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Sports gambling: How does it work?

25th August, 20:04

The college football season is about to kickoff, which means an avalanche of betting lines will be released each week. Be sure to not only find the point spreads for all of the Ohio State Buckeyes games here at Land-Grant Holy Land once they are realized on Sundays, but make sure to check back on Thursdays and Fridays, where I give my predictions for all of the big national games of the week, followed by Ohio State and the rest of the Big Ten action for the weekend.

While many out there are familiar with how betting on college football works, there may be some who are still trying to become familiar with the terminology. After the Supreme Court allowed states to legalize sports betting last year, more and more people are able to put some of their coin down on college football games, but they might be confused or intimidated by what all of the numbers and terms mean.

So, we're going to help you out a bit.

Nevada used to be the only place where you could legally wager on sports, but 10 other states have made it to the party in the 14 months since the Supreme Court ruling. Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Arkansas, New York, and Iowa are all states where sports betting is currently legal.

And, the expansion of legalized sports betting isn't stopping anytime soon. Montana, Washington D.C., Indiana, Tennessee, Illinois, New Hampshire, and North Carolina all are close to seeing legalized sports betting in their states.

It's not clear when we might see legalized sports betting in Ohio, but the state is working towards it. Have no fear Buckeyes, at least you'll see legalized sports betting in the state before Utah, which has anti-gambling laws written into the state's constitution.

Moneyline: This is the most simple bet. You pick the team who you think is going to win the game. If they win, you win. How much will you win if you pick a winner? Well that is going to depend on the odds.

Last year was an underdog heading into their annual meeting with Michigan. The Buckeyes were given +170 odds on the moneyline, meaning if you bet $100 on Ohio State to win, you won $170 after the Buckeyes drubbed the Wolverines 62-39.

As the favorite, Michigan was given -210 odds to beat Ohio State prior to the game. If you thought Michigan was going to win the game and you wanted to win $100 on it, you had to bet $210 dollars.

The bigger the favorite, the higher the odds. The moneyline for Ohio State's season opener isn't posted everywhere because it seems like a given that the Buckeyes will beat Florida Atlantic handily. Those who can find an Ohio State moneyline for the game might be betting upwards of $4,200 if they hope to win just $100.

Point spread: This is where betting gets a little tougher. The point spread favorite lays points to their opponent and if you end up betting the favorite, you need the team you picked to win by more than that number. Ohio State is currently a 27.5-point favorite over Florida Atlantic, meaning Buckeye bettors will need Ohio State to win by at least 28 points to cash in. If the Owls keep the score within 27 points, those who had faith in the underdog will take home the spoils.

Games with big spreads are especially tricky, because you never know when a coach is going to pull his starters, which could lead to the underdog working their way back towards covering if they had gotten down big early in the game.

Total: Can't decide which team to bet on but still want action on the game? You're in luck because you can bet on the total points scored in the game. Once a total is set for a game, you can bet on the teams playing to either score more than that total or to stay under that number.

Currently the total for Ohio State/Florida Atlantic is set at 63. If you think this game will see lots of scoring, hit the over and all you'll need is 64 points combined to cash. If you think both teams might take a little time to get going in the season opener, your side is the under, where you'll win if the teams score 62 points or less.

Parlay: Is the rush of betting on a single side or total not enough for you? With a parlay, you take a bigger risk, but you could see a bigger reward if your picks are right. A parlay is where you pick more than one side or total. Your winnings depend on how many sides or totals you pick, and the odds of those picks.

What makes parlays so tricky, is that even if one of your picks lose, your whole bet loses. There's nothing more deflating that having a four or five-team parlay and winning all but one of those contests.

Prop bets: Do you have a favorite player who you know is going to perform? A prop bet might be just what you are looking for. Prop bets vary each week and are a little more limited, but they are usually offered pertaining to a specific stat.

Over/unders on passing yards, rushing yards, and receptions are all examples of prop bets for players. Others that you might see are odds on whether a certain player will score a touchdown or not. If you check in before the season, you might also see prop bets available for players for specific season totals, like touchdowns, yardage, receptions, etc.

Futures: These bets are for the people who know one week doesn't determine everything. Before the season, future bets give you the opportunity to bet on your favorite team or players. Common ones seen around college football are whether a team will win their conference championship, make the playoff, or win the national championship.

Currently Ohio State has +1400 odds to win the national championship. That means if you put $100 down on the Buckeyes before the season and they end up winning the national title, you win $1,400. The odds for the Buckeyes are a lot shorter if you see them making the playoff but not winning the title, as those sit at +250.

Another common futures bet is on who will win the Heisman Trophy. Justin Fields has the shortest odds of any Buckeye at +1600. Running back J.K. Dobbins was also given odds to hoist the bronze stiff arm this year, with those currently sitting at +5000.

Daily Fantasy Sports: Becoming more prevalent over the past decade has been DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) betting. This is where you are given a salary cap and must construct a team. The highest scores on that day or weekend win prizes depending on the size and entry fees of the contest. FanDuel and DraftKings are a couple of the most popular sites when it comes to DFS.

Depending on where you are reading this, these contests and bets are obviously for entertainment purposes only *wink wink*. If you do decide to place a wager where it is legal to do so, be sure to always bet within your means, and if you feel like you might have an issue when it comes to gambling addiction, there are outlets out there where you can find help. If you do choose to bet, hopefully the odds end up in your favor!

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