A sportsbook odd for football is different from the sportsbook odd used for some other sports, such as baseball, but it is the most important to understand because football is the most popular sport in the sportsbook industry. A sportsbook odd in football can refer to either the side, the total, or the money line.
The sportsbook odd in football that is most common is the number that refers to the side. This sportsbook odd is a handicap that is given to the favored team because it is supposedly better than its opposition. By using this type of handicap the sportsbook odd is able to attract action on both sides of a football betting matchup. For example, imagine a game in which the 10-0 Patriots are playing the 0-10 Dolphins. If bettors were allowed to simply wager at even odds on which team would win then everyone would bet on the Patriots, whose record indicates that they are clearly the better team. However, once a sportsbook odd is introduced, such as Patriots -13, then some people will be attracted to wagering on the Dolphins. The sportsbook odd Patriots -13 indicates New England must win by more than 13 points in order for a Patriots wager to win. Therefore, the Dolphins could lose by 12 points and bets on the Dolphins would still win.
Another sportsbook odd that is used for football is the total. With a total, sportsbook gamblers wager on the total number of points that will be scored in a matchup, regardless of which team scores the points. Therefore, imagine a Vikings-Packers matchup with a total of 39½ . To wager on this sportsbook odd a sportsbook gambler must bet on whether the real game total will be over or under the game total established in the sportsbook odd. Therefore, a wager on the over in this game would require 40 or more points to be scored by the Vikings and Packers combined. In contrast, a sportsbook wager on the under would require 39 or fewer points to be scored by the two teams.
The final sportsbook odd that gamblers use to wager on football is the money line. The money line is perhaps the most basic sportsbook odd because it simply involves wagering on which team will win a given matchup outright. However, in order to attract betting action from sportsbook gamblers on both teams in a matchup, the two teams are priced differently. For instance, in the Patriots-Dolphins example used above the Patriots money line may be listed at -350, while the Dolphins money line may be listed at +320. In this situation, gamblers wagering on the Patriots to win must risk $350 to win $100, while gamblers wagering on the Dolphins to win must risk only $100 to win $320.
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