A straight bet is by far the most common bet.
You typically place a straight bet on spreads or totals. As a recap, remember that with a spread you are betting on whether the favored team (or underdog) will exceed expectations.
Betting on the Spread
It might be easy for the public to know that Team Blue is a better team than Team Red. What you’re betting on as a bettor is: will they be winning the game by more points than expected?
And that’s where things get tougher and tougher. Oddsmakers try to set a spread that is going to put a sufficient penalty on the favorite team that forces bettors to ask themselves not just if a team is better than another team, but if the favorite to win is that much better than the other team.
Betting on the Total
For every game out there, oddsmakers set a spread and they set a point total. The way that you would see this written is from the perspective of the favorite: Team Blue -10 = 37. It would read as, “Team Blue is a ten point favorite and the total of the game will be 37.”
With a straight bet, bettors can say if they think Team Blue will win by more than ten points OR they can place an over/under bet. Do they think the total points scored will be over or under 37 points? Betting the total is one of the easiest bets out there (and great for amateur bettors!) because it’s incredibly straightforward.
Remember that oddsmakers know the public prefers to root for high scoring games and love to bet the over!
The point total that oddsmakers set is always going to be slightly higher than what they actually think will happen in the matchup.
A straight bet is not tied to or dependent on anything else—it’s one aspect of the match-up that you’re placing a bet on.