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The sports betting world is getting bigger by the second, especially in the United States.

This means new people are interested in learning how to bet, and thus, what kinds of bet they can play. Learning more about odds and how they work helps players to make informed betting decisions.

Here’s all you need to know about the most common betting odds:


Moneylines are as simple as they come and very popular when it comes to NFL betting. Pick the winner of the sporting event, and if you nail it, collect the cash. It’s worth noting that betting on the favorites will take the bettor posting a bigger wager to see a good profit.

In American odds, you’ll notice the favorite will have a negative three-digit number. You’ll have to bet that amount to win $100.

The underdog will have a plus sign attached to its number. This number will be the profit based on a $100 bet.

For example, you’re betting on the Detroit Lions against the Green Bay Packers. When you see the lines, you’ll see something like Packers -250, Lions +225. Lay $250 to win $100 for the Packers. If you bet for the Lions, every $100 bet gets you a $225 winning.

Moneyline bets help because you can reduce the margin of error, pick the winner, and that’s it. However, it can hurt you when betting for the favorite, as the wager to get attractive pay is too much.

If you are a casual bettor, moneylines are the easiest. Plus, they are available in pretty much any sport. From NFL and NBA to boxing or MMA fights, moneylines are the base of any bet.

Run Lines

The run lines are baseball exclusive. They put a twist on moneyline bets as they attach a 1.5 run spread to the ball game. This can be very profitable for bettors who do their research before placing their bets.

While a team may be the heavy favorite, their odds reduce as they become a 1.5 run favorite in a run line bet. As for the underdogs, they may be so in the moneylines but can actually become run line favorites.

If you do your homework about trends, pitchers, form, and everything in between, run lines are for you. If not, stay with the moneylines as it can hurt your bankroll.

For example, Let’s say the Yankees are facing the Red Sox, and the moneylines are as follows:

– Yankees -200 (lay $200 to win $100)

– Red Sox +150 ($150 per $100 bet)

Now, for run lines it looks a bit different:

– New York -1.5: +110

– Boston +1.5: -150

As you can see, when betting in the run line, the Red Sox are the favored team. For this bet, it costs a $150 bet on Boston to win $100. They would have to win or not lose by more than a run. As for New York, you win $110 per $100 bet if they win by two runs or more.

Puck Lines

The puck lines are like the run lines, but for the NHL or any hockey game. The oddsmakers will give the underdog a 1.5 goal margin to make it a closer game and make the odds more appealing.

Hockey games are usually low-scoring games, so the 1.5 goal margin can make or break your bet. Remember, this is not like the moneyline; picking the outright winner is not enough. Puck lines rely on goals scored and covering the 1.5 line, not the winner.

So, when is it better to bet on the puck line? NHL moneylines don’t shy away from giving little value to the favorites from time to time. Puck lines will help you get a better return by betting on the favorite. It also buys you some margin for the underdog.

You will find those odds looking like this:

– Edmonton Oilers -1.5: (-150)

– Tampa Bay Lightning +1.5: (+175)

The oddsmakers favor the Oilers to win by over two goals, so you have to lay $150 to win $100. If you think the Lightning can pull the upset, or at least put on a fight and not lose by more than two, lay $100 on the line to win $175.

Point Spread

Point spreads are the king of sports wagers. A point spread is a projected win margin—or defeat—for the two teams involved in a match. Point spreads are available for basically any team sport, which is why they are so popular as well.

The payouts are more attractive than moneylines if betting on the favorites. These bets depend on the odds given to each side based on the spread. A favorite may have better payouts than the underdog, depending on the spread size.

Let’s look at an NFL example. The Pittsburgh Steelers are the seven-point spread favorites against the Houston Texans. Despite Pittsburgh being a favorite, the odds of it being by more than TD is lesser than just winning.

The payout of the Steelers winning by eight or more points might be one of -105. So if they win by eight or more, you need to lay $105 to win $100.

For the Texans, the chance they can hold on to a less than seven-point defeat is higher. The odds may be around the -115 mark. Needing to bet $115 to win $100.

The purpose of point spread bets is to make it as even as possible. This prevents the betting site from taking major losses in case the underdog wins. It also helps the bettor put less on the favorite and still have a decent winning return.

In point spreads, there’s a possibility to tie the bet, also called a ‘push’. For this to happen, Pittsburgh would have to win by exactly seven points. Here, the amount wagered gets back to the bettor. No win, no loss, simply a tie.

You’ll see them aligned like this:

– Steelers -7 (-105)

– Texans +7 (-115)


Also known as “over/under” bets, these bets are another easy alternative for all kinds of bettors. In a game total wager, choose whether the total points/runs/goals between both teams are more or less than the number set by the book.

Totals are normally in the -110 range, for either over or under. Take a baseball bet for example. The oddsmakers set the Mets-Brewers game at 8.5 runs.

You must bet $110 to get $100 in return, but first choose if both teams are going nine runs or more, or eight and less.

Same as in the point spread, totals can also have pushes. The total bets are the perfect wager for when two even teams match up, and the winner is blurry. If they are high- or low-scoring teams, study their performances and get your total bets placed.

The cool thing about these bets is you can find them in plenty of sports. From NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, soccer, and even the total rounds fought in a boxing or MMA bout.


This is the high-risk, high-reward bet. A parlay bet consists of at least two games or the same game parlay. There are different styles of parlay bets based on the ones written above (totals, spreads, moneylines).

Here’s the catch, to cash a parlay, you can’t lose a bet. Pushes won’t ruin your parlay; however, the payout will be reduced. This happens because they get calculated without factoring in the push result.

The more teams wagered, the bigger the payout. You can take five games, and if you pick them correctly, the payout can be juicy. One pick goes wrong, and the rest doesn’t matter

The more teams wagered, the bigger the payout. You can take five games, and if you pick them correctly, the payout will be sweet. One pick goes wrong, and the rest doesn’t matter—you’ll be leaving empty-handed.

This type of bet is for the bettors who study a certain sport consistently and want to get big bucks for low wagers.


So, you like parlays, but the risk of it is too big, and you want to sacrifice a bit of the payout to buy some margin to get it right. In this case, Teasers are for you.

These bets are like parlays but exclusive to totals and point spreads. You can buy points to make them more achievable.

For example, if the point spread for the Seahawks is -3 against the Cardinals, a teaser will make it +3. This way, the Seahawks don’t need to win by at least four for you to cash but can win or even lose by 3, and your teaser will live on.

This also applies to NBA, NHL, and almost every sport that has spreads available.

Future Bets

Future bets or futures are long-term bets, and they require patience. These bets are made way before the event takes place. For example, football fans can be on the Super Bowl months before it takes place.

The future bets vary depending on the sport. Many will allow you to pick only the future winner, but others like golf bets or racing allow you to pick the top 5 or top 10 finishers.

Futures are good bets if you already have an established bankroll. This way, you can afford to wait to collect your prize. Also, the odds are usually ones with excellent profit to make.

Simply put, futures are odds set by the oddsmakers based on potential outcomes.