Betting Odds and Terms

In gambling, there are all sorts of terms and slang used. Many have derived from different meanings over the last century and come from individual forms of gambling. However, if you are new to sports betting, there are certain terms and odds you need to understand. This can help you avoid making a poor bet and just give you the basic understanding of what is going on.

Fractions and +/-

You are going to see fractions at different times when betting. More often than not you’ll see fractions when betting on a horse. It might have a listed 1/8 chance of winning. Basically, for every eight dollars being bet on the race, one is being bet on the horse. The higher the action, the more people are betting on the horse (like 3/8 is higher than 1/8). However, the higher the fraction and the better the odds, the less the payout is. If there is a plus or minus, it means it is a head to head bet. For example, if the red football team is playing the blue football team and the red team is perceived to be better, they might be favored by 7 while the other team is seen as the 7 point underdog. When betting just to cover the spread, the favored team not only needs to win, but it needs to win by at least the spread amount. So, even if the favored team wins by 5, if someone bet for the under team (or underdog team) to cover the spread, they win the bet.


When someone hedges it means they place a bet on the opposite team or individual in order to cut their potential losses or to at least guarantee a minimum amount of money brought back in. In one instance an individual might place a bet for the red team to win, while in the other instance they might bet someone else that the blue team covers the spread. They are not going to win both bets, but when looking at the odds it sometimes is possible to guarantee at least a small amount of money won.


A parlay is a series of bets. In a parlay, you are going to bet on the outcome of two games where the second game is directly affected by the first game. For example, if one team is in the playoffs, you might bet for them to win the first game and then lose against the second team. If the team loses the first game you drop the bet, and if they win the second game you drop the bet. You need your parlay to play out completely as you bet. It has a higher payout than just betting on one team, but the chances are diminished.

Round Robin

A round robin is when there is at least three or more teams where each is participating in a two team parlay. A round robin is often used in tournaments. If there are six basketball teams partaking in a round robin, each team is going to play the other teams. Then, after the round robin is complete the team with the best record moves on. A round robin in betting is usually where several individuals make bets on individual games and then the two people who won the most bet either go head to head on a singular bet for all the money, or there is just a single winner from the round robin and they win all of the money (unless of course there is a tie and then there is a sudden death bet.

Point Spread

The point spread is a line when placing bets that allows the teams to be bet on more evenly. The point spread is needed because every single game has an underdog and a team that is more likely to win the game, meaning that the majority of people would put their money on the better team, which would be an obvious move to make. Because of this, a point spread is created in order to make the overall average in which people bet on either side come out to just about fifty-fifty. For instance, if a team is heavily favored in a football game, they may be favored by fourteen points. If the point spread, or spread, as it is commonly referred to, is at -14, this means that if you bet on the team that is speculated to lose and they end up losing by less than fourteen points, you will win your bet. The point spread is essentially betting that a team will lose or win by a given value, in order to make the sports betting for either side to balance out.

Over/Under Betting

Over and under is betting that the combination of two teams scores, or another variable in the game, will be over or under a given value. For instance, you may have an NBA game that has an over and under score of 192. This means that you can either bet that the two teams scores, when added together, will be over or under 192 points. This type of betting is fairly straightforward and is a favorite method of betting for a lot of gamblers.