To determine what the figures mean when reading a basketball money line, American sports gamblers should look for the respective plus (+) or minus (-) symbol next to the given number.
The team with the minus (-) Odds
The team with the minus (-) in front of their price is the favorite and is expected to win the game. Bettors are asked to lay a certain amount in order to receive a lesser return.
For example, if the Warriors are -250 to win a particular game straight-up (outright winner), a bettor would have to risk $250 to win $100. The return would be $350, the $250 stake amount plus the $100 win.
An underdog in that scenario may return +200 (or better depending on the given oddsmakers’ margins which can vary from sportsbook to sportsbook) to win the game straight-up (outright winner). A bettor would have to risk $100 to win $200. The return would be $300, the $100 stake amoung plus the $200 win).
The separation of the bookmakers’ margin will increase as the margin of favoritism grows.
For example, while a closely rated game may have a favorite of -130 with an underdog takeback (win) of +110, a more lopsided contest may show a favorite of -500 with a takeback (win) of +400. These margins can vary from sportsbook to sportsbook.
The figures can change during the wagering period leading up to the game, however, once a bettor places a wager at a given price, that bet is locked in at the resulted odds at the time of the bet.