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Sports Betting 101

Sports betting has skyrocketed across the country recently. As legalization has spread from state to state, it’s important to become familiar with the basics. At first glance, even for experienced DFS players, the sportsbooks may seem intimidating. However, we simply have to overcome a Sharp learning curve.

Explaining Odds

Some of the first terms overheard in sports betting reference “short” and “long” odds. A wager with short odds means that the occurrence is more likely. A short odds bet has a minus sign in front. Long odds mean the wager is less likely and has a plus sign in front.

The odds fluctuate a lot from game to game. However, consider that +100 odds indicate a true 50/50 bet. More often than not for the more popular sports, you will see spreads “more on them below” set at -110/-110 apiece. As a result, this additional -10 imposed on the bet or 10% goes to the house in terms of their rake.

Using +100 as a starting point, as odds become less likely they increase with the + sign so for example something with +200 odds pays out double your wager if it wins as opposed to the amount of your wager for a win, which you’d receive at +100.

Conversely, using +100 as the odds get shorter you would convert to a minus sign for -101 “rarely see this” or above. With rake involved, I rarely see anything between +100 and -108 or so as these sports book sites like to get their cut.

Moneylines and Totals

These are some of the simpler bets. Moneylines feature the odds of both teams in regard to winning a game. For the upcoming 2022-2023 AFC Championship Game, for example, the Kansas City Chiefs money line is +100 or even money. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals are favorites at -120, thus returning $181.33 on a Bengal win for every $100 wagered.

Totals are just as simple as they are set over or under regarding a specific game total. In the aforementioned AFC Championship Game, the total is currently set at over/under 47 at -110 apiece. If the final score were to end up 47 on the nose, the bet would be refunded as a “push” or “scratch”.


Spreads are some of the most popular bets out there. The reason why is often times money lines reflect big favorites to the point that there is little payout on them. Thus without spreads, bettors may be disincentivized from betting on some games.

The spread captures the difference between the two teams to try and uses the market to find the projected point differential of a game. Using the NFC Championship Game between the Eagles and 49ers for example, the Eagles are -145 money line favorites, thus returning $168.96 for every $100 wagered. The spread in the game is 2.5 points set at -110 thus returning $190.90 on a $100 bet. If I think the Eagles will win by at least three and “cover the spread”, I would rather bet on the spread than the money line here.

Much like if an exact total were landed on as described above, an exact spread can “push/scratch”. Let’s say the spread was three points between the Eagles and the 49ers and the Eagles won 27-24. The Eagles -3 Bet would “push” or “scratch”.

Prop Bets

Unlike the sports bets described above which focus on team output/result, most prop bets focus on individual players. You do have team prop bets as well, but they’re generally not quite as popular. Using the examples above one might ask if Pat Mahomes or Joe Burrow will individually throw for over or under 1.5 passing touchdowns. When making these sorts of determinations, the tools that can be found here at Win Daily under Projections can be extremely useful. Granted, these projections are DFS oriented but usually help to indicate strong or poor projected performance.


Sports Betting is a strange new world to many but it is going nowhere anytime soon. There will also be more sports betting FAQs/intro articles to help cover more complicated topics in the future. Of course, there will be questions that pop up from time to time. The Win Daily staff is around to help with any specific advice. Our pros can be found in our Win Daily Discord chat. For a variety of ways to sign up for Win Daily “including free membership” be sure to sign up HERE.