BroncosHorseFor decades if you enjoyed wagering on horses the only way to consistently win was by picking one winner at a time, race after race after race. All wagering consisted of win, place, and show, and grinding out a living by choosing horses who would finish in the top three, making a few pennies each time you were correct, was not realistic. Then came the advent of exotic wagering. An exciting daily-double (a two race win parlay) turned into Pick 3’s, 4’s, 5’s and 6’s. An exacta (who will finish first and second in a given race) morphed into trifectas, superfectas, and super high fives. Betting on football has changed a great deal too. There are far more options than taking or giving points or making an educated guess as to how many total points will be scored in a game. Not only that, a trip to Nevada is no longer required. Online betting sites make it easy to make your bets from the comfort of your own home.

In Game Wagering

seahawks-tdIf you’ve ever heard the theory that the team who scores the first points usually wins, you can now test out that philosophy. Lets say the 49ers are five point favorites at home against Seattle. The Seahawks get the opening kickoff, drive down the field, and score a touchdown. In the old days, whether you wagered on San Francisco minus five, or Seattle plus five, you still had an entire game to watch and determine if you won or not. Now, with in game wagering, you can chose to bet the game before it starts, or wait until a new point spread comes out. The game might only be four minutes old, but your sportsbook is now going to post a line something along the lines of Seattle minus two. The way the bet works remains the same, if you wager on the Seahawks, they need to win the game by more than two points to cover. If you put your money on San Francisco, they must lose by fewer than two points to cash your ticket. In other words, if the final score is Seattle 31, San Francisco 28, the Seahawks have covered the spread and won the bet. If Seattle triumphs 31-30, the Niners cover the two point spread and win the wager. You can bet this way throughout the game. If the 49ers get the ball trailing 31-28 with two minutes to go the updated spread might be Seattle minus two. If the Seahawks defense holds, a bet on Seattle is a winner. If the Niners kick a field goal and force overtime, the bet continues into the extra session with Seahawk backers needing to win by more than two and those who wagered on San Francisco needing to lose by one or win the game outright. If the Niners score a touchdown to win the game in regulation, Niner bettors are rewarded.

In game wagering allows astute bettors to take advantage of ever changing scenarios in games. Perhaps your specialty is watching a quarter of a game and being able to see how the rest of the contest might unfold. Maybe you can quickly analyze how a key injury or weather is effecting the game. While the sportsbooks know what they are doing when setting the line, their goal continues to be getting an equal number of bets on each side. You may be able to find the smart side of a wager while a game is in progress.

Manipulating Spreads – Money Lines & Buying Points

Incowboys-raiders the first section of this guide we discussed how casinos guarantee that they make money. The short answer is the vig. You must bet $11 to win $10 or $110 to win $100. This is the case for almost all standard bets. Whether you take the Cowboys minus seven or the Raiders plus seven, you are betting an extra 10 percent. When you bet this way it is referred to as -110. Almost all standard bets are -110. However, like most everything in life, both the spread and the vig are negotiable.

If the Cowboys are a seven point favorite, instead of wagering that they will win by a touchdown, you can simply opt to bet that they will win the game. However, in order to avoid laying points, you will need to risk more to win the same amount. Usually, a seven point favorite is about -300, or a 3-1 favorite. In this case you would need to bet $30 to win $10 or $300 to win $100 if you wager on Dallas on the money line. Conversely, if you like the Raiders, and think that they will win the game (not just cover the spread), the money line will be something like Oakland +275. If you bet $10 on the Raiders and they win you will get $27.50, and if you wager $100 you’d make $275. Instead of betting with points, money lines evaluate the percentage chance that a team will win a game.

The middle ground between point spread and money lines is when you buy points. Let’s say that you like the Cowboys and think they will win, but see it as fairly feasible that they will triumph 20-13 or 20-14. If you give seven points, in the first scenario you will push, and in the second you lose. However, you don’t think that the game will be so close that you need to give away three-to-one odds. In this case you can alter the line by “buying” two points. You want to make the spread Dallas minus five. Sportsbooks generally will allow you to do this, but be aware that the -110 will change to something like -150. In other words, because you changed the spread from minus seven to minus five, you now must bet $15 to win $10 instead of $11 to win $10 or $150 to win $100 instead of $110 to win $100. While it might not seem like a huge amount more to bet, each time you change the odds from -110 to -120 to -130 and so forth, you must win your bets at a higher percentage in order to make money.

Lets make this real clear. There are five games you like in a day and all are at -110. You bet $110 on each game and win three of the five. Here is what it might look like.

