How Do Massachusetts Betting Odds Work?
Odds can tell you a lot about which way the winds are blowing around an event. Oddsmakers start with a mathematical algorithm to calculate sports betting odds, which gives them a jumping-off point. They then adjust the lines based on important factors around the game. These can include injuries, home-field advantage, and head-to-head matchups.
Regardless of which Massachusetts sports betting app you're using, the sports betting odds will shift to encourage money to come in on the other side of the bet. And now with online sports betting, the industry-standard live betting feature allows odds to shift during the game itself.
How to Read Lines & Odds in Massachusetts
Odds across the United States are listed by default with a system called American Odds, which you must admit makes sense. Briefly, when you can correctly read odds, you'll understand what the oddsmakers have determined are the relative chances of a specific result taking place. More importantly for you, you'll be able to work out how much you'd stand to win by betting on that outcome.
Keep in mind there's a difference in the actual probability of a result happening compared to the betting odds you'll see listed on a sportsbook. Operators including BetMGM Massachusetts will shift from the actual odds for several reasons, such as one side of a bet getting more action than the other. More than that, they want to make sure they get their cut of the money, no matter which side of a bet actually wins.
Calculating Sports Betting Payouts in Mass
The betting line will tell you both what the relative chance is of a winning bet, and how much the potential winnings would be. It's important to note that most operators will use the format we're detailing below to display their odds.
In simplest terms, when you see negative odds (denoted with a negative number), that's betting on an outcome the sportsbook thinks is likely to happen, like a favorite picking up the win over an underdog. The higher the number, the more likely the oddsmakers believe in that outcome occurring.
For instance, if the moneyline odds at Caesars Sportsbook Massachusetts for the Patriots vs Cardinals have them at -135, that makes them a slight favorite - about a 57% chance of a win. Whereas you could find odds for the Pats at home vs. the Bears as steep as -405, which is roughly an 80% chance of winning.
What does this mean for your bankroll? The longer the odds, the bigger the payoff. Think in terms of $100. A negative number tells you how much you'd have to wager to win $100. Take that Chicago game, for instance. If you'd bet $405 on the moneyline and the Pats had won, you'd be looking at $505 - your stake plus $100 in winnings. That Arizona game? You'd take home $235 on a winning moneyline bet. But you'd also lose a lot less if your bet didn't go. The minus sign is the tip-off that you have to risk $100 to hit the number next to it.
Positive odds are the other kind of American odds you're going to see when you read betting lines, and they refer to less likely outcomes. If you're looking at moneyline odds, for instance, the positive number applies to the underdog. The higher that number goes, the less likely the oddsmakers think that outcome will take place.
If the Bruins moneyline is +150 at WynnBet Massachusetts, that means the oddsmakers give them about a 40% chance to win. But the payout on the underdog is, not surprisingly, much more generous. In the case of positive odds, the number after the plus sign refers to your winnings on a $100 bet. So a $100 bet on the Bruins at +150 would pay back a total of $250 - the $100 stake and $150 in winnings.
What is the Difference Between Fractional Odds and Decimal Odds?
In addition to the most common American odds, you may hear discussion of fractional odds and decimal odds, especially if you're looking to place bets on sports outside North America at sportsbooks like FanDuel Massachusetts. Sports bettors in other parts of the world don't frequently use American odds. The other ways to look at odds give you the same information, so it's all just a matter of preference. If you see something set in fractional or decimal odds and want to see them listed in American odds, there are math problems you can solve to make that happen. Or you can just use a betting odds calculator, which just makes the whole thing easier.
If you're a bettor in The Bay State, most Massachusetts betting sites and apps allow you to use whatever system of sports betting odds that you want.
How Fractional Odds Work in MA
Sometimes in the US, especially when handicapping horse races, you'll see odds expressed in terms of a fraction like you'd see in your old math textbooks. And you thought this stuff would never come up again! Fractional odds are especially popular in the UK and Ireland, and take a little bit of math to work out the implied probability and potential payday. However, some operators such as DraftKings Massachusetts offer fractional odds in the US for those looking for different odds formats.
Let's start by working out the chances. If you see the Celtics are at 4/3 (four to three) to win against the Lakers, that means the oddsmakers think that if they played 7 times, the C's would lose 4 and win 3. When you divide the denominator (second number, the 3) by the sum of the denominator and the numerator (that's the 4) you're on your way to the implied odds:
3 ÷ (4+3) =
3 ÷ 7 = .42857
Shift the decimal point and what you've got is implied odds of 42.86%. Starting to see why we use American odds here?
Now let's see how you'd get paid with a winning stake of $100 on the C's at 4/3. With fractional odds, you multiply your stake by the numerator, then divide by the denominator.
$100 x 4 ÷ 3 = $133 in winnings
$133 + $100 (your stake) = $233
If this is how you learned to read handicaps, then it all looks pretty straightforward. But they may not be for you if you don't have a betting calculator or a nearby eighth grader to do your arithmetic for you.
