In 2013, Peter Ralph, an assistant professor of computational biology at the University of Southern California, posited that everybody in the world is related.
In 2019, we here at abe posited that every bet in the world is related.
It's possible that Professor Ralph and Team abe are exaggerating. But not by much.
The number of markets in an online sportsbook can sometimes seem overwhelming. You can bet the moneyline, the spread, the total, alternative spreads...the list goes on. It can feel like it's an epic task to hunt out that ideal value bet.
In practice, however, this family of bets are share similar DNA. And like any family, some members are close, while others remain distant. It's possible that some even say inappropriate things at Thanksgiving.
With football and basketball, the core market is the spread. This is where oddsmakers work out how much better one team is than the other, then give one team a handicap.
For example, let's say you're interested in placing a wager on a Houston Rockets/Dallas Mavericks clash -- and with the way James Harden and Luka Doncic are performing, why not? -- you might do some research and learn that the Mavs are a -3 favorite, and the Rockets are a +3 dog, with both available to bet at -110.
These numbers are then used to work out the moneyline, or the odds on each team winning outright. For this example, it might be +160 for Houston and -190 for Dallas.
You'll find that when the spread moves, that moneyline number moves right along with it, because they're delivering the same basic message: The oddsmakers believe that on that night, Doncic and Dallas will be better than Harden and Houston.
So if the spread moves to -3.5, the moneyline might move to, say -165 and +140. In other words the dog has become slightly less doggy, and the fave is believed to be less likely to win. (You might also find that some of the alternative spreads have also been nudged in this direction.)
See? They're related.
That said, the totals are not directly related. (Sorry, Professor Ralph.) The numbers will be worked out not solely on expected scoring rates, but based in part on the Mavericks' or the Rockets' relative supremacy over one another. As that relative strength and weakness gets adjusted, so can the totals.
Like the opinionated grandfather and his long-suffering family, the odds aren't always in sync with one another. But while an interpersonal clash might ruin Thanksgiving, some conflict could improve your chances of winning a bet.
Let's say the moneyline is offering a slightly larger price than one might expect, or let's say the alternative spreads haven't moved much. Suddenly, you'll find yourself with some better betting value, one of the many reasons why paying attention to odds movement right up to game time is so critical.
Spread movement for football tends to be more dramatic than that of the other major team sports. Why? Because pigskin scoring is weird.
Not sure if you heard, but touchdowns can result in six, seven, or eight points, while field goals are three. Thus, if an oddsmakers decreed on Tuesday that the New York Giants will give up two TDs, but then watched some ugly game film on Thursday, they might decide that the G-Men will allow their opponent three or four trips to the end zone, thus the spread might jump from +7 to +14.
Summing up, your betting options aren't merely just a list of unconnected unique markets -- it's one big market that keeps moving based on betting action, team news, weather, injuries, and so on.
So keep your eyes peeled, bet smart, and join the winning family!
Back to top