Eagles +7 and -110. You bet $110, the Eagles cover, you make $100. Where you stand: up $100
Browns +10 and -110. You bet $110, the Browns cover, you make $100. Where you stand: up $200
Chargers -3 and -110. You bet $110, the Chargers cover, you make $100. Where you stand: up $300
Packers -7 and -110. You bet $110, the Packers fail to cover, you lose $110. Where you stand: up $190
Rams +4 and -110. You bet $110, the Rams fail to cover, you lose $110. Where you stand: up $80

Now what happens if you alter the five spreads by two points, pay a percentage to do so, and still win three out of five.

Eagles +9 and -150. You bet $150, the Eagles cover, you make $100. Where you stand: up $100
Browns +12 and -150. You bet $150, the Browns cover, you make $100. Where you stand: up $200
Chargers -1 and -150. You bet $150, the Chargers cover, you make $100. Where you stand: up $300
Packers -5 and -150. You bet $150, the Packers fail to cover, you lose $150. Where you stand: up $150
Rams +6 and -150. You bet $150, the Rams fail to cover, you lose $150. Where you stand: Even

Of course, the idea is that by altering five spreads maybe one of the two games you initially lost would turn into a win. Say for example the Packers won 27-21. If you gave seven points that would be a loss, but by changing it to a five point spread it becomes a win. Suddenly you have gone 4-1 instead of 3-2 and are loving life.


Now that you have an understanding of how odds work, it is time to introduce parlays. Simply put, a parlay is when you want to make one wager that is contingent on making multiple correct picks. Because it is difficult to wager correctly on more than one game, you are given enticing odds to try and beat multiple point spreads. You must win all of the individual games in your parlay in order to cash a ticket. Odds vary depending upon where you make your bet, but they are generally in the ball park of:

i-heart-parlays2 Teams: 13/5 (+260)
3 Teams: 6/1 (+600)
4 Teams: 10/1 (+1000)
5 Teams: 20/1 (+2000)
6 Teams: 40/1 (+4000)
7 Teams: 75/1 (+75000)
8 Teams 150/1 (+150000)

What this means is if you bet a two team parlay, and both portions of it win, for your $10 wager you will get $26 or for a $100 bet you will make $260. If you bet on three games, and they all win, a $10 wager nets you $60. Although it is obvious, it should be noted that winning five or eight games without any flaws is incredibly difficult. While you may have a really strong feeling about one, or two, or three games, generally anything more than that is awfully difficult to win consistently and you are probably better off betting eight individual games than trying to bet one parlay and hoping that all of the results work out in your favor.


Much like parlays, teasers require you to be correct about more than one game in order to win money. A teaser essentially is a parlay where you are buying points in each of the games. By doing so, your team has a greater chance of covering the altered spread, however your odds are reduced. Popular teasers generally alter the point spread by six, six-and-a-half, or seven points. Because the spread is changed dramatically in each game, for a two team teaser your odds might be -110, -120, or -130, while a three team tease you gets odds like +180, +160, or +140 depending upon whether you take the extra six, six and a half, or seven points. A five team teaser would offer odds like +450, +400, or +350. An eight team teaser might be worth +15000, +12000, or +10000. Obviously, for eight teams 10-1 for a teaser is much different than 150-1 for a parlay, but you are getting seven extra points in each game, or 56 total points.


nfl-coin-tossIn addition to betting on what team is going to win, or if a team will cover a spread, you can bet on a wide range of propositions surrounding a game. From things as random as who will win the coin toss, the temperature of a game at kickoff time, and how long it will take to sing the national anthem, to how many yards the two teams will combine for, which team will score first, and how many yards or touchdowns an individual player might notch. Just about all prop bets are wagered by using odds not spreads. So if the over/under on number of yards Tom Brady throws for is 300, and more people think he will go over than under, you might have to take odds like -140 (bet $14 to win $10) in order to take the over, and could get +120 (bet $10 to win $12) by going with the under. You can also bet on portions of a game. There can be spreads or odds for what the score will be after one quarter or at halftime. All prop bets are best if you have knowledge or opinions on a particular facet of the game but not the game as a whole.


bttf-sports-almanacThroughout the season and even before the year begins you can wager on who will a division, conference, or the Super Bowl. You can bet who will be awarded Rookie of the Year, MVP, or Coach of the Year honors. Odds fluctuate as games are played and more knowledge is gained. You can also bet before the season begins on how many games each individual team will win. The over/under on the Broncos is 11.5. If you bet on the over Denver must win 12 games or more for you to win. If you bet on the under the Broncos must go 11-5 or worse in order for you to cash your ticket. These wagers can be really fun because you can bet something in August or September and follow your bet throughout an entire season. They also are valuable if there if a team or a player who you think is underrated or overrated. Before that squad starts out great and the sportsbook adjusts, you can lock-in your wager that they will surpass expectations before they get hot.