Bookie Beater Academy

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Sports Betting For Rookies Part 1 – Reading Odds

In our other videos we go into detail about subjects such as sports betting as an investment, secrets the sportsbooks don’t want you to know and the various bankroll management strategies you can employ.

All of these are absolutely essential if you want to be one of the 8% of sports bettors that makes long term profit. However, if you are new to sports betting you need to master the basics before considering these more advanced subjects.  

With that in mind we have put this series of videos that cover the basics of sports betting, sports betting 101 if you like.  

Today we are looking at reading the odds: 

The first time you glance at the odds it can be both baffling and off putting. There are a lot of numbers on the board from spreads to money lines and there are seemingly more and more betting options being added every week.  

While the rest of the world works in decimal or most complicated of all fractional odds, here in the US we employ, appropriately, the American system which is actually pretty user friendly. 

The American system employs either a plus or minus sign in front of a minimum of 3 figures. 

The – and + on a sports betting line indicates both your prospective payout and whether you’re betting on the favorite or the underdog.  

Negative numbers denote the favorite, with the number itself indicating the amount you would have to wager in order to win $100. 

Positive numbers indicate the underdog with the number indicating how much you would win if you placed a bet of $100 

Let’s look at a couple of examples: 


Golden State -140

New York Knicks +120

In this example you would need to wager $140 on the Warriors to win $100 on top of your original wager.  

Conversely if you bet $100 on the Knicks and they won you would win $110. 

This doesn’t mean of course that this is the actual likelihood of course.  

The sports books employ ‘odds makers’ who make their assessment based on their own set of criteria and sadly sometimes they manipulate these odds to increase the juice (see secrets video) or to encourage more people to take that option for all manner of reasons, all of which come back to maximizing their profit. 

It also doesn’t mean you need to bet $100, as we discuss at length in our bankroll management videos your unit or bet size should be based on the size of your roll and the system you are using.  

If, for instance, your unit size is $20 and you backed Golden State you would use the following formula to calculate your payout. 

140 = 20 

100 x

To find out x simply cross multiply 100 x 20 = 2000 and divide by 140 

So if you bet $20 on Golden State your return would be $14.29 PLUS YOUR ORIGINAL STAKE so $34.29 for a $20 wager 

If you back the underdog the equation looks like this 

100 = 20 

120 x

Your return is therefore 120 x 20 = 2400 / 100 = $24 so $24 profit and a total return of $42 including your original stake