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What is -110 in Sports Betting

Sports Betting: What is -110 in Sports Betting?

By Loot, NFL Handicapper,

Even if you have never laid a sports wager, you have probably seen the infamous -110 number. It’s really a major part of sports betting. For sports like basketball and football, it’s the one number that you will see the most. The number -110 (minus 110) is an expression of odds. It’s a critical number.

In sports like basketball and football, both on the professional and college level, there are point-spreads. It’s like a handicap. If you were golfing with a buddy and betting on it and one of you was better, someone would get a handicap. That’s what point-spreads do in basketball and football betting. A point-spread is devised in an effort to make both sides of the bet even. So when betting against-the-spread in those sports, you’re theoretically betting on a heads-or-tails proposition. But a coin-flip is 50-50 and books don’t offer those kinds of odds.

The -110 money line is applied to bets against-the-spread as a form of vig or juice for the bookie. (Tip: Read Betting at Reduced Odds) Look at it like a bookie’s commission, the price he charges everyone for having the privilege of betting on sports. That’s basically the definition of “vig” or “juice.” The number -110 basically means you must bet $110 to win $100. Or you must bet $11 to win $10. In other words, when betting $11 to win $10 on a proposition that is supposedly a 50-50 equation, the bookie can’t lose.

Let’s look at a few examples to see how the -110 line is generally used:

Toronto Raptors +12 (-110)
Miami Heat -12 (-110)

Pittsburgh Steelers +2 (-110)
Cincinnati Bengals -2 (-110)

You see two examples, one from the NBA and one from the NFL. Remember that the point-spreads are designed to offer equal value on both teams, making it a heads-or-tails equation or at least equally-attractive on both sides. But you’re betting on the -110 line, meaning you have to bet $110 for every $100 you hope to win. Generally, the bookie would be fine with even money being bet on both sides of the bet. When only paying $10 for every $11 bet, it’s not hard to see why they are in business year after year, while most bettors are left searching for answers.

For the bookie, -110 makes it so they win over the long-run. For bettors, it means we have to do a little better than simply break even. When making bets against-the-spread at -110, going 50% on your picks isn’t going to cut it. You’re betting 11 to win 10. If betting on ten games where you’re trying to win $100, you will be wagering a total of $1100. Winning 5 bets would get you back $1050. Therefore, breaking even with your bets would not leave you even as far as your bankroll is concerned.

The book figures that even if a bettor is somewhat fortunate, that his bets over the long-run will equal out to about 50%. And if that’s the case, the book wins. That means for football bettors that the juice is a major hurdle on the road to success. As a result, we have to do a little better than 50% in order to turn a profit. Not as easy as it sounds.

The number you need to break even betting on -110 odds is 52.4%. Anything over that and you can start to show a profit. That’s assuming you are betting the same amount on every game. This should tell you that when you hear ads on the radio of guys claiming 80% wins against the spread, that they are utterly lying. No one can pull that off. If you’re able to hit 60% winners in a given pigskin or hoops season, that is fantastic. But 53% is when you start making money at -110. Even 57% would be pretty darned-good.

Now that you see the affect that -110 odds has on your bottom line, how would you like to cut it in half? Finding a -105 line is worth your time and then some. Over the long-haul, you can save significant money and maintain a lower winning percentage while managing to come out ahead. One of the main enemies bettors face and one of the top reasons most bettors fail is because they get eaten up by the vig. When able to cut the vig in half, you are giving yourself the best chance to win. If you're still betting on games at -110 odds, you need to ditch your sportsbook TODAY and make the switch to -105 betting at the web's best sportsbook: 5Dimes. You'll be so glad you did!

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