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- Point Spread: Commonly called the line or spread, it is the number chosen by Las Vegas and overseas oddsmakers that they feel will get an equal number of people to wager on the underdog as on the favorite. The negative value (-10.5) means the team is favored by 10.5 points. The positive value (+10.5) indicates an underdog of 10.5 points. In this instance, the favored team must win by at least 11 points to cover the spread. The underdog team can lose by 10 points and still cover the spread.
- Total: Known as the over/under, common wisdom says it’s how many points oddsmakers feel will be scored in an NBA game by both teams combined. If you wagered under 197.5, you want the combined score of both teams to less than 197 (example 100-96).
- Money Line: Commonly used as a baseball and hockey wagering tool, basketball moneylines are popular for picking underdogs. There is no point spread linked to the moneyline. So the team you bet on only has to win the game, not win by a certain number of points. The negative value indicates the favorite, just like a point spread (-170) and the positive value means an underdog (+150). If you picture the number 100 sitting in the middle of these two values, moneylines are easier to comprehend.
- Futures: Betting on a future event (such as which team will win the NBA title) is called future betting. Oddsmakers will update future odds during the year, shortening the odds for good teams on hot streaks and lengthening odds for slumping teams with injury problems. Example: the NBA’s top team could be +170 to win the championship. This translates to a $100 wager paying out a $170 profit if that team wins. A lousy team might be +2000, making a $100 wager pay out a whopping $2,000 as a longshot.
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