Since July 2019, New York has had retail sportsbooks up and running. There are no mobile or online options yet, but sports bettors in the Empire State now have a number of places to wager.
A big part of sports betting involves understanding how to read and interpret the odds that sportsbooks offer.
In order to locate current odds at New York’s retail sportsbooks, you physically have to visit the sportsbooks themselves since they are not available online. That said, you can get an idea of what sorts of wagers are out there for any day’s games by checking out current odds at other sportsbooks.
New Jersey has many online sportsbooks up and running, which you can download in NY to compare lines. This page provides an overview of the types of odds you can expect to see.
If you choose a sport in which games are coming up tonight or in the near future, you have a choice of odds to view. The most popular types of bets include:
A moneyline bet is the simplest type of wager, essentially perceived as a “straight up” bet on one side to win.
Let’s say the New York Giants are playing the Dallas Cowboys, and you want to bet on the Giants to win. Place a moneyline bet on the G-men. If they win, you win. If they lose, you lose.
A bet on the point spread isn’t just a wager on who will win. Betting the spread also involves taking into account how many points the favored team is expected to win by when placing your wager.
A point spread bet on the favorite is for that team to win by more points than the spread indicates. Meanwhile, a wager on the underdog is a bet on that team to either win outright or not lose by more points than the spread.
For example, if the Giants are a 4.5-point favorite over Dallas, and you place a bet on them against the spread, New York must win by at least five points for you to win. A wager on Dallas as a 4.5-point underdog means the Cowboys need to lose by no more than four points — or win — for your bet to cash.
A bet on the total, aka an over/under bet, is a wager on the total number of points/runs/goals both teams will score in a contest.
The sportsbook sets a totals line, say in the NYG-DAL contest a line of 47.5 points, and you bet either over or under that total. If you bet the over, the two teams will need to score 48 points or more for you to win. A wager on the under requires a total score of 47 or fewer for a win.
One of the first questions new sports bettors ask is how sports betting odds work. Specifically, what do those “-185” and “+165” figures mean, and how do they relate to the wagers you place?
Those numbers represent how much a winning bet pays. They also reflect the odds the sportsbook is laying on each team in any given contest. The bigger the favorite, the less you win by betting on them. Meanwhile, the bigger the underdog, the more you can win.
A negative number, such as -185, indicates that side is favored. A positive number, like +165, means an underdog.
If a moneyline bet on the favored Giants pays -125, that means you need to bet $125 in order to win $100. In other words, since New York is the favorite, you win less than double your bet.
On the flip side, a bet on the underdog Cowboys might pay +165. In that case, a bet of $100 on Dallas to win would pay $165, meaning you would more than double your bet.
Notice how even the bets on point spreads and totals have negative and positive numbers listed next to them. In each case, those numbers are telling you what the odds are and how much a winning bet will pay.
You might notice odds changing during the days leading up to an event. The Giants might have been a 4.5-point favorite on Monday, but by Saturday they became only a 3.5-point favorite. The odds might shift as well, altering how much winning bets would pay out.
What causes these changes? There are a few factors.
There are many other ways to wager on sports. Some other popular types of bets include:
Money coming in on one side of a bet can cause sportsbooks to move lines to encourage bettors to wager on the other side. Injuries, suspensions, changing weather conditions and other factors can cause lines to move, as well.
For an underdog, divide the number by 100 to get fractional odds. For example, if a bet is +400, that’s 400/100 or 4/1 odds. When betting on a favorite, divide 100 by the absolute value of the number to get the fractional odds. So, if a bet is -300, that’s 100/300 or 1/3 odds.
The answer depends on what you mean by “best odds.” Generally, sports that are the most popular (e.g., football) attract the most attention from bettors. As a result, those sports tend to have the best odds in terms of being the most accurate when reflecting probable outcomes. “Best odds” can also refer to the best odds or lines for making bigger profits. In that case, understand that it’s possible to shop around between sportsbooks to find better prices for the wagers you wish to make.
Sportsbooks employ oddsmakers who set lines and create odds, often aided by tried and true algorithms and software. That said, once bettors start placing bets, that also can change the odds right up until a game begins.
Sportsbooks endeavor to create odds that will generate an equal amount of action on either side of a bet. If bets are “balanced” on both sides, the sportsbook guarantees itself a profit thanks to the “vig” or “juice” it takes from each bet placed. That means the odds don’t always perfectly reflect the probability of a certain outcome. Rather the odds are determined in response to how the sportsbooks think the betting will go.
You must visit New York sportsbooks in person in order to find out what betting odds they are offering on a given contest. You cannot phone the sportsbooks to ask, as the Wire Act prohibits sportsbooks from using such means to disseminate sports betting information.