It's been said that "Sports Betting" started in the 18th century and the main focus was on horse racing. Fast forward 200-plus years and bettors can wager on a wide array of sporting events, with the most popular being football, basketball, soccer and the aforementioned horses. Bettors were able to place wagers through illegal bookmakers, who were better known as "bookies."
In the late 1940s, Nevada casinos were able to legally accept bets on both horse racing and professional sports. The United Kingdom started taking legal sport bets in the early 1960s. The online or Internet sportsbooks started popping up in the early 1990s. Since then, there have been hundreds of sportsbooks that provide odds and accept wagers on both horse racing and sports via the Internet. It is estimated that millions of americans wager approximately 380 billion dollars each year.
Types of Sports Betting Wagers
Straight Bets with a Point-Spread
Bettors must choose a team that will WIN by more than the point-spread or LOSE by less than the point-spread. The point-spread or odds are created by oddsmakers and fluctuate based on the action received at each sportsbook. Straight wagers are common in football and basketball.
Straight Bets with a Money-Line
Bettors must choose a team that will be the outright winner of the game or event. No point-spread is involved in these wagers but sportsbooks do adjust the price of the money-line based on the action received.
New York Yankees -200
Atlanta Braves +180
The Yankees are the favorites in the above example. To bet on New York, a bettor would risk $200 to win $100. If you bet on the underdog, Atlanta, a bettor would risk $100 to win $180. Money-line bets are common in baseball, hockey and soccer.
Bettors must choose as few as two teams and they need both selections to win for your parlay wager to be considered a WIN. Some sportsbooks will take up to 20-team parlays but the most common parlay wagers are 2, 3 and 4-team parlays. Bettors can use both Straight and Money-Line selections in a parlay. Since it's harder to win more than one selections, bettors will receive a higher payout based on the number of selections chosen.
Payouts for Parlays
2-Team Parlay: 13/5
3-Team Parlay: 6/1
4-Team Parlay: 10/1
5-Team Parlay: 20/1
6-Team Parlay: 40/1
7-Team Parlay: 75/1
8-Team Parlay: 150/1
This wager is only available for basketball and football. Similar to parlays, bettors must make at least two selections and they must win both for the Teaser to WIN. Along with those differences, bettors are allowed to modify the point-spread in their favor. The most popular teasers are two and three-team teasers. In football, most sportsbooks bettors can move the line from 6, 6.5, 7, 9 or 10 points, but the payoffs are lower with each additional half-point or points gained. Basketball teasers generally run from 4 to 6 points.
Example - 9-Point Three Team Teaser
Three teams must be selected to complete this wager and all three must win for the Teaser. The original point-spread (listed in parenthesis) is modified to the teaser spread. In the event of a tie, some sportsbooks still payout but at a lower rate.
Green Bay -10 to Green Bay -1
Chicago -3 to Chicago +6
Dallas -7 to Dallas +2
Official Sports Betting Rules
If a game or an event isn't completed due to weather or other reasons, sportsbooks follow industry standards and pay out a wager based on the below:
Football: A game is considered official after 55 minutes of play.
Basketball: NBA games are considered official after 43 minutes of play while college basketball games require 35 minutes of play.
Baseball: All regular season games are considered official after 5 innings of play (4½ if the home team is winning). Postseason games are not official until a winner is declared. If a playoff game begins then is delayed or suspended to a later day, all wagers will have action with the final score result on that date.
Hockey: A game is considered official after 55 minutes of play.