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You’ve got your favorite team, you’ve got your viewing package, and you’re ready to put a few hard earned dollars on your team! But how?!
Have no fear, we’ve got your back.
Let’s use a 2019 FA Cup fixture – Chelsea vs Sheffield Wed. The lines set at FanDuel Sportsbook NJ looked as follows (important note: the team listed first or top is the home team):
-460 +500 +950
This is a Moneyline Bet, or a straight bet. Moneyline is the most straight-forward wager. It simply means that you’re simply picking a team to win. There’s no spread involved. The downside is that you typically need to wager a fair amount more to win said bet if you’re betting the favorite.
We’re going to use a $100 bet in the example for easy math, but any amount works into the equation once you understand how the lines work. In the above example, you have to bet $460 on Chelsea to win $100. On the other hand, if you’re betting the underdog a $100 bet will net you $500 in winnings on a draw, and $950 on a Sheffield Wed win! Chelsea is obviously the overwhelming favorite in this example and it shows in the line.
A second common type bet is a Point Spread Bet. A spread bet simply put is “a forecast of the number of points by which a stronger team is expected to defeat a weaker one.” It takes much less of a bet to win in this type of bet, as the odds of getting it correct are much lower. Soccer is not a historically high scoring game, so you see smaller spreads more often than not. The spread on this game looks like this:
Chelsea -2 | Handicap Draw -2 | Sheff Wed +2
+165 +280 +125
This means that the favored team, Chelsea, must win by more than the outlined number of goals (in this case 2). So if Chelsea win by 3 or more goals, all bets on Chelsea -2 are winners at +165 (bet $100, win $165). If Chelsea win by exactly 2 goals, bets on the draw at -2 win at +280, and if Chelsea win by 1 goal, draw, or lose, all bets on Sheffield Wed +2 win at +125. The greater the negative number, the greater the favorite.
The last type of betting we’ll address here is Total Goals Betting, an over/under type bet. Put quite simply its how many times the ball finds the back of the net, regardless of the team. For this game the bets are shown below:
0-1 | Exactly 2 or 3 | 4 or more
+500 +280 +110
Its relatively straightforward here. A $100 bet will net you a win of $500, $105, or $110 respectively. Your job is to determine what the end score will be within the parameters shown. FanDuel is betting that someone (Chelsea) will score more than once, and looking at all 3 betting lines you can see how Chelsea being favored (moneyline), by more than 2 goals (point spread), fits into each lines numbers respectively.
There are many, MANY other lines to bet on. Over/Under, doubles, props (on just about anything), pushes, parlays, and more. Understanding the basics above will help you to look at any of those betting lines and have a good basic understanding of how they work and what the odds can do for, or against, you.
As a reminder, sports betting is not YET legal in all of the US, so before you make that run to the bank be sure to check your local laws to make sure you’re in the clear!
Learn more on where to bet: US betting sites