Let's jump right in and use an example to learn the primary types of "straight bets" and how to read odds. Here's an example of a sports betting "line" on a football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Philadelphia Eagles. This information may be presented differently in other contexts, but this is how a football line would typically be laid out on our odds boards:

Football line example

From left to right the line above includes ROTATION NUMBERS, team names, and the odds or prices for the three primary football bets: the POINT SPREAD, the TOTAL (or OVER-UNDER), and the MONEY LINE.

Rotation numbers in example football line


Use these numeric bet identifiers at the counter for easy and accurate bet placement.

The sequential "275" and "276" on the far left are called ROTATION NUMBERS or Bet IDs. Since many teams share their name with teams in other sports and leagues (Lions, Tigers, Bears, etc.), these numeric identifiers can be used for easy and precise bet identification at the sportsbook counter. Bettors are welcome to use team names, but stating rotation number, bet type, and bet amount is a common way to get a bet placed at the counter quickly and accurately.

In this example, saying "#276, money line, $50" would result in a $50 money line bet on the Eagles at odds of +200.

Football line point spread example


Bet on whether the favored team will win by more than this proposed margin of victory.

The "-5" seen above is the POINT SPREAD and it represents a proposed margin of victory by the "favorite" (the team expected to win). It's the number of points that will be subtracted from the favorite's score in order to determine point spread bet winners and losers. Betting on the point spread means betting on whether the favorite will defeat the "underdog" by more than the point spread. When the point spread is 0, it is often shown as "PK" since bettors must simply "pick" the winner of the game regardless of margin of victory. Point spreads are the primary bet type for higher scoring head-to-head sports like football and basketball.

The Seahawks are giving up 5 points in our example. So in order to win their bet Seahawks point spread bettors need their team to win the game by more than 5 points. Conversely, Eagles bettors are getting 5 points. In order for Eagles point spread bettors to win their bets, the Eagles just need to lose by less than 5, or win the game. If the Seahawks win the game by exactly 5 points the result of the point spread addition or subtraction is a tie. This is called a "push" and anyone who bet Seahawks -5 or Eagles +5 would neither win nor lose and instead get their bet refunded.

Like most other sportsbooks, our point spread bets have a "juice" or "vig" of -110 unless otherwise noted. This means a point spread bettor must risk $110 for every $100 they wish to profit. Scale that up or down as desired. Bet $11 to profit $10; bet $440 to win $400; bet $22,000 to win $20,000; etc.

Football line over-under example


Bet on whether the total points scored by both teams combined will be more or less than this figure.

The "50" overlapping both rows is the TOTAL or OVER-UNDER. This is a proposed number of total points scored in the game by both teams combined. Over-under bettors decide whether they think the total points scored in the game will be "over" (greater than) or "under" (less than) this figure.

In this example, if the Seahawks and Eagles score a combined 51 points or more, bettors who took the Over win their bets. If the two teams score a combined 49 points or less, Under bettors win. If the total points scored lands exactly on 50 it's a push and everyone gets their bets refunded. Like point spread bets, the juice on totals is -110 unless otherwise noted.

Football money line example


Bet on which team will win the game.

The "-230" and "+200" on the far right make up the MONEY LINE for the game. Money line bets are all about predicting which team will win the game straight up (no point spread involved). A minus sign (-) indicates how much bettors must wager to win a profit of $100. A plus sign (+) indicates how much a bettor will profit on a wager of $100. Money lines are the primary bet type for relatively low scoring team sports like baseball and hockey, and for head-to-head individual sports like MMA and tennis.

Here the Seahawks money line is -230. If the Seahawks win the game, Seahawks money line bettors win $100 for every $230 they bet on the money line. A winning Seahawks money line bettor who wagered $230 would collect their $230 wager plus $100 profit. The Eagles money line is +200. If the Eagles win the game, an Eagles money line bettor who wagered $100 would make $200 profit and therefore collect $300 at the counter.

Like juice, money line odds are based on $100 wagers and win amounts, but bettors aren't required to bet in $100 increments. Scale the figures up or down to the desired bet size. In this example, a winning $230 Seahawks money line bet would profit $100 which means $23 would profit $10; $46 would profit $20; $2,300 would profit $1,000; etc.

Now let's look at a standard baseball line:

Baseball line example

This baseball line looks similar to the football example, but the bet types are rearranged a bit, and the odds on the far right look like something new. From left to right, this baseball line includes rotation numbers, team names, the money line, the total, and the RUN LINE which is the baseball equivalent of a Point Spread.

Baseball run line example


Bet on whether the favored team will win by more than this proposed margin of victory.

In low scoring team sports, the margin-of-victory betting option is not called the point spread but is instead called the RUN LINE in baseball, the PUCK LINE in hockey, and the GOAL LINE in soccer. These lines work exactly the same way as a point spread, but they usually have adjusted juice rather than the standard -110 juice attached to most football and basketball point spreads.

In the above example, run line bettors who take the Dodgers need the Dodgers to win by more than 1½ runs to win their bet. In other words the Dodgers must win by 2 or more runs. And the "-105" juice indicates that Dodgers run line bettors must risk $105 for every $100 they want to win. Run line bettors who take the Rays need the Rays to lose by less than 1½ runs (the Rays must lose by just 1 run or win the game outright) and the "-115" juice indicates that Rays bettors must risk $115 for every $100 they hope to profit on a winning run line bet.

Index odds example


Bet on which of three or more possible outcomes will occur.

In order to cover all the primary bet types for the major sports we need to look at one more bet format: Fields. For bets with more than two competitors or possible outcomes, a Field (or "Index") of potential results is presented as a list. Each outcome has a rotation number, a name or label, and the odds for that result. This format may be used to offer wagering on which of 4 teams will finish first in an NFL Division, which of 40 drivers will win a NASCAR race, which of 125 golfers will win a golf tournament, etc. We use money line notation for our fields. A minus sign (-) indicates the amount that must be wagered to win $100 and a plus sign (+) indicates how much a winning $100 bet will profit.

In the field above, the 15 potential winners of the NHL Western Conference Championship are offered for wagering. The Canucks, for example, are +1300 meaning a winning $100 bet on the Canucks will profit $1300.

That covers the standard straight bets and how to read our odds. If you have any questions at all just ask at the sportsbook counter and we'll be happy to help!


This page is provided for educational purposes only. Odds presented above cannot be wagered on and all of our official grading and payout policies can be found on our House Rules page.