409 Dolphins -8 -400

410 Jets 41.5 +300

“I’ll take number 409, Dolphins -8 for $110 straight”

This is what you would say when you go to the ticket window to place your bet. The number 409 is the rotation number and Dolphins -8 is the team and spread while $110 is the amount you are wagering. You want to say the amount you are wagering(ie $110) and not the amount you are looking to win. Most odds on spreads and totals in Las Vegas are -110 to win 100 so always bet $110 if you are looking to win $100.

The number 41.5 above is the total points for the game. You would either bet OVER or UNDER if you want to be on the total. Lastly, the -400 on the Dolphins above and +300 on the Jets is the moneyline.

Playing Online Offshore or in the USA on a Sportsbook App

Most people understandably don’t have the time to drive to the sportsbook every day to place their bets. The alternative is to open an online account and bet online or thru an app. This is very easy and convenient.

You must fund your account first with a deposit before you can place any bets. The one downside is you obviously don’t get any free drink tickets and miss out on the excitement of watching the game in the sportsbook surrounded by hundreds of other sports bettors.

How to Read the Sports Betting Lines

When you look at the odds board you may be confused by seeing teams with minusesĀ  (-) in front of their odds or a plus (+). Let’s help you understand what they mean.

Understanding Point Spreads

Spread Favorites

The favored team to win against the spread is going to have a minus (-) next to their odds. For example, they could be -10 on the spread. What this means is they must win by at least 11 points in order for you to win a bet laying -10 points. If they only win by 9 or less than the bet is a loser. If they win the game by exactly 10 points than the bet is considered a PUSH and you get back your initial bet by going to the ticket window or automatically funded back to your account online or thru the app.

Spread Underdogs

Don’t overthink it. It works the same as the favorites but in reverse. The plus (+) team is the underdog and the number(ie +10) represents how many points they are getting on the bet. Thus, your team can lose the game and you still can win your bet as long as they lose by less than the amount of points they are getting. So, in this example, a +10 underdog bet is a winner as long as they win the game outright or lose by 9 or less. If they lose by 11 or more than it’s a losing bet. A loss by exactly 10 points is a push and you get your bet amount back.

Understanding Totals

Over/Under Odds

Placing a bet on the total(aka over/under) is as simple as it gets. Let’s say the posted total is 227 in the Lakers @ Warriors game. You can either bet OVER 227 -110 or UNDER 227 -110. The final score of the game needs to go OVER 227 for you to win if you bet on the OVER.

The final score needs to be UNDER 227 for you to win the UNDER bet. Let’s say the final score is Warriors 113 Lakers 110. The total combined points are 223 so UNDER bettors would win and OVER bettors would lose.

Understanding Moneylines

The moneyline bet can be the most lucrative bet on the board if you like an underdog to win outright. It also can be the most expensive and lowest paying bet on the board if you like a heavy favorite. For example, let’s say the Yankees are -320 to win in Baltimore and the Orioles are +280. If you bet on the Yankees, you would need to bet $320 just to win $100. However, if you like the Orioles to win than you only need to bet $100 in order to win $280.

We hope you at least have a better understanding of the basics in betting with all the types of betting options we covered in this article. Feel free to contact us anytime with further questions.