The system in which you determine how much your bet will return at a sportsbook should your bet prove successful.

There are two major systems of odds.

The first is x to y. That is, for every y dollars you bet, the sportsbook will match you x dollars. Therefore, when something is unlikely, x is greater than y, but when something is very likely, y is greater than x. When something has an equal shot of happening as not happening, x is equal to y, at 1 to 1. These odds are not actually created based on the likelyhood of the event, but rather, the odds which will create the most bets on both sides.

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The other system is per 100 dollars.

For instance,

Lennox Lewis (-500)
Vs.
Some pasty white kid (1200)
In this circumstance, if you put up 100 dollars on the pasty white kid, and he wins, you'll get 1300 dollars back, for a profit of 1200. If you bet 500 dollars on Lennox Lewis, and he wins, then you get 600 dollars back. The - denotes the price to win 100 dollars back.

These lop-sided bets happen more often at rates like -220, which is still an awful bet. People think, "Well gee, Greg Maddux is -220 against the Marlins, so i'll have to put up -220, but it's a sure bet!", and a few times the underdogs actually win, and the morons who put up cash on -220 lose all of their cash!

Of course, sometimes, the sportsbooks make a bad bet, and lose millions of dollars.

But don't cry for vegas, they have millions more where that came from.

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