When visiting Las Vegas and looking to place a wager on a sporting event, there’s some things to consider and basic etiquette to follow before finding the ticket window at a sportsbook. Knowing these simple guidelines can make your sports betting experience go as smoothly as possible for you, and get you in and out in time to find a nice place to watch your game.
For starters, you don’t want to wait till you’re at the window to start figuring out your wager. Show some common courtesy to the teller at the window and the people waiting behind you, and be prepared by time it’s your turn with the sportsbook teller at the window.
Beyond basic common sense of being prepared and being courteous, you should also understand what you’re betting on and how the odds read on the sportsbook board.
For example, a sportsbook’s betting board may display a game like this:
365 Ravens +160
367 Patriots -3.5 -200
Based on that game, in order to bet on the Patriots using the point spread, you’ll be giving up 3.5 points; in other words, they must win the game by 4 or more points in order for you to win your wager. If you decide to take the Ravens using the point spread then you’ll be “taking the points.” These kind of standard point spread bets pay 11/10; so you bet $11 to win $10, or $110 to win $100, and so on.
The difference between the wager and the payout is what is known as the vigorish, or “juice.” So if you place $110 on the Ravens +3.5 to win $100, then that extra $10 is considered the vigorish which is paid to the casino as a form of commission for taking your action on the game. The casinos main goal is to have an equal amount of money on each side of the sporting event, that way then winning and losing bets cancel each other out, and they’re left with the vigorish as their profit. In order to encourage equal action on both teams in a game, they will move the point spread to influence betting trends and get to as close as even action as they can.
If you’d like to bet on the moneyline, then considering which team you pick will determine the payout. Using our example above, if you picks the Patriots moneyline, that means you’re simply picking them to win the game outright. The odds for that are displayed as -200, meaning you’ll have to bet $200 to win $100. It’s a bad payout because the oddsmakers have determined that the Patriots are the favorites and should win the game. However, if you pick the Ravens, you can bet $100 to win $160, which is determined by the odds of +160.
Having a basic understanding of the common etiquette and knowing how to read the board can be the difference between an enjoyable time at the sportsbook, or a forgettable one. Use these simple lessons and make your next trip to the sportsbook at a casino a profitable one.