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Black Shoe Degenerates: A Betting Primer

Here’s your guide on how to place wagers here and everywhere!

NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Georgia Tech Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The topic has come up a few times in the past few years, so here’s a crash course on what wagering is like how to do it. After all, in order to participate in Black Shoe Degenerates, you need to know which toilet to drain your money in! Below is a short list of common terms and what they mean when you see a line. Here goes!

  • Sides: This one is obvious. You have two teams playing against each other, and you pick one team or the other to do a specific thing. More often than not, said “thing” takes the form of...
  • Spread: A spread line is a given number of points Vegas will give teams as a handicap. For example, last week Florida, the favorite, was given a seven point handicap (-7). This means that Vegas has set the threshold of this line to a touchdown. More specifically, in order to win this wager, Florida would have had to beat Miami by at least eight points. Meanwhile, Miami (+7) only had to lose by 6 points or fewer in order to win your wager. As they lost by four, Miami was the winning wager. If a team wins by exactly the amount indicated in the spread, the wagers is consider a push (or tie), and the wager is canceled.
  • Moneyline: For those of you who don’t wager on a threshold of points, there’s something called the moneyline. Moneylines are your typical “I think this team will win the game” type wager. The tricky part about a moneyline is that, the heavier a favorite a team is, the higher the price (or vig) you pay when you pick a team. Of course, the opposite is true for an underdog. The bigger the underdog, the higher the payout.
  • Total: Like the spread, you can also place a wager on the total amount of points scored in a game. Like the spread, you can pick two sides. You can choose to go over the amount of points in the total, or under such points.
  • Favorite: As mentioned already, the favorite is the team Vegas thinks will win the game.
  • Underdog: Likewise, the team Vegas thinks will lose the game is generally called an underdog.
  • Juice/Vig: Vig, juice, or whatever it is called depending on who you ask, is the price you pay in order to make a wager. The price is formatted the same way as a spread. Typically, spread lines cost 10% of what you wager, but they can vary depending on what the odds of a game are, and what sport you’re wagering on. So when you see a (-110) next to a pick, that means that in order to win 100, you have to wager 110. On the other hand, if a wager is +110, it means for ever 100 wager, you get 110. Same concept applies to moneyline wagers.

That about does it! Let me know if you have any more questions in the comments.