US Bookies – things to be aware of
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Strictly speaking there are no US books, only “US facing” books, because online gambling is illegal in many parts of the USA. Confusingly many US facing books do appear to accept customers from the USA and the markets and types of bets that they offer are geared towards the American market. I am not 100% certain how legal all of this is from an American point of view and I do know that some top people from bookmaking firms have been prosecuted in America.
WARNING- Betting at US facing books risks the US government confiscating your funds. They do not care that you are not a US citizen. Proceed at your own risk.
One of the main charactaristics of US facing books is that they often offer large bonuses both for signups and reloads. These can look very tempting indeed, but are full of traps for the unwary. Big bonuses have very big WRs and you should not attempt one of these unless you have a very big bankroll that you can afford to tie up for some time.
READ THE T&Cs
As always, t&cs vary widely from one book to another and even between different bonuses at the same bookie. Make sure that you are reading the ones that match the bonus you want to do. Some of the things that may catch you out are:
Requirements to keep your money there for at least a month, even if you have completed the WR.
WR may be calculated on the lower of the stake and the odds, it is sometimes not clear if this is the case even if the bet loses.
There may be restrictions on which sports or markets count towards the WR.
Horse racing is an absolute minefield – odds are tote only and “racebook” bets usually don’t count for WRs. AVOID.
Even the odds look unfamiliar. You will see odds quoted such as +110 or -250. Converting American odds to decimal odds is not difficult:
If the odds are positive (odds against), add 100 and divide by 100 so +110 becomes 2.1.
If the odds are negative (odds on), divide 100 by the American odds and add 1, so -250 becomes 1.4.
There are some betting terms used by US bookies which are totally unfamiliar to UK punters. These are some of the most important:
Action – Any wager; The total amount bet, either from the bettor’s point of view or that of the house. In baseball, placing a bet regardless who pitches. “No action” means no bet (bet voided).
Dog – the team perceived to be most likely to lose.
Exotic – any wager other than a straight bet or parlay – also called a prop or proposition.
Future – odds are posted in advance on the winners of various major events including the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Stanley Cup, and the NBA Championship this is called a Future bet.
Juice – The bookmaker’s commission on a losing bet, also known as “vigorish.”
Line – the current odds or point spread on a particular event.
Listed Pitchers – a baseball bet which will be placed only if both of the pitchers to start a game actually start. If they don’t, the bet is cancelled. All baseball bets at Betfair are Listed Pitchers.
Middle – to win both sides of the same contest in sports betting event. Wagering on the underdog at one point spread and the favorite at a different point spread and winning both sides. Sometimes it is possible to dutch points spreads between 2 bookies to win both sides on the middle spread.
Money line – odds expressed in terms of money. With money odds, whenever there is a minus (-) you lay that amount to win a hundred pounds, where there is a plus (+) you get that amount for every hundred pounds wagered. Moneyline odds are often referred to as American odds. Moneyline refers to odds on the straight-up outcome of a game with no consideration to a point spread.
No action – A wager in sports betting in which no money is lost nor won.
Off the board – a game on which the bookmaker will not accept action.
Official Line – The line that the bookmaker uses for wagering purposes. The line which comes from Las Vegas is quite often referred to as the official line; however, the line that your bookie offers you is actually your “official line.”
Parlay – a bet with two or more teams in which all teams must win or cover for the bettor to win and receive higher payouts.
Pick ‘em – When neither team is favored. Also called a “pick” in sports betting terms. Denoted PK and similar to draw no bet .
Pointspread – The pointspread – also called “the line” – is used as a margin to handicap the favorite team. The oddsmaker – also called the handicapper – “gives” points (or goals) to the underdog – for betting purposes only. The bettor must take either the favorite or the underdog. The favorite is always indicated by a minus sign (e.g. -8.5) and the underdog by a plus sign (e.g.+8.5). For betting purposes, the outcome of the game is determined by taking the actual game score and finding the difference between the scores of the two teams playing (called the pointspread or just the “spread”).
