Understanding Betting Odds At New York Sportsbooks
One of the biggest impediments preventing would-be sports betting enthusiasts from getting into the hobby is the difficulty with which new players can sometimes have understanding betting odds at New York sportsbooks. That’s where this quick and easy guide to reading betting odds comes in. We designed it to serve as a convenient reference point for new and returning bettors that want to know, once and for all, just what all the numbers and symbols on an oddsboard really mean and how to make smart bets using what you know.
The information on how to read betting odds at online and brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, though for now there is no legal option to bet on sports at a physical location in the Empire State, so you’ll have to your betting at a legal offshore sportsbook site. Fortunately, the legal choice is not only the only one but also the best choice as well.
The key to understanding betting odds at New York sportsbooks is this: at the most basic level, the odds indicate the relative chances of the two sides in a matchup to win a game or achieve a certain metric. Though there are several different systems used to write sports betting odds, New York-friendly sportsbooks display wagers using American Odds (also known as moneyline odds) whereas sportsbooks that primarily serve the European market use Fractional Odds or Decimal Odds. Since our focus is on understanding betting odds at New York sportsbooks, we will focus on explaining betting odds in the American or moneyline odds system.
Unlike the other systems used elsewhere in the world, American odds represent the chances of the favorite and the underdog in terms of the money needed to be risked in order to win increments (also known as “units”) of $100. Though we will look at specific examples a little while later, for now it’s enough to understand moneyline odds as the favorite (that is, the team or athlete more like the win or outcome more likely to occur) typically having odds beginning with a minus sign ( - ), whereas the underdog (the party less likely to win or the outcome less likely to happen) will have odds beginning with a plus sign (+).
What this means in practice is that the odds on the favorite, because they are more likely to pay out, are more disadvantageous to the bettor in the event of a win. On the other hand, the odds on the underdog will pay out more on a winning bet because of the reduced likelihood of the underdog winning in a given matchup.
Most New York sportsbooks start listing favorite odds at -110, meaning a bettor must risk $110 in order to win another $100, and that extra $10 is what is known as the “juice” – you can think of it as a 10 percent commission paid to the sportsbook for brokering the betting line. Odds on the favorite (also known as the “chalk” in gambler jargon) are more straightforward in that they start listing at +110 and move up from there, meaning a bettor will risk $100 and then win another $110 on top of that. Oddsmakers (colloquially referred to as “bookies”) list odds this way for two reasons: first, they want to make sure they make a profit and because they want to get action on both sides of the bet, so they try to list odds that are appealing for both the favorite and the underdog.
We’ve already talked extensively about how to read betting odds at New York sportsbooks in terms of the mechanics of moneyline odds, but in order to gain a really good understanding of odds it will probably help to look at a few different examples of real-world betting lines you are likely to encounter at New York-friendly sportsbooks.
First, if the Yankees are heavily favored to win a hypothetical game over the Red Sox, the bookies at SportsBetting.ag or 5Dimes.eu might list odds of -270 on New York to win the game outright while listing Boston with odds of +250. Using what we know about how moneyline odds work, that means a bet on the Yankees would pay out a total of $370 because it was necessary to risk $270 in order to win another $100. Conversely, if was Boston was favored to win with odds of -200 and the Yankees were the underdogs with odds of +200, a winning bet on New York would pay out a total of $300 because it was only necessary to wager $100 in order to win a profit of $200.
One of the best tips for smart betting, especially now that you’re on track to understanding betting odds at New York sportsbooks, is to always shop around for the most favorable odds possible. Price shopping for the best betting odds you can find is easily achievable if you use multiple sports betting accounts, as different online sportsbooks like SportsBetting, BetOnline and 5Dimes, can all reasonably be expected to handicap the same sporting event differently. There’s nothing wrong with having an account at each of these sites, and in fact most bettors that prove to be successful over the long term have more than one sports betting account.
There are numerous benefits to price shopping and having multiple sportsbook accounts, the most obvious is that you’ll have access to a wider variety of betting lines at one time. That way you can hedge your bets against an unwanted outcome, but you can also spread out your winnings across multiple sportsbook sites, which will enable you to avoid the dreaded “winners’ odds.”
New York sportsbooks operating online may not have the overhead of a brick-and-mortar sportsbook, but they are still businesses and they want to make money – ergo, they won’t hesitate to start giving a repeatedly successful bettor somewhat weaker odds. You will know these odds are weaker, given that you now know how to read betting odds, but be aware that the sportsbooks will do this in an effort to stop you from cutting into their profits too badly when you pick winners every week!
Another tip, and one that absolutely must be taken seriously, is to avoid getting in over your head, and understanding betting odds will help you tremendously in this regard. The best way to do this is not to overextend yourself by betting more than you should and by keeping close tabs on your bankroll, or the funds you have available for placing wagers. Never bet more than you can afford to lose, and start off betting small, working your way up until your winnings are easily paying dividends instead of just getting your money back.
Finally, always pay attention to matchups and do your research on the teams or players involved in a bet. One of the worst ways to mess up when placing bets at New York sportsbooks is to always bet on your favorite team or athletes even when they aren’t having a good year or even if they find themselves up against an opponent that’s too tough for them to realistically win. In that case, it’s better to sit the bet out rather than blow your hard-won money just to say you “supported your team.” Newsflash: there is no such thing as luck – there is only probability and quantifiable uncertainty, and understanding how to read betting odds will help you determine what level of uncertainty you’re dealing with.
Though we’ve primarily concerned ourselves with understanding betting odds using the moneyline system, there are other varieties of betting odds available at New York sportsbooks. Other popular options for betting on the Yankees, the Jets, Knicks or the Islanders include betting the spread and totals (or under/over betting), as well as team and player-based proposition bets (also known as “props” for short). Additionally, now that we are well and truly in the age of the internet and the smartphone revolution, there is even the option to use your phone or tablet for mobile sports betting or live betting, which is also known as “in-game betting.”
For a more thorough explanation of betting odds at New York sportsbooks, head over to the respective pages on those different methods of wagering.