How Straight Bets Work

The online sportsbooks have taken off more than ever in recent years, business is booming, and sports bettors are clamoring to get in on the action. Now that sports gambling is 100% legal from the comfort of your own home, many are asking, and simply wondering, “how to bet”. Many bettors know how to bet, and many do not, some need a simple refresher. Take a look at how straight bets work and the wide verity of options the gambler has available to them when placing a straight bet.

What is a Straight Bet?

•    A Straight bet is a single bet on one bet slip

When the bettor places a straight bet, he is betting that the team, player, or event—will win that single event. In a straight bet, there will never be any other bet attached to the bet, or any other bet attached to the bet slip. It is one bet, nothing more, nothing less.

Check out the Types of Sports Betting Odds

Types of Lines and How they Pay

For the bettor, it’s extremely important that one knows how betting lines work, and to have a basic understanding of how the lines pay. For every straight bet that a bettor makes, there is either a money line, a point spread, or a total attached to the wager.

? Point Spreads

These wagers are most commonly used when betting NFL, NBA, NCAAF, and NCAAB. The point spread is set by the Line Movers of offshore, and Las Vegas oddsmakers. In a point spread wager, there will be a certain amount of points that a team must win by, this team is known as the “favorite”, the opponent is known as the “underdog”, the underdog can lose by the equal amount of points the favorite must win by. 


Los Angeles Lakers vs. New York Knicks

Lakers -3.5-110
Knicks +3.5-110

In this example, the Lakers are the favorite and the Knicks are the underdog. If a bettor bets on the Lakers, then the Lakers must win the game by 4 points in order to win the bet and collect. Should the bettor decide to choose the Knicks, the Knicks can lose by 3 points and still be the winner of the bet. The -110 is the standard juice set and widely recognized by both the online sportsbooks as well as Las Vegas. 

? Money Line

These wagers work a bit differently than the point spread. The money line is very straight forward and easy to understand for one reason; what you see is what you get. A good way to think of a money line wager is by thinking as if you were making a bet with a friend, over a handshake. The offshore oddsmakers, as well as Las Vegas, they set the daily money line for each event/game, being offered for the day. 

With a money line wager, the bettor does not need to cover any kind of point spread, the requirement to win this bet is that the team chosen to bet on that team must win, either by 1 point or however many points they end up winning by, they simply must win. 


Los Angeles Lakers vs. New York Knicks 

Lakers -140 
Knicks +120

What this money line bet is saying is this… If the bettor chooses to bet on the Lakers, then the bettor will win $100 for every $140 that he bets or, for every $1.40 that he bets, he will win $1.00. Should the bettor choose the Knicks, then he will win $130 for every $100 that he plays or, $1.30 for every $1.00 that he plays.

? Totals or Under/Overs

These the easiest and most simple lines of them all. Betting a total on a straight bet you are simply betting on the final score to go over or under the set-combined total of both teams, for that game.


Patriots vs. Chiefs

Over 58.5-110 
Under 58.5-110

The bettor may bet over 58.5, and the game must score a combined total of 59 points or more, or the bettor may bet under 58.5 and the game cannot sore more than 58 points in order to win. 


- Money Lines and Point Spreads are set and changed according to the strength and weakness of the teams playing the match with other many variables. 

- Point Spreads and Totals usually come with a -110 "juice" which is the percentage (10%) that every sportsbook takes to place a wager; although keep in mind that the juice can change from book to book.

Betting at Online Sportsbooks

The online sportsbooks have cornered the sports betting market through one simple avenue, they offer it all. Literally, they offer every wager one can think of such as betting any of your favorite sports, props, futures, make parlays, teasers, If Bets, Reverse Bets, live betting. There is simply no shortage of wagering options.

How much the bettor chooses to bet is up to them individually, such as $110 to win $100 or, $22 to win $20 on a point spread or total bet. Should the bettor choose to bet the money line, they may choose to spend $100 on the Knicks to win $120, or spend $50 to win $60, or vice versa on the favorite at -140. The online sportsbooks often move the numbers and the bettor will see odds work in their favor, or work against them. The key is knowing how to bet a straight bet and understanding who has the better chance to win the game. 

About the Author

Having lived in several different states I am never quite sure where I should say that I am from! I was born in WA. State. I did not grow up there. My family moved to Idaho when I was a young boy, where we lived for 11 years. As a result of my fathers occupation; I have had the privilage to experience many states and different cultures around the country.

I have lived in WA, OR, CA, ID, CO, KS, NY, MO, TX, FL, IN, NV, AZ, and Hawaii. I have also lived in Puerto Rico, Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. I have managed to visit or live in, 49 of our great states and travel extensively throughout Central America. My travels have taken me to such places as Sinaloa, Chiapas, Myan ruins in Guatemala, and many, many others.  I believe that I have had the honor to visit every Mexican state.

I am an English teacher by trade and love helping others improve thir lives through education. I have taught for institutions such as The University of Washington (Go Huskies) Berlitz, and a few other international language academies. I have obtained many degrees in the school of hard knocks, by way of old fashioned experience!  Such as driving taxi, working at McDonalds, working for giant retailers as well as giant casinos! A jack of all trades for sure.

I love sports! My passion is sports. I love talking about it, arguing about it, following and keeping up with the current state of affairs. Having lived in many places helps me connect with many different fan bases. As a writer, this is a real advantage to have. I can connect with a Yankees fan, or a Chargers fan.  I love it and I hope to continue to give readers a different perspective than the average, run of the mill story will give them.

As you read my stories; I hope you enjoy them. I hope they make you think, maybe make you happy and even make you mad! As you read further you may discover that over the years; I have been influenced by people such as Jim Rome, or Colin Cowherd. These are the kinds of folks that make me think and make me see sports differently.