The growth of the sports betting industry continues to grow from day to day to year to year. That said while experienced sports bettors, handicappers and the individuals setting the lines for the sports betting industry knows what the + and – mean in sports betting, the average fan or someone who might just be entering the sports betting world may have no idea what the + and – are in sports betting.
Luckily for you, we are here to help you not only learn about that + and – but also help you get comfortable with them before you place your first or next sports bet.
The plus (+) and minus (-) symbols might be two of the most important aspects overall in all of sports betting and are two terms that you will see associated with for nearly every bet you look at from individual events such as boxing to team events such as the Super Bowl. When looking at a specific matchup the + can show up in various spots including the point spread for the matchup, the over/under as well as the money line. In addition, the + and – make it easy for anyone to know who the favorite is in the matchup and who the underdog is.
In simple terms a team that has a – next to the money line or point spread is the favorite. while a team that has a + next to them is the underdog
That said, we will look at an example of a possible sports bet and explain in more detail what the + and – in sports betting mean. Here is an example of sports betting line from Super Bowl 54 that took place between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
If you look above, you will see the + sign in front of +1.5 for the spread, the +112 for the money line and the +54 for total. In this case, the + sign showed on the same line as the San Francisco 49ers indicating the 49ers were the underdog in the matchup. You will also see the – sign in front of the -1.5 for the spread, the -128 for the money line and the -54 for the total. This indicated the Kansas City Chiefs were the favorite.
Now that said, we will take a look at each of the specific columns and provide a more in-depth perspective on the meaning of the + and – in sports betting.
+ / – Spread or Against the Spread
When looking at the + and the – located in front of the two numbers located within the spread column, this indicates the total number of points that will be added to the specific team’s total at the end of the game. In theory, if you select a team with a + in front of the spread total you will add that total of points to the final score.
Using this example, the 49ers will receive +1.5 points added to their final score total while the Chiefs will lose -1.5 points from their final score total. The final score of this contest was 31-20. Understanding you would add 1.5 points to the 49ers score their new total would have been 21.5 total points. If you would have elected to place a bet on the 49ers using the spread, you would have lost the bet. In this same example, if you placed a wager on the Chiefs to win you still would have won as the Chiefs final score would have been 29.5 total points.
Now for an explanation view, imagine if that would have been a +11.5 in front of the 49ers and a -11.5 in front of the Chiefs. If you selected the 49ers you would have finished with a total score of 31.5 points against the 31 points scored by the Chiefs, you would have won your bet. If you selected the Chiefs your new total would have been 19.5 points and you would have lost your sports bet.
That is how the + and the – effects the spread of a matchup.
+ / – Money Line in Sports Betting
When looking at the + and the – located in front of the two numbers located with the money line column, this can be a little confusing and is different from the spread line. The + sign located with the money line would indicate how much money you would win if you placed a $100 bet on that team to win the outcome. The – sign located within the money line would indicate you would have to place that specific amount to win just $100.
Typically, when looking at this that means that team with a – sign is the favorite to win the outcome and the number will be larger than $100. In some matchups the number could be as high as +1000 which would mean you would need to wager $1000 to win just $100.
Using this example, if you placed a wager a $100 wager for the 49ers to win this contest and they would have won the Super Bowl; your wager would have won you $112. However, if you wanted to win $100 by taking the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl you would have needed to place a $128 wager on the Chiefs.
Despite the + and – signs, when placing a wager on the money line this is not a guarantee these teams will win or lose. In addition, for some expert sports bettors they will look to an underdog line that will pay out higher that they like and take a gamble. For example, an underdog that may pay out +1500 on a $100 bet. This is very common during the March Madness NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament and something we will look at during the next Men’s Basketball Tournament.
That is how the + and the – effects the money line of a matchup.
+ / – Total (Over/Under) in Sports Betting
When looking at the + and the – located in front of the two numbers (on some sports book there may just be a +/- in front of the 54 and appear just once) located within the total column, this indicates the total number of points expected during this outcome. In theory if you place a wager on the total (over/under) for this outcome number with a + located in front of the two teams would need to exceed that total for you to win this wager. Meanwhile if you placed a wager on the total with a – this means you would need the two teams to score fewer than the total for you to win the wager.
Using this example, the total predicted for the contest between the 49ers and Chiefs was set at 54 total points. In addition to the total points, in parenthesis you will see -110 next to both the over and the under total. This just means you would have to place a $110 bet on either of those outcomes to win $100. The final score of this matchup during this matchup was 51 combined points. In this case if you wagered $110 on the under 54 total points your wager would have been successful while a wager on the over would have been unsuccessful.
However, if the total outcome would have been 55 total points you would have won the matchup. In this case if the final score was 54 points, the result of your wager would have been a push and you would receive your money back from the wager.
That is how the + and the – effects the total (over/under).
The + and the – is a big factor in sports betting and a symbol that you will see on every line set for any matchup no matter the contest.