What Is The + In Sports Betting

You may have often seen it used on betting sites but what is the + in sports betting? It is primarily used in odds but can be used in other ways...

what is the + in sports betting
What Is The + In Sports Betting

If you are a newbie in sports betting, one of the most common symbols you may see around is a plus (+) symbol, along with a minus (-) symbol. These are primarily used in odds but can be used in different ways and forms.

How do they work? How important is it to understand what is the + in sports betting? Here are the things you need to know.

What Does + and - Mean in Sportsbook Sites

The use of the plus and minus signs can either denote a point spread or betting odds. Usually, the minus sign is to indicate who the favorite is, and the plus sign tells you who the underdog is in a game.

When it comes to point spread odds, the same also applies, with the symbols denoting who the favorite and the underdog is. To make the line even, the favorite will be posted to win minus a certain number of points and the underdog will be posted to win plus a certain number of points. Depending on the type of odds you have (based on your region or the sports you are betting on), you'll then see the potential profit you can make out of any wager.

Understanding + and - on Point Spreads

A plus sign over a minus sign

In point spreads, the plus and minus signs also tell you who the favorite and the underdog is - however, there is more to it than showing who the favorite and underdog is.

To better understand this, take a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers as an example, with a line of:

Cowboys: -7 @ 1.91

Packers: +7 @ 1.91

As the favorite, a winning bet for the Cowboys means they have won the game with more than a seven-point difference in score. On the other hand, a winning bet on the Packers means they either win outright or they lose by no more than 7 points difference.

However, most of the time, you will notice that bookies offer point spread odds in decimals, such as 6.5. This is to prevent a push from happening. A push happens when the favorites win exactly by the number given in the odds or when the underdog loses for exactly how much the odds have told you.

In case of a push, the best would then be returned to the players with no vigorish collected by the bookies.

Understanding + and - on Moneyline

A moneyline bet is the simplest and most straightforward bet that you can make. This type of bet is also one of the most common go-to wagers for newbies, casuals, or those just looking to bet for some quick fun.

Compared to point spread betting, a moneyline bet is all about who wins and nothing more. Even totals seem complicated when comparing either total and spread wagers. There are no conditions that need to satisfy as long as the team you wagered for wins the game.

To better understand how the plus and minus sign works in a moneyline bet, take a game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Indianapolis Colts, where the odds are:

Colts (+235)

Ravens (-300)

Since the moneyline is based on a 100 base value, imagine placing a $100 bet on the Colts, which is the underdog team in the example. If the underdog Colts win, you get a payout of $335, which is the amount of the odds plus the amount wagered. On the other hand, a bettor would need to make a $300 wager on the favorite Ravens to make a profit of $100.

Usually, the underdogs are given a higher profit per unit when it comes to payout as they are considered to have a lower probability of winning as compared to the favorites.

Understanding + and - on Prop Odds

A prop bet, which is short for proposition bet, is a type of wager in sports betting that do not rely on the final score or result of the game. Rather, prop bets are all about the probabilities of certain things happening during the match (thus its name).

Some prop bets include a bet on which team will score first, total passing yards in American football, a first home run (in baseball), or even the coin toss result.

Take for example a game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The odds for the coin toss result could be:

Heads -103

Tails -103

Notice how there is no favorite nor underdog in this example, as the probability of heads or tails, is equal. Most prop bets are on an even line but depending on the bookie, some prop bets may still include a favorite and an underdog option.

The different ways the + sign is used in sports betting
The different ways the + sign is used in sports betting

What is the + in Sports Betting: FAQ

Here are some most commonly asked questions and answers about the + sign in sports betting:

What are + and - in sports betting? 

These are symbols used to denote who the favorite and the underdog is. Favorites are often denoted with a minus (-) sign and have a lesser payout per unit, while the underdogs are denoted with a plus (+ sign with higher payouts per unit.

What are Moneyline parlays?

A moneyline parlay is a moneyline bet combined with another type of bet, usually point spread. In this scenario, you will only win the wager if both conditions are satisfied--that is, your chosen team wins and also covers the point spread given by the odds.

Are there live betting with point spread wagers? 

Some bookmakers will offer live betting with point spread wagers. Since live betting odds change according to the plays in each game, point spread odds can change, too. A favorite with a point spread odds of -1.5 may later become the underdog with point spread odds of +9, depending on how the game will progress.

Are + and - signs used in prop bets? 

The + and - signs are used in prop bets but the bookmakers often set the line so there is no clear favorite. However, some bookies can decide to add favorite and underdog options on a prop bet if they so wish.

Can you convert Moneyline odds to decimal odds? 

You can convert American-style moneyline odds to decimal odds To do this on the positive odds, simply divide the American odds by 100 and add one to the result. For negative odds, just divide 100 by the American odds and subtract the result from 1.

Knowing what the + and - symbols mean in sports betting is just one of the many things you need to understand to become a strategic punter. Still, it's a step to becoming the sharp bettor you should aim to be.

This article was published on December 30, 2021, and last updated on July 5, 2022.