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A Detailed Guide to Betting Odds and Over/Unders in Major Sports (Sports Betting)

Understanding sports betting lines and how to read odds can be confusing at first. Let's take a deeper dive into some key terms and examples for baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and soccer odds.

Key Betting Terms

Moneyline odds - These are the odds for picking the outright winner in a game or match, regardless of margin.

Point spreads - The spread sets a margin of victory needed to "cover the spread." Favored teams must win by more than the spread. Underdogs can lose by less than the spread and still cover.

Over/under - This is a bet on whether the total points/runs/goals scored will go over or under a set number.

Juice or vigorish - The commission or cut the sportsbook takes on each bet. Typically -110 odds means a $110 bet is needed to profit $100.


Moneyline odds show how much you need to bet to win $100. Negative odds indicate the favorite. Positive odds are for underdogs.

  • Boston Red Sox -150

  • New York Yankees +130

Here the Red Sox are favored. A $150 bet profits $100 if they win. The Yankees are underdogs, so a $100 bet profits $130 if they win.

Run line bets add a spread of 1.5 runs. The favorite must win by 2+ runs to cover.

Over/under bets are typically set around 8-10 runs. You bet whether the total runs will exceed or fall below the set number.


Common basketball bets:

  • Moneylines

  • Point spreads

  • Over/under on total points scored


  • Los Angeles Lakers -5 (-110)

  • Boston Celtics +5 (-110)

  • Over/under: 210 points

The Lakers must win by more than 5 points to cover the spread. The Celtics can lose by less than 5 and cover. Bet the over if you think the total score will exceed 210 points.


Typical football bets:

  • Point spreads

  • Moneylines

  • Over/under on total points


  • Kansas City Chiefs -3 (-115)

  • Philadelphia Eagles +3 (-105)

  • Over/under: 48 points

Chiefs must win by more than 3 points to cover the spread. Eagles can lose by 2 or less to cover. The over hits if the teams combine for 49+ points.


Hockey betting includes:

  • Moneylines

  • Puck lines (point spread of 1.5 goals)

  • Over/under total goals scored


  • Tampa Bay Lightning -1.5 (-125)

  • Dallas Stars +1.5 (+105)

  • Over/under: 6 goals

Tampa must win by 2+ goals to cover the puck line. Dallas can lose by 1 goal or win outright and cover. Bet the over if you think 7 or more total goals will be scored.


Common soccer bets:

  • Moneylines

  • Goal spreads

  • Over/under on total goals


  • Liverpool FC -1 (-130)

  • Manchester United +1 (+110)

  • Over/under: 2.5 goals

Liverpool must win by 2 or more goals to cover the spread. Man United can lose by 1 goal or win outright and cover. The over hits if 3+ total goals are scored. Now you have a deeper understanding of how to read betting odds and lines for major sports! This info will help you bet smarter (or at least understand a conversation).


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