How does betting on basketball underdogs work?

When placing a bet on basketball, one of the options is to bet on which team will win, either outright or with a spread (handicap).

When placing a money line bet on the underdog, gamblers wager to win more than double their stake. For example at (+150) a gambler who places a $100 bet will receive $250 in return, which includes their risk amount.

More money can be won in these markets when bettors place wagers on money-line underdogs that are considered vastly inferior to their opponent.

When placing a bet on an underdog with a point-spread, or handicap, gamblers will bet on the team that will be receiving an amount of points added to the final score. For example, a wager on Team A at (+5) would be considered a winner if Team A is able to stay within four points of the opposing team. A tie can occur, as well. Many of these wagers are offered at a near-even proposition with just the house juice (or vigorish) added, such as $110 to win $100 (total payout ($210).

It is often considered wise, or sharp, to consider wagering more often on underdogs. The perception is that the general public often prefers to wager on the favored teams, therefore creating an inflated market price on those teams expected to win, giving underdogs a possible edge in sports betting markets, although this is not exclusively the case.

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