The infamous number 110 is a relative unknown for bettors accustomed to European style odds presented in either fractional or odds value.
But the US-oriented punters will be well-aware of the concept this critical number represents as it definitely is a major part of sports betting.
Usually displayed as -110 (minus 110), it is one of the most common occurrences in betting on sports such as American football and basketball, both at professional and college level. The minus 110 is an expression of odds and a form of a handicap in a point spread, which is generally devised to make both sides of the bet even.
What is -110?
Betting against the spread in two-way outcome sports is similar to betting on a coin-toss with 50-50 chances on it. Given the fact that bookies will never offer those kinds of favourable odds, the minus 110 in betting stands as an odds denominator.
Basically, the -110 money line stands as a form of vig or juice (the commission the bookmaker earns of bets wagered) meaning you need to invest $110 in order to win $100. To put it in a 50-50 chance perspective, betting $110 to win $100 puts a bookie in a position where it can’t lose.
Looking at the minus 110 from a bettors’ perspective, this magical number is like betting on a small moneyline typically with a spread to cover the number. Punters are always advised to shop around for offers in order to get themselves in a position to lay less to win the same amount or more, which is possible given the fact that some bookies will often drop the -110 to -105 in a nickel line to attract more bets.
On an opposite side of the spectrum are the -120 and even -130 bets you are advised to think through on a premium offer which makes sense as long as the bet wins.
How Does -110 Work?
In order to illustrate it more graphically, we’ll take a look at an NBA match between Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Let’s assume that Golden State Warriors are available at -12 (-110), whereas the Cleveland Cavaliers were given +12 (+110) point spread. These are designed to provide both teams with equal value and to make both sides equally attractive for bettors.
Betting on the -110 line means you are supporting the favourite to win by 12 points difference, which means you will invest $110 for every $100 you are looking to win out of this bet. Reduce it to two-digit numbers to simplify it, paying $10 for every $11 bet makes it evident why bookmakers are in business and making profit year-on-year.
From the bookmaker’s perspective, -110 makes it possible for them to win in the long run, whereas the same bet means bettors will have to do a little better than bookies to simply break even with juice being a big hurdle here.
Looking at it from a broader perspective, punters need to reach 52.4% wins to break even betting on -110. Anything over it is considered a profit and those who boast 53% or 57% can be considered successful bettors.