The most basic way to bet on football is a straight bet on the pointspread. When making a straight bet, the team the player bets must cover the pointspread. This means that the favored team must win by a stipulated number of points or the underdog will receive that number of points. Wagers on the pointspread are usually offered at 11 to 10 odds. This means that the bettor must “lay” $11 for every $10 he wishes to win. Because of this, when placing a pointspread bet, it is customary to bet in $11 increments ($22, $55, $110, $550, etc).
The pointspread on the electronic display boards and wagering sheets is always listed next to the favorite. The home team is always listed on the bottom, unless otherwise specified.
In the example, Philadelphia (-3) is favored by 3 points. Philadelphia must win the game by more than three points for the player to win his bet on Philadelphia. If the player bets Washington (+3), Washington must win the game outright or lose by two points or less for the player to win. If Philadelphia wins by exactly three points, it is considered a tie or “push” for wagering purposes and all straight bets on the pointspread are refunded.
The number next to the pointspread (42) is the Total for the game (also called Over/Under). The player can wager that the final score will be more or less than this number. All points scored in overtime are counted in the final score. Like the pointspread, the player wagers $11 for every $10 he wishes to win or multiples thereof, unless stated otherwise. For example, the player would lay $55 to win $50 or $110 to win $100, etc.
NOTE: Pointspreads fluctuate, but in sports betting the odds when the bet is placed are “fixed.” The listed pointspread at the time of the wager, which is printed on the ticket, may be different than the opening or closing pointspread of the game and the odds appearing on the wagering sheets.
THE MONEY LINE
Bettors also have the option of wagering on a team to win the game without the use of the pointspread; the margin of victory does not matter. The money line is the number at the far right used to display these odds. That team with the minus sign (-) next to the money odds is the favorite. All money lines are based on $100. In the example, players can bet Philadelphia to win the game at -160 instead of laying 3 points at -110. A $16 wager on Philadelphia would win $10 for a payback of $26 and a $160 wager would win $100 for a payback of $260. A $100 bet on Washington would win $140 for a payback of $240 if Washington wins the game.
Combining several teams into a single bet is a known as a parlay. Totals may also be used in parlays. To win a parlay, ALL teams in the parlay must win. In “off-the-board” parlays, the player may parlay from 2 to 8 teams.
In the event of a tie or “push” with the pointspread or total, the parlay is reduced to the next lowest number of teams; for example a 4-team parlay with one tie would become a 3-team parlay, etc. A two-team parlay with one tie becomes a straight bet.
Parlay cards, most popular during football season, offer the potential for a large return on a small bet.
Players darken the circles on the stub that apply to the teams in their parlay, the number of teams desired and the bet amount.
There are several types of parlay cards to choose from during football season and each has a different payoff scale. The most popular variety of parlay card is the “1/2 point” card, in which ½-point pointspreads are used, eliminating the possibility of a tie.
We offer 6, 6 ½, 7 and 10-point teasers in football. A teaser allows the player to add extra points on an underdog or subtract points on a favorite on multiple games. Football and basketball can be mixed on the same teaser. In the event of a tie in any game, the teaser is reduced to the next lowest number; for example a 4-team teaser with one tie would become a 3-team teaser, etc. In the event of a wagering tie, a 2-team teaser is deemed “No Action” and all money wagered is refunded.