Prop (Proposition) Bet – a special wager offered by the sports book on unique and various topics. These wagers can be on sporting events, politics, and even trial outcomes. The wagers use the money line format of pay off odds and might included who scores the first touchdown in the super bowl, who will win the next presidential election, or whether or not O. J. will be found guilty.
Puckline – giving odds of a goal spread instead of using a Canadian Line in hockey, where both a goal spread and money line are played.
Push – When the contest ends with no winner or loser for wagering purposes.
Run line – In baseball a spread used instead of the money line.
Spread – A spread in sports wagering is the predicted scoring differential between two opponents as quoted by a sportsbook. See “point spread.”
Straight bet – a wager on just one team or horse.
Teaser – A teaser is a special type of parlay in sports betting in which you adjust the point spread or total of each individual play. The price of moving the point spread (teasing) is lower pay off odds winning wagers.
Tie – a wager in which no money is lost nor won because the teams’ scores were equal to the number of points in the given line.
Total – The combined amount of runs, points or goals scored by both teams during the game, including the overtime.
Asian handicaps are most commonly available for soccer matches. Asian handicaps may also be used for other sports such as football, baseball, basketball, hockey, and any other event where a pointspread/handicap is used.
An Asian handicap operates in a similar way to the traditional handicap. But there is a guarantee of funds being won or lost on each selection. There will be two handicaps listed for a game.
Arsenal -½, -1 -130
Chelsea +½, +1 +110
If you select Arsenal and risk $260 to win $200, your actual bets would be Arsenal -½ -130 $130 to win $100, and Arsenal -1 -130 $130 to win $100.
If Arsenal wins by two or more goals, you would win both halves of your selection. The profit would be $200.
If Chelsea wins the game or the match ends in a draw, you would lose both halves of the selection. The loss would be $260.
If Arsenal wins the match by exactly one goal, you would win the -½ goal selection and push on the -1 goal selection. The profit would be $100.
If you select Chelsea and risk $200 to win $210, your actual bets would be Chelsea +½ +110 $100 to win $110, and Chelsea +1 +110 $100 to win $110.
If Arsenal wins by two or more goals, you would lose both halves of your selection. The loss would be $200.
If Chelsea wins the game or the match ends in a draw, you would win both halves of the selection. The profit would be $220.
If Arsenal wins the match by exactly one goal, you would lose the +½ goal selection and push on the +1 goal selection. The loss would be $100.
Totals can also have split offerings, and work similar to Asian handicaps. For example, if a player bets Arsenal/Chelsea game under 2½, 3 -110, half the bet would be under 2½, and half would be under 3. Just like the Asian handicap on the side of a match, a player could win/lose all or half of their bet depending on the outcome of total goals.
Below is part of a typical football coupon illustrating some of the common features of US books – this is copied from Pinnacle. The first match has a split asian (0.5,1), moneyline (team 1, team 2, draw), and over/under 3 goals. The 2nd match has draw no bet, moneyline and over/under 2.5 goals. The 3rd match has a split asian 0, 0.5, moneyline and a split total goals where half goes on over/under 2 and half on over/under 2.5 goals.
|Sat 3/27||1501||Bayern München||-0.5 and -1 -105||-135||OVER 3 +113|
|07:30 AM||1502||VfB Stuttgart||+0.5 and +1 -103||+433||UNDER 3 -125|
|Sat 3/27||1504||FSV Mainz 05||pk +109||+193||OVER 2.5 -117|
|07:30 AM||1505||VfL Wolfsburg||pk -118||+158||UNDER 2.5 +106|
|Sat 3/27||1507||Hannover 96||pk and -0.5 +102||+136||OVER 2 and 2.5 -106|
|07:30 AM||1508||FC Köln||pk and +0.5 -110||+235||UNDER 2 and 2.5 -104|
This can be a useful wayof completing the WR at some US books, since many of the lines they offer have only 2 outcomes. You should always make sure before you start that the rules at the 2 books are exactly the same (with the exception of “middles” – see above) and that the line you are betting on counts towards your WR. You also need to be certain that both books will accept the desired stakes and there is some risk that one of them will change the line when you ask for the wager.
