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Once you understand the terminology involved with betting US Sports, then it becomes just as simple as betting on a game in the Premier League. However, that terminology can be very confusing to new US Sports bettors at first, and it’s also important to understand how the pricing and the lines work to help give you an advantage over the bookmaker.
Let’s start at the top by explaining how a US Sports game bet will go down. Firstly, like any sport, you’ll have your participants. For example: New England Patriots are playing the Miami Dolphins. The main US markets on offer will be Money line, Point Spread/Line and the Total.Money line is not at all complicated, and it simply relates to the win market. If you bet a team on the money line, you are betting on a team to win. The key difference between betting a European team sport (where you’ll bet on a 3 way market) is that US Sports Money lines only go two ways.Since every US Sport has the option of the game going in to Overtime, or what we would call Extra Time, the Money line is only a two way option. There is the option to use the additional 3 way money line, which is essentially our 3 way regular time market, but the risk in US Sports is much, much higher and reflected in the pricing of the markets. So, we know the traditional money line isn’t as big and scary as it sounds, it’s simply betting on a team to win by any method, during regular time or overtime.
Next we come to the Point Spread/Line – this essentially works exactly the same as an Asian Handicap would if you were betting on Football. If you’re betting on a Baseball game, this market will be referred to as the Run Line. If you’re betting on an Ice Hockey game, the market will be referred to as the Puck Line. In Baseball you score runs, in Hockey you score with the Puck, and neglecting to use Points Spread comes from the much lower scoring margins you can expect in those sports.For Basketball and American Football, the line is referred to as the Points Spread. As I’ve already said, it’s basically the same as picking an Asian Handicap in Football, with one of the differences being that US Sports work with much higher scoring margins and point’s total. A -1.00 handicap in ‘soccer’ is common; in American football and basketball, -10.00 isn’t uncommon.
The high point spread in these US sports is easily explained by the scoring rules. In football a goal is a goal, but in American football a touchdown is potentially worth 7 points. The way in which points spread works is very different to an Asian Handicap, however. The bookmakers will price a game by the points spread and not the price. For example: if a Football Asian Handicap market takes a high number of bets, the handicap may stay the same but the price may shift down from evens to 1.8, say.In American Football or Basketball, the price will pretty much never move from 1.9. The points spread odds will open at 1.9 for both teams involved and will stay there for the most part, usually closing at 1.9 also.
So why is this?
The bookmakers who work with US Sports work very carefully to create the points spread line for each game. They’re very good at it, and they’re usually not far off. If you begin to bet on US Sports, the amount of times you’ll see a -10 line void or a -10.5 line lose by half a point is incredible.If the line opens with the Patriots as -10 point favourites, the price on their line will stay at 1.90 throughout betting, no whatever how much of a pounding it takes from the betting public. What will move, however, is the line itself.If a market see’s a high number of bets on an American Football match, the odds on the Patriots to cover the points spread will stay fixed at 1.90, but the points spread line may shift from -10 to -11 to reflect the money that has been placed on them.The Points total works in the same way in American Football. It’s like an Overs/Unders market in Football, but the same as the points spread, the two markets will stay priced at 1.9 throughout and the points total may move from 35 to 36 or 36.5 if there have been a lot of backing for it.
Basketball works exactly the same way, using the Money line, Points Spread and Total. If the Miami Heat opens at -13 point favourites at home to the Hornets who are +13 underdogs, the odds on this will likely 1.9 for both teams throughout, but if the Heat come under particularly heavy backing, the line may shift up to -14 or -15 to give the bookmakers some extra protection. The same logic applies for the total points as with an American Football game, but obviously the NBA works more with margins like 180-220 points for the total.
Baseball and Ice Hockey are different and take far less explanation when it comes to the Total and the Money Line. This is because they work too similarly to Football to provide any confusion.
The Money line is still the two way option that covers you going in to ‘Over Time’, but there’s a 3 way option with increased odds also. The money line odds are the main form of betting in Baseball and Hockey, as opposed to Points Spread betting in American Football and Basketball.The odds also shift more. The two way market is essentially the same as the Draw No Bet market (although there’s no option to draw in US Sport) and the odds are likely to shift all day long depending on who is being backed.
The Totals line is also the same. The bookmakers will very carefully decide where the line opens in Baseball and Hockey. In Baseball, the game between the Rangers and the Jays may be predicted as a high scoring affair, so the line may open at over or under 11.5 runs. For the Nationals against the Rockies, it may open at 8.5. Either way, the Total line will often stay the same and more like in European Football betting, the odds will be the thing to shift.The same goes for Hockey. Whether the lines are 3.5 goals or 7.5 goals on a game, that odds will be the thing to shift depending on what backing they receive.
Hopefully this helps explain the US markets in a bit more detail, and should help you understand the way some of our NFL/NBA/NHL/MLB experts work here at Bet Advisor