What Does Plus 1 Mean In Betting?

Understanding how plus betting works is crucial to understanding American betting odds properly – especially when wagering on the handicap sports betting markets.

Our experts will explain what plus-and-minus betting means and give you all the information you need to make informed decisions when placing these types of bets. 

What Is Plus One Handicap Betting?

When you place bets on top US online sportsbooks, you’ll often come across odds that are presented differently than odds in other parts of the world. 

Philadelphia 76ers - Brooklyn Nets odds

You’ll spot a plus (+) or minus (-) sign frequently used, which raises the question: What does plus and minus mean in betting?

The answer is simple: understanding American odds in a moneyline bet is not complicated. The plus and minus symbols in American odds carry different meanings, depending on whether they represent odds or a point spread.

In odds, these symbols show how much you have to bet to win a specific amount of money. Regarding spreads, they indicate the handicap used to level the playing field between teams. 

Reputable sportsbooks handle the calculations for your potential winnings, so you do not usually need to use an external plus-minus betting calculator.

We’ll explore further below, breaking down how to interpret American odds and gain a clearer understanding of plus/minus in handicap betting.

Plus 1 Meaning In Handicap Betting

A handicap is essentially used to level the playing field in a sports match or race. After the game ends, goals, runs, or points can be added to the score to determine a theoretical handicap result and even the competition.

For example, in games with a clear favorite, a handicap can be added to that team, giving the other team an equal chance of success.

You will see a +1 handicap in sports such as when you are betting on soccer and hockey, where ties are possible. 

If you place a +1 handicap bet on Team A in a match where they are the underdogs against Team B, a fictitious goal or point will be added to Team A.

Essentially, this means the bet will win as long as Team A doesn’t lose. Even in the event of a tie, the bet will still win with the side having a plus-one betting handicap.

How Does Plus Handicap Betting Work?

The handicapper’s main job is to balance the betting odds, aiming for near-even money. They achieve this by predicting the game’s outcome, with the handicap representing the difference in skill between teams.

However, sometimes, the spread may not accurately reflect the actual advantage or disadvantage of one team over the other. This happens when a significant amount of money is bet on one side, prompting a bookmaker to adjust the spread.

To beat the handicap spread, it’s crucial to monitor the lines as soon as they’re released. If the spread changes, it indicates a large amount of money has been wagered, and the initial odds may no longer be accurate. 

For instance, if a team was initially -2.5 and is now -1.5, the spread has moved, offering less value since you have fewer points to work with.

In this situation, betting on the other side may provide better value, but doesn’t mean the bet will win. 

For example, a “fair” line of +1.5 could now be an inflated line of +2.5 with the same odds.

What Does Minus 1 In Betting Mean?

You can also bet on a team with a -1 handicap instead of a +1 handicap.

Now that you understand what a +1 means, it is easy to understand what a -1 means because it is simply the opposite. You can use this minus betting to boost the odds of a favorable team beating a team they are expected to win comfortably against.

Taking the example from earlier, if you place a -1 handicap bet on Team B in a match against a team they are expected to beat in Team A, a fictitious goal or point will be deducted from Team B.

This means you are essentially betting on Team B to win the match by more than one goal. Thus, the bet wins if Team B wins 2-0, 3-1, or by any other margin of two or more goals. 

However, if Team B loses, the match ends in a draw, or if they win by just one goal, the bet loses.

An Example Of A Plus 1 Betting Opportunity

The following example is from an upcoming soccer match between Manchester United and Everton.

3-way Handicap

Manchester United is the favorite to win the match, but if you think Everton could get a result (win or draw), you can place a +1 on Everton.

This means that if Everton wins or draws, the bet will win because Everton gets a fictitious goal added to their final score. If the game ends 0-0, your +1 on Everton will win you the bet. This is because, with your handicap +1, the game, in effect, ends Everton 1-0 Man Utd.

However, if Manchester United wins the match—whether that’s 1-0, 2-0, or by any margin—the bet will lose because, at best, your +1 on Everton will tie the match.

Plus 1 Betting Works The Same Across Many Sports

Meanwhile, in football, handicap betting is often called “point spread,” but the concept remains the same.

Let’s use an upcoming NCAA game to show how plus betting in football works.

Texas - Michigan Spread

Here, the handicap line is set at 4 in favor of Texas, with a minus next to their name. The market considers Texas to be 3 points better than Michigan, so in handicap betting, Texas starts with a 3-point advantage.

A bet on Texas -4 is successful if they win by more than four points. Similarly, a bet on Michigan +4 pays out if they win the game or lose by no more than three points.

If Texas wins by exactly four points, bets on both sides of the handicap are refunded ‘push’ because the handicap line wasn’t surpassed.

You’ll often come across handicap lines with a .5 number, which is popular because it prevents a push and ensures that one side will beat the handicap line by at least one point.

This is because there can’t be 0.5 points or goals scored.

Best US Sports For Plus 1 Betting

We’ve provided a solid overview of plus-minus betting, but it can vary a bit depending on the sport. Now, let’s delve into the specifics: What does plus betting mean for the most well-known American sports?

NFL Plus Betting

In the NFL, you’ll encounter plus and minus symbols across various betting odds and markets, such as point spreads, moneylines, totals, prop bets for teams and players, and other common wager types. 

When it comes to spreads, these symbols show point handicaps between teams. For odds, they indicate potential winnings and signal the likelihood of different betting outcomes – less or more probable.

NBA Plus Betting

In the NBA, plus/minus symbols mean the same as in the NFL. They can indicate a spread or the odds for any regular wager.  Understanding the various odds types and spreads for basketball games follows the same principles.

MLB Plus Betting

Again, there’s no big change when it comes to understanding Major League Baseball odds and lines

However, it’s crucial to note that MLB doesn’t use points; instead, scoring is expressed in runs. You might come across “run lines” instead of point spreads, but they essentially convey the same idea.

NHL Plus Betting

The NHL, similar to baseball, uses goals instead of points for game scoring. 

Just like in MLB, you won’t find a point spread; instead, it’s often referred to as a “puck line.” However, this doesn’t change how you interpret plus/minus lines and odds.

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