How Decimal Odds Work
When you get outside North America, the UK and Ireland, you're most likely to run across decimal odds. They're pretty easy to decipher, especially compared to that math homework up above. The number you see represents the total return on a dollar bet. If you see the Red Sox listed at 1.69 against the Orioles, that means a win would get you $1.69 for every dollar wagered - your dollar back plus sixty-nine cents in winnings.
If you want the implied probabilities, you divide 100 by the decimal odds listed.
100 ÷ 1.69 = 59.17% implied odds
All of this is to say that no matter how you get your odds displayed to you they mean the same thing and it's just what you prefer. If you really want to get creative, you can do some more back-of-the-envelope math to convert between the three systems. Or you can take a look at the chart below to see our examples expressed in each way for New England Patriots odds.
Different Types of Betting Odds in MA
Sportsbooks will give you all kinds of betting options across all sorts of games from pro football to darts and snooker. But if you don't know point spread bets from futures from parlays, here are the basics. Just don't bite off more than you can chew before you know the ins and outs of the kinds of bets you're making at an operator like Barstool Sportsbook Massachusetts.
Moneyline bets are the easiest to understand, and a good place to start if you're new at sports betting. All you have to do is pick a side and you win if they do. A moneyline bet on the Red Sox against the Yankees will pay out if the Sox win, simple as that. Moneyline odds will have much bigger swings than spreads or totals since there's no playing field leveling around one side's being overmatched.
- Point Spreads
A point spread bets is the most common type of bet, and you'll see spread bets used most commonly in football and basketball. The point spread refers to the number of points (or goals, or runs) that the oddsmakers think will separate the winner and loser. If you bet on the Celtics with a -8.5 point spread vs. the Hornets, the C's will have to win the game by nine or more points to "cover the spread" and win your bet. If they had a +3.5 point spread, that means they could cover by winning the game, or losing by no more than 3.
- Over/Under (Totals)
A totals bet, also known as an over/under, is a wager where the oddsmakers set a number and you wager on whether the actual result will be over or under that number. It usually refers to a combined final score, such as a 43.5 set for the Pats vs. the Bills. Regardless of who won the game, the combined final score of 34 meant that the bettors who took the under cashed in winners.
A parlay bet is a series of single wager, combined so they're dependent on one another to pay off. Each individual bet, or "leg", will lengthen the odds but increase the potential winnings. You could parlay the Patriots to win on the moneyline, the Celtics to cover an -8.5 spread, and David Pastrnak to score the first goal in the Bruins game. If all of those happen, you get a pretty nice payday, but if even one misses, the bet is a total loss.
- Live In-Game Betting
Bettors can now take advantage of live betting action during games in progress. The sports betting lines will shift over the course of play. If Brayan Bello comes out hot, striking out the side in order in the first, you'll see the moneyline move in the Red Sox's favor. The trick is picking up on trends and getting your bets in before the lines move.
- Futures Bets
A futures bet is a bet that won't be settled in the immediate future. The best example of a futures bet is a wager on a team or athlete to win a competition outright before it even starts. Putting money on the New England Revolution to win the MLS Cup before the season gets underway is an example of a futures bet.
- Prop Bets
Any wager that isn't directly tied to the result of the event is a prop bet. This can be around a player (who scores the most points in the second quarter), a team (will their score be odd or even), or another outcome (will the game go into overtime).
Get the Best Betting Odds for Massachusetts Sports Bettors
This should be enough to get you started reading the lines. Take some time to tour this site to get more in-depth explanations of the kinds of bets that interest you, especially if you're new to the pastime. And if you're a novice, you may want to stick to moneyline bets until you get comfortable working inside a sportsbook. From there you can get a handle on things like the over/under or the point spread.
And don't forget that if you don't like how American odds work, most of the better sportsbooks will allow you to set your preferences to decimal or fractional displays. Good luck!
Massachusetts Odds for Sports Betting FAQs
The American odds system, used across the US (including Massachusetts) indicates the likelihood of an outcome in a sports betting scenario, as well as the potential winnings, should the bet win. Negative numbers on the betting lines are more likely to win, and pay off less. Positive numbers are less likely to hit but pay better when they do.
Betting odds are set by the oddsmakers in each sportsbook. These start with mathematical algorithms but take into account a host of other factors that can affect a game, from home-field advantage to team momentum and other important key trends.
Absolutely. Consider the variables that can impact a game between the lines first being set and the final whistle. You'll see plenty of line movement prior to a game at Massachusetts sportsbooks and even more in the live betting space as the game goes on.
It all depends on what you consider "best". The more popular a betting sport is, the closer the odds are more likely to be from operator to operator. But one thing you can do to find the odds you like is called "line shopping" - comparing odds on the same betting options to see what's more advantageous to the bettor.
Yes and no. Again, you'll find a lot of overlap, and it mostly comes out even. But betting on the home team is a time-honored tradition. You'll get better odds on the Golden Knights in Massachusetts, the same way you'd probably find better odds on the Bruins if you were on The Strip.