There is a 2-way dutching calculator in the Spreadsheet Library and more information on dutching in this post.
Forum discussion of this post fromBetSeventyTwo
US books – for experienced players by corner123 » Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:56 am
Many US bookies offer big bonuses both for new accounts and reloads. These can look very tempting, but most have large WRs and there can be odd rules. I will be writing a detailed post about these shortly, which I will link to from here. In the meantime, be aware that US bookies have a bewildering variety of different markets, different looking odds, different terminology and frequently bizarre rules. NEVER bet on horse racing at US bookies – the odds are tote odds and normally “racebook” bets do not count for the WR and may even void your bonus.
ALWAYS CHECK AND DOUBLE CHECK THE TERMS OF THE BONUS.
You need a large bank to do these bookies, and your money may be tied up for a very long time.
by Darren » Sat Mar 27, 2010 9:13 am
Thanks Corner. To be honest not done many myself but do see these as a little pet project we could start running with a some point. Dutching is the way to go as you can play one offer off against another and cut out the betting exchange at the same time.
by wilfred » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:18 pm
Great post Corner.
I’ve just started using Pinnies to dutch with UK books where I have w/r. Most times better than exchanges but have to consider gubbing!!
Forum discussion from BetSeventyTwo
Explain the term “pk” by ArbWizard » Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:21 pm
Many North American Bookie Lines use the expression “pk” in spread bets. Is my understanding correct? This is equivalent to an Asian handicap bet of (0) and if the match is a draw, one gets ones stake back? Pk means Pick, I believe.
by Darren » Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:05 pm
Yes that is right. “PK” does stand for “pick”. So there is no point spread, i.e treat both teams as a +0.
So you are betting on the team winning the game or event.
Vikings PK (-110)
Packers PK (-110)
In this example, a wager on the Vikings means that you are betting they will win the game. You must bet $110 to win $100.
by ArbWizard » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:58 pm
And if it’s a draw, you get your money back?
by corner123 » Fri Mar 26, 2010 7:59 am
I’m in the process of looking at US books in more detail, and must admit I had never heard of this term. A bit of research has unearthed the following:
When there is no favorite team (both teams are considered to have an equal chance of winning the contest) the ‘point spread’ is a ‘PK’ (‘Pick’ or ‘pick’em’) in which case there is no point spread. In a ‘PK’ you may wager on either team to win risking $110 to win $100. If the team wagered upon wins, your wager is a winner.
– The pointspread – also called “the line” – is used as a margin to handicap the favorite team. The oddsmaker – also called the handicapper – “gives” points (or goals) to the underdog – for betting purposes only. The bettor must take either the favorite or the underdog. The favorite is always indicated by a minus sign (e.g. -8.5) and the underdog by a plus sign (e.g.+8.5). For betting purposes, the outcome of the game is determined by taking the actual game score and finding the difference between the scores of the two teams playing (called the pointspread or just the “spread”).
I find this somewhat confusing since I have also unearthed this (from www.bookmaker.com):
8069 FULHAM FC PK+115 o2½+110 +175
8070 HULL CITY PK-155 u2½-150 +140
Draw – – +215
where the odds are clearly not +110 and -110.
This looks very much like a 0 asian handicap to me, ie draw no bet, and I confirmed with the live chat on bookmaker.com that a draw is a push/no action (ie no bet). It is probably wise to check that this is also the case at a few other bookies if you want to use this sort of bet. (The bookmaker.com freeplay rules about bonuses state: If a free play is used in a specific wager whose outcome is a push or a tie, the free play is lost, but this may simply be referring to the fact that freeplay is SNR and if you bet on this type of thing with it you don’t get another one.)
by Alex Buchanan » Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:33 am
Not the same, but similar to a spread bet where teams are matched evenly and the spread is “choice”, either team.
So, the supremacy spread would be -0.1 – 0.1, meaning that if the match ended in a draw, everybody would lose 0.1 times stake regardless of who they were with.
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