Of course, there are many different sports that are available for us to bet. In the US football is the most popular sport in terms of betting and also ratings. Globally the most popular sport in terms of betting is also football- but we call it soccer in the US. Basketball, baseball, and hockey are also popular sports and they are all bet a little bit differently. Here are some tips for betting that are sport specific…
In football, (American football that is), most of the scoring is done by way of touchdowns or field goals. There are also safeties, 2 point conversions, and extra points, but by and large when a team scores in football their point total is increased by either 3 or 7. We call these numbers “key numbers” and it is important to pay attention to them when placing bets on the point spread. Place a bet at -6.5 and your team needs to win by 7 or more points to win your bet or one touchdown plus the extra point. If you placed a bet for a team to cover by -7.5 then most likely they will need to win by two scores.
When we place bets in football we want to try and get on the better side of 3’s and 7’s. So for example if we like an underdog ideally we would want to get down on the point spread at +3.5, +7.5, +10.5, +14.5, +17.5, +20.5, etc. or better. If we like a favorite we would ideally like to get down at -2.5, -6.5, -9.5, -13.5, -19.5, etc. or better. It is all about getting on the right side of those important numbers.
Obviously half a point can often be the difference between winning and losing a bet. Most good sports books will let you buy a half a point (known as buying the hook) for extra juice or commission. Usually about -125 to -130 instead of -110 odds.
For basketball there isn’t specific key numbers that we need to pay attention to but we do need to be aware of what type of game we think will play out. Spreads can vary greatly in basketball from even or pick’em to 30-40 plus for a big mismatch. The 30-40 point spreads are from college basketball games. The NBA rarely gets spreads that are more than 12-15.
For a spread that is in the 3-4 or less range this is basically a moneyline bet. A spread in the 7-10 range should be a close game with one team pulling away at the end usually by way of making free throws down the stretch when the other team has to foul to stop the clock. A spread in the 12-15 plus range is indicating a blowout, but beware of the backdoor cover when the team in the lead takes their foot off the gas and coasts for the last few minutes.
In baseball we mostly bet on the money line, run line, and totals. The money line is picking one team to win the game straight up by any amount of runs. The run line is a kind of spread that is almost always -1.5 or +1.5. This means that you can bet that a team will win by 2 runs or more (-1.5), or win the game or only lose by one run (+1.5).
Why use the run line instead of money line? It gives us better odds when we win. For example in baseball sometimes a team is a heavy favorite over a much weaker opponent especially when the favored team has a good pitcher on the mound that day against a weaker pitcher. Think Max Scherzer on the mound for the Dodgers against the Pirates. In a matchup like this the price on the money line for the Dodgers might be -250 to -300 or more, but the price on the run line might only be -125 to -150. This gives us a much better payout and a lower risk if the Dodgers can win by 2 runs or more instead of just one.
On the flip side we use the +1.5 run line if we like a game to be very close and we want that extra run of cushion just in case our team fails to win the game. In this case though, the payout will be less than if we had bet the team to win straight up on the money line.
For baseball totals, a total in the 6-7 range indicates a pitchers duel, a total in the 8-10 range is a standard game with average pitchers, and a total in the 11-14 range is a usually only a Coors Field game. Coors Field is a notorious hitter’s park where the Colorado Rockies play and the thin mountain air that is present there produces a lot of hard hit balls and home runs.
Hockey betting is very similar to baseball. We typically use money line, totals, and puck line bets. The puck line is really the same thing as the run line in baseball but just a different name.
The totals in hockey are almost always either 5, 5.5, 6, or 6.5.
The puck line is almost always either -1.5 or +1.5 except in the case of a big mismatch.
In soccer we are usually betting the money line, spread, and totals. One of the main things that is different about soccer betting is we can bet that the game will end in a tie or draw. This of course happens quite a bit in soccer and when we bet on a draw to happen it can be at any score, 0-0, 1-1, 2-2, etc.
Another thing to note in soccer is that when we bet on the money line for a team, that team must win the game for us to cover. A draw results in a loss, unless we bet on the spread at 0 then a draw results in a push (you get your money back) instead of a loss.
Spreads in soccer are typically in the 0 to -1.5 range but can go up to -5 or more depending on the gap in talent between the two teams.
If you see a total in soccer that has 2 numbers listed such as 2 2.5. That means that half of your bet is at the number 2 and the other half is at the number 2.5. This can also be expressed as a total at 2.25. So if we bet 100 to go over the total at this number (2 2.5 or 2.25) 50 is betting the total goes over 2, the other 50 is betting that the total goes over 2.5. If the games ends at 1 goal scored or less we lose the entire bet. If the game ends at 2 goals scored we push half of the bet and lose the other half. If the game ends at 3 goals scored or more then we win the entire bet.