Vegas Sports Betting Odds Explained

Before you can start wagering on sports, you first need to have Vegas sports betting odds explained. This first concept that we want new sports bettors to understand is that the term “Vegas sports betting odds” is universal. Many would argue that Nevada is not only the epicenter of sports betting in the United States, but all over the world. As such, when you hear about Vegas sports betting odds they apply to all sportsbooks, not just those in Nevada. No matter if you visit Delaware, the UK, or one of the dozens of legal sports betting sites, the odds will be modeled after those in Vegas.

Understanding the various sports betting odds in Vegas can seem intimidating at first, but with a little practice you will come to realize how simple they really are. After you get familiar with the different formats, you can start placing bets and be well on the way to making profits. To learn more about the ways that you can wager, as well as have Vegas sports betting odds explained more thoroughly, just continue reading through our sections below.

How To Read Vegas Sports Betting Odds

Vegas Sports Betting Odds ExplainedAs you join different online sportsbooks and start to shop lines, it will become increasingly important to understand how to read Vegas sports betting odds. Depending on where the offshore sports betting site is licensed, they may display their odds in any of three different formats – American, Fractional, or Decimal. Learning all of the formats will broaden the range of online sportsbooks that you can use to bet on sporting events.

American Betting Odds

Of all the Vegas sports betting odds explained in our guide, American betting odds are the most common. There will be a designated favorite (-) and an underdog (+). When you bet on the favorite, the odds represent how much you will have to spend in order to make $100 profit. When you bet on the underdog, the odds display how much profit you will win on a $100 wager. Take a look at the example below:

  • Chicago Cubs (-182) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (+157)

If you bet on the Chicago Cubs, you will have to risk $182 in order to win $100. Altogether, you would receive $282 on a winning bet. A $100 bet on the Philadelphia Phillies would win $157, so with your original stake plus winnings your payout would be $257. You will frequently find American odds at sportsbooks like that cater to U.S. sports bettors.

Fractional Betting Odds

Fractional betting odds make it easy to calculate your win/risk ratio. The number on the left indicates how much your wager will yield, while the number on the right is the amount that you will have to risk.

  • New England Patriots (4/6) vs. Detroit Lions (13/10)

Let’s say you bet on the New England Patriots. You would win $4 for every $6 wagered, meaning you would have to risk $150 to win $100. If you bet on the Detroit Lions, you would win $13 for every $100 wagered. If you were to risk $100, you would potentially win $130. With fractional odds, if the fraction is less than one you will have to risk more than you will win. If the fraction is over 1, you can win more than the amount risked.

Decimal Betting Odds

Decimal betting odds are least common type of Vegas sports betting odds explained on our page. These odds are commonly seen in Europe and Australia, but it is still beneficial to become familiar with the format. Decimal odds are very straightforward, with the decimal representing your total return on a winning wager.

For example, let’s say that Real Madrid had 4.50 odds to win the UEFA Champions League outright and you bet $100. If you win, your total return would be $450 (4.5 X $100).

Maybe you want to bet on the Boston Celtics winning the NBA Atlantic Division at 1.18 betting odds. If you bet $100, your total winnings would be $118 (1.18 X $100).

It is important to know that the breakeven odds are 2.0, meaning your net profit will equal your stake. If you have decimal odds below 2.0, your potential win amount will be less than your stake. If the decimal odds are above 2.0, your potential net profit will be more than your risk.

What To Bet On At Vegas Sportsbooks

With Vegas sports betting odds explained, you should feel comfortable placing bets at the sportsbook of your choice. You can walk up to the ticket counter at the Bellagio Sportsbook or you can join an online sports betting site. Either way, you will be able to bet on a wide variety of sports and place all sorts of wagers. You can bet on football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, tennis, golf, and other popular sports. At legal sports betting sites, you will actually have even more betting options. You can wager on lesser known markets such as eSports, entertainment, virtual sports, and politics.

How To Wager On Vegas Sports Betting Odds

Now that you are familiar with the Vegas sports betting odds explained on this site, you can start placing wagers at sportsbooks. Whether online or in person, you will see that sportsbooks accept both straight and exotic wager types. Though there are various bet types that you can choose from, we will get you started by walking you through some of the most common wager types for sports betting.


Moneyline bets are the most straightforward wagers that you make. Common across all sports, a moneyline bet is simply a wager on who you think will win the event outright. There are no point spreads or other considerations that have to be made. Just wager on the underdog or favorite and hope that your bet is a winner.

Point Spreads

Point spreads are popular for most of the main sports, such as football and basketball. Bookmakers will assign a certain number of points that must be “covered” by each team in order to attract equal action on both sides. In order for the favorite to cover, they must win the game by more than the spread amount. For the underdog to cover the spread, they must either win outright or lose by less than the spread. Take the following example of a point spread:

  • Green Bay Packers +3
  • Denver Broncos -3

If you are betting the point spread on the Green Bay Packers, the team would cover the spread as long as they do not lose by 4 or more points. This would also be a winning bet if the Packers won the game outright. If you are betting on the Denver Broncos, the team would have to win by 4 or more points to cover the spread.


Totals are also known as the over/under, and you will soon understand why. The oddsmaker will set a total number of combined points/runs for the event, and you will wager on if the actual total will be over or under this amount. Here is an example of a totals bet:

  • Seattle Mariners Ov 9
  • New York Yankees Un 9

If you think the game will go over 9 total runs, bet on the Seattle Mariners. If you believe the game will go under 9 total runs, you can wager on the New York Yankees. You will also see prop bets posted with over/unders.

Regular Season Wins - Golden State Warriors

  • Over 40 ½ wins
  • Under 40 ½ wins

Totals are very simple to understand and are available on nearly every sport. In football, you will bet on the over/under of total points scored, in hockey you will wager on how many goals both teams score, and in MMA you bet on the over/under of rounds.

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