Few things in the sports gambling world are more underappreciated than your bet slip. To many, they are afterthoughts. Really, though, they're an extremely informative, useful tool. Explaining betting slips isn't just a matter of focusing on the transaction recaps they provide. It is, in its own way, an entire betting guide.
What's on a Betting Slip
Most people view betting slips as a review of the wager—or wagers—that they're placing. They are definitely this. But they are also so much more.
In addition to serving as a receipt, they can help you read and build different bet types. This includes all of the following:
Bet slips are also useful because they serve as an odds calculator, showing you how much you stand to win based on how much you're investing. Don't worry about understanding how valuable they are right now. We're about to dissect the entire thing.
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Betting Slips and Moneylines
As you should already know, moneyline wagers are simply straightforward bets. You're seeking to pick the winner of a given competition. And once you make your choice, it will be added to your bet slip, where you'll be able to review the odds your facing.
These moneylines will show up on your ticket just as they do everywhere else. Favorites will have a minus sign next to their odds, which tell you how much you need to wager in order to win $100. Underdogs will be represented with a plus sign in front of their line. This shows you how much of a profit you stand to make for every $100 you put on the line.
As an example let's say you check out the latest NBA odds and decide to add the following game to your bet slip: Los Angeles Lakers (-400) vs. Dallas Mavericks (+225). Taking the Lakers in this case would mean you must risk $400 to secure a profit of $100. Investing in the Mavericks means you'd win $225 for every $100 you wager.
Though bet slips don't directly have an impact on these lines, they do give you the option of changing them. Certain sportsbooks allow you to pay extra to customize the line, should you decide you want shorter odds on the Mavericks or longer odds on the Lakers. This option will usually be denoted somewhere on your bet slip.
Betting Slips and Point Spreads
Point spreads are similar to moneylines in that they are concerned with the outcome of a given competition. However, they differ from moneylines in that they're not always concerned with who actually wins. You are instead more responsible for predicting a margin of victory or loss.
Bet slips will convey this information in identical format. Favorites are yet again represented by a minus sign, and they show you how many points a given team must win by in order to cover. Underdogs are once more denoted with a plus sign, and their line tells you how many points they must come within winning to cover from their sides.
Let's say you're looking at Lakers (-9.5) vs. Mavericks (+9.5). Betting on the Lakers would mean they have to win by 10 or more points. Choosing the Mavericks would mean they must lose by nine or fewer points—or outright win.
Looking at your bet slip allows you to review this information easily. They will even update you if the odds change. And likewise, they should also give you the option of paying to customize the line, if you want to lengthen or shorten the spread in either direction to manipulate the payout odds.
Betting Slips and The Over/Under
Bet slips do a great job of highlighting over/under lines after you've picked them. As a brief refresher, these wagers are all about predicting which side of a benchmark the final combined score will fall.
For example, let's assume the Lakers-Mavericks game has an over/under of 222.5. Playing the over demands both Dallas and Los Angeles combine to score 223 or more points. Conversely, working the under mandates they combine to score no more than 222 points.
After you've added a pick to your bet slip, the odds will be updated in real time, and your sportsbook will alert you to any movements before you actually hit submit. As ever, your bet slip will also allow you to customize the over/under, should you want to lower or elevate the predetermined number for a fee.
This is why bet slips are so useful for specific lines. They give you a place to not only review them, but to tweak them and to get a sense for the latest changes.
Betting Slips and Parlays
Betting slips become particularly useful once you go from specific lines to actual wager types. They are where you decide what type of gamble you're looking to make.
If you're looking to place straight individual wagers, you don't have to do anything. That is the default setting on every bet slips. If you're looking to build a parlay, however, you'll need to specify as much.
This isn't difficult to do. It is typically just a matter of pressing a button at the top of your ticket. For instance, let's assume you'd add the following three lines to your bet slip: Lakers -9.5, Lakers-Mavericks over 222.5, and Miami Heat +6. If you want to loop all three of these outcomes together, you would simply select the "parlay" tab located somewhere on your ticket before hitting submit.
Remember, though, that parlays are all-or-nothing propositions. A three-wager parlay entails hitting on all three predictions. If you don't, you'll lose your bet. If you do, you'll be rewarded with a higher-than-normal return that far outstrips anything you would have gotten had you invested in each line individually.
Betting Slips and Round Robins
Submitting round-robin wagers is similar to building parlays. You select the lines you actually want to include before viewing your bet slip, but once you're done, you need to actually make the round-robin selection on your bet slip.
This is again done with the click of a button. Let's take our collection of lines from before: Lakers -9.5, Lakers-Mavericks over 222.5, and Heat +6. If you select the "round-robin" option on your bet slip, your sportsbook will automatically parlay every two-outcome scenario possible for one lump sum. In this case, that would mean separate parlays of Lakers (-9.5)-Lakers/Mavericks over 222.5; Lakers (-9.5)-Heat (+6); and Heat (+6)-Lakers/Mavericks over 222.5.
Betting Slips and Odds Calculations
Among the most useful things your betting slip does is calculate the odds on your wagers.
Sure, you'll see the lines for each individual bet on various sportsbook pages. But your ticket is where you can concretely see how much you stand to win depending on your investment.
This is super valuable when you're building parlays and round robins. You cannot calculate the returns to these multi-line wagers on your own. It's too difficult. Luckily, your betting slip does quick math. Simply plug in how much you plan to put on the line and you should see something along the lines of two boxes that show you how much you're risking relative to your potential.
Some bettors will even use their betting slips to assemble hypotheticals. They may be unsure as to whether a moneyline wager or parlay transaction is worth the cost entry. By inputting the lines into the bet slip and then entering an amount they'd be willing to invest, they can tell how much they may possibly profit. You can even fiddle around with how much money you're risking, as long as you haven't hit submit, to see how starkly increases or decreases in the amount you're gambling impacts the possible payout.
Betting Slips are Your Receipt
Perhaps the best thing about betting slips is that they function as a means to both review and record your wagers.
Double-checking the gambles you intend to place is paramount, particularly if you're doing more than on transaction or including more than one line. You may have read the odds incorrectly on a previous page. Or you might have selected the wrong line by mistake. Failing that, if you poked around your sportsbook website after choosing a wager, the odds might have changed. That happens all the time.
Taking stock of your betting slip before hitting submit will ensure you catch any mistakes. And it's important to re-read it yourself. Sportsbooks will alert you to odds changes, but you can't always count on their being adjustments. Many don't typically ask you for confirmation after you hit submit.
Equally important, once you finalize and push through your bet slip, it serves as your receipt. You can use it to keep track of which wagers you placed and how they ended up faring, a particularly valuable use if, like many others, you're playing a few lines at a time.