What Are Sides? Sports Betting Terms Explained

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When you get started with sports betting, one of the fundamental concepts you’ll encounter is “sides.” What exactly do these sides represent, and how do they impact your betting choices? Let’s embark on a journey to demystify the essence of sides in sports betting and uncover their profound influence on your wagering decisions.

Deciphering the Essence of Sides

In sports betting, sides refer to the key players in any given wagering event—the underdog and the favorite. These two sides epitomize the heart of the competition, forming the basis for your betting decisions.

  1. The Favorite: This side stands as the frontrunner, the team or participant expected to secure victory. Consequently, sportsbooks assign lower odds to the favorite due to their perceived advantage.
  2. The Underdog: On the flip side, the underdog is the contender seen as less likely to win. As a result, underdogs boast higher odds, reflecting the potential rewards for a successful wager.

In this example, Oregon holds the favorite status against USC, reflected in their -780 moneyline odds.

what are sides in sports betting

Sides and Their Influence on Betting

Understanding sides is instrumental in comprehending various facets of sports betting:

  1. Point Spreads: In many betting scenarios, sides are accompanied by point spreads, which aim to level the playing field. They handicap the favorite and provide an advantage to the underdog, fostering balanced betting.
  2. Moneyline Betting: Opting for moneyline betting entails choosing a side, either the favorite or the underdog, with the objective of predicting the outright winner. The odds associated with each side dictate your potential payout.
  3. Total Betting: Sides also play a role in total betting, where you forecast whether both teams’ combined score will exceed or fall short of a predetermined total. The performance of the favorite and underdog contributes to this total.

Strategies and Considerations

Unpacking the significance of sides equips you with valuable insights to craft effective betting strategies:

  • Research: Delve into team statistics, recent performances, injuries, and other pertinent factors to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each side.
  • Bankroll Management: Set your betting budget and allocate it judiciously between the favorite and underdog, taking into account their respective odds.
  • Risk Assessment: Evaluate your risk tolerance and wagering objectives when choosing between the favorite (lower risk, lower reward) and the underdog (higher risk, higher reward).
  • Market Dynamics: Keep a watchful eye on how the betting market influences odds on both sides. Early wagers may shape odds, presenting opportunities or signaling emerging trends.

Sides in sports betting encapsulate the essence of competition—favorites and underdogs. Your ability to analyze, strategize, and make informed choices based on these sides is pivotal in the dynamic realm of sports wagering. Whether you gravitate toward favorites or underdogs, comprehending both sides unlocks a universe of diverse betting possibilities.

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Griffin UlshGriffin Ulsh
Griffin Ulsh, a Journalism and Communications graduate from the University of Oregon, is the Customer Experience (CX) Manager at BettingHero.com. With a year at BH, Griffin transitioned from recruiting and sales in the book printing industry to customer experience with Betting Hero. He loves following college football and the NBA and enjoys digging into stats and insights for all sports to find stories to tell.