Sports betting has a documented history that extends back into ancient times, when gentlemen of high stature found refined leisure in placing bets on events such as horse races and gladiatorial competition. Today, tourists and locals alike can place bets at one of Las Vegas’ multitude of sports and race booking venues, winning billions each year. There are countless opportunities to enjoy the thrill of a wager as part of your Vegas experience, before placing a bet it’s important to understand the different betting types. It can also be helpful to get inside information from sources such as

Point Spread Bets

Point spread bets are popularly used with sports such as football, basketball, baseball and hockey. With a point spread bet, a team that is less likely to win against a favored team will be given a point advantage to be added to their final score. This team is known as the underdog, and the point advantage, called the spread, is designed to encourage betting on both sides.

When the final score of the game is determined, the spread is added to the score of the underdog or subtracted from the score of the favored team for the purposes of the bet. If the spread with the wagered team’s actual score total more than their opponent, the bet is won. Spread amounts may differ slightly from venue to venue, and so some bookmakers can provide better odds of winning from event to event.

Over/Under Bets

Over/under bets are a prediction of the total final score between the two teams in a game, and the bet is that the teams will combine to exceed or fall short of the projected total. Games expected to be high-scoring offensive affairs are attractive prospects for “over” bets, while matchups that may be more defense-oriented can be taken advantage of with an “under” bet.

Money Line Bets

Money line bets are expressed as a positive or negative number, usually in the hundreds. This type of bet is used with Vegas’ famous array of boxing and MMA events as well as in team sports betting, and is based on which competitor will come out victorious with no regard for point spreads. The plus or minus figures indicate the required amount to win $100 on the wager. A bet on a favored individual or team will typically pay off at a ratio of less than 1 to 1 while a bet on an underdog will deliver a bigger payout.

Parlays/Teaser Bets

Parlay and teaser bets link separate events together within the same game or sport. In order to win a parlay or teaser bet, all the tenets of the bet must be satisfied, as a single incorrect wager within the larger bet means the bet is lost. For example, a team may have to win the game and score a certain number of points in order to pay out in a parlay bet. Parlay bets often eliminate the possibility of a tie or “push” by using half-points in the projected final score, point spread or both.

Teaser bets are similar, but involve different games, typically within the same sport. Teaser bets can be made involving as few as two or three games or as many as 20, and each game added to the teaser increases the payout ratio. For example, a two-team teaser may pay out at a 20:5 ratio while a ten-team teaser may reward a $20 wager with a payout of hundreds.

Prop Bets

Prop bets can be made covering a range of events in sports that may or may not take place within the game, and may even occur outside of sports. Common prop bets include which team will win an opening coin toss, who will score the first points or the player that will be the most valuable. Non-sports related prop bets can involve award show winners and a nearly endless range of other events. Prop bets are usually expressed as odds, and each dollar wagered will pay out at the ratio listed.