Basic Sports Betting: Money Lines and Point Spreads
In most sports, as you probably know, there are two ways of betting on your preferred team. The point spread is the amount of points the favored team needs to win by for a bet on that team to win. For example if Team A is a 7 point favorite over Team B, a bet on Team B would win if Team B won or lost by less than 7. The money line works more like a traditional odds bet. A money line might show a team favored like this: Team A +140/-260 Team B. This means that Team B is a favorite, and to win with Team B you must put up $260 to win $100. Team A is the underdog and to win with them you can put up $100 to win $140.
Problems with Soccer Sports Betting
The low scoring nature of soccer presents some problems for traditional methods of betting. Due to the low goal differential of many games, a goal spread is not practical. Even a team that is far superior to another may win by only one goal, and games often end in ties. This propensity to end in a tie also creates problems for the money line, as in most circumstances ties do not pay either side.
Solution to Sports Betting on European Football
To solve this problem, bookmakers offer a modified money line to soccer bettors. This works exactly like a traditional money line except that unlike money lines in other sports, there is a draw option. For example, a line might read: Manchester United -120 Draw +110 Arsenal +140. This would mean that to bet on Manchester United you would have to put up $100 to win $120. To bet on Arsenal you would put up $100 to win $140, and to bet the draw, you would put up $100 to win $110. Since there is a draw option, bets on either team do not push in the event of a tie as they do in other sports. If the team you bet on does not win outright, you lose.