By understanding the different types of odds bookmakers offer punters can make informed decisions when it comes to placing their bets.
There are four popular categories of markets available to Canadian bettors – Point Spreads, Money Lines, Totals and Spreads & Totals. Read on as we explain how each of them work.

Point Spreads

A point spread in sports betting is a figure set by bookmakers to provide an advantage or disadvantage based on the margin of victory or defeat for a given team.
The “favourite” team is labelled with a minus sign, with a plus sign placed next to the “underdog” team. Each has to win or lose by more than the figure shown for the bet to be successful.
Point spreads provide additional betting interest for both sides, usually due to one team typically being better than the other.

They are particularly popular in sports like American Football. Using the NFL game between Washington Redskins and Atlanta Falcons as an example, the former are rated as -4.5 point favourites for the game.

This means they would need to win the game by five points or more to win the bet. Conversely, Atlanta is a 4.5-point underdog which means they would need to win or not lose the game by more than four points to win the bet.

If Washington wins 25-23, then they win by two points and failed to cover the 4.5 point handicap, thus making Atlanta the 27.5-25 winners of the game.
In addition to the NFL, point spread betting is used in other sports such as ice hockey, baseball, basketball and more.

Money Lines

This is a type of betting line which says how much a player must wager in order to win $100.00. There is no point spread in this line – the team wagered on simply has to win the game.

Like Point Spread betting, money lines are popular in all the leading North American sports. For example, you may have a money line of Dallas Stars (+110) versus Montreal Canadiens (-130) in the NHL.

In this game, a bet of $110 on the Stars is necessary to win $100, while a bet of $100 would win $130 in the case of a Canadiens victory.

The team with the minus sign is the favourite and indicates how much a player must wager in order to win $100. The team with the plus sign is the underdog and indicates how much a player would win for a bet of $100.

Low scoring sports like baseball and soccer are usually bet on using a money line. Parlays on money lines are also growing in popularity. A parlay is a wager that is comprised of multiple selections and the returns are greater than betting on just one result.


A total or over/under bet is a single wager on whether or not the combined goal, point or run total of a single game will be over or under what the bookmaker sets it at before the event.

When placing a total wager, all the bettor is concerned with is the combined score of each team at the end of the game.
For instance, you could bet on there being over or under 46 points in the NFL game between Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams.

If you wager on over 46 points and the combined score at the end of the game is greater than that total you win the bet. If the total is lower than 46 the bet is lost.
Most bookmakers consider the end of regulation time or the point at which a game becomes official as the end of the game unless otherwise stated.