Vegas odds is a term for betting odds and lines used by sportsbooks in the United States. Taken its name from the U.S. capital of gambling, Vegas odds are trusted by bookies worldwide and dictate betting markets globally but have recently grown in popularity here in the U.S. following the federal legalization of sports betting in May 2018.
Vegas odds are used for all bets, but they are mostly associated with the moneyline, point spread, and over/under. The moneyline describes who will win a contest; the point spread details how many points a team is favored by in a contest; the over/under is the term which is the number of points that are expected to be scored in a game.
When reading Vegas odds, bettors can relatively quickly calculate payouts and determine the favorite or underdogs in any game or match. Other odds systems such as fractional and decimal odds are also commonly used although Vegas odds dominate the sports betting market as they are easy to use.
How to read Vegas Odds
The key thing to remember with Vegas odds is that negative (-) indicates a favorite, and a positive sign (+) an underdog. To use the moneyline as an example, if Team A is -125 and Team B is +105, A is expected to win.
Odds affect your payout, so a successful bet on Team A will yield a smaller payout than a winning wager on Team B. In sports betting, you will always be rewarded for taking risks with your bets.
Totals betting (which is also described as over/under betting where you bet if the total points will be over or under a given number) and point spread betting are both slightly different than moneyline betting: these bets will have an odd and line together.
The point spread is the most critical aspect of Vegas odds to understand. As mentioned, a negative sign for the point spread means win by, and a positive sign means be within.
If Team A is -3.5 on the point spread, they must win by four for the bet to hit. If you bet on the underdog to win, they would be +3.5, which means that they must be within three or win the game for a successful stake. There will be odds like the moneyline associated with each side of the spread to determine your payout.
History of Vegas Odds
Vegas odds have increased in popularity with the removal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act three years ago and today mainstream sports media discusses Vegas odds daily. But the history of the system goes back to before sports betting was nationally renowned.
Vegas odds were first used in Nevada in the thirties when oddsmakers ventured to Las Vegas to take advantage of the surging sports betting industry. The exact date is unknown, but this decade was when people started understanding and referring to sports betting odds as Vegas odds in the region.
At the time, Nevada bookmakers had unique formulas to determine what lines to offer bettors for each game. The process is similar to what computer systems do today through records, stats, and previous performances.