Sports betting allows fans to win with their teams

Scott Nies

Sports bettors in Colorado were limited to betting on a lot of table tennis for the initial months of betting’s legalization. Now, with the National Basketball Association’s finals, the Major-League Baseball playoffs and professional and collegiate football in full swing, bettors have a much larger slate to choose from.

If you are new to sports betting, here are some key terms to know:


Odds: All odds are put in the context of a $100 bet. This does not mean that you have to bet $100 by any means, but it helps establish an easy baseline for mentally calculating payouts or losses. If the odds are -110, this means you would have to bet $110 to profit $100. If the odds are +110, this means if you bet $100, you would profit $110.

Spread: The point spread of a game indicates the amount of points a team must win or lose by rather than just a team specifically winning or losing.

For example, if the Colorado State men’s football team was a -6.5-point favorite against the University of Wyoming football team, it would mean that CSU is the favorite and would need to win by seven or more points in order for the bet to win. You could also bet the opposite of this, which would mean Wyoming is the +6.5-point underdog indicating that in order for the bet to win, Wyoming needs to lose by six or less points, tie or win.

Money-line (ML): If you do not want to wager on the point spread, you can always bet the team to win or lose straight up. This is called a money-line bet. If the odds have a “+” in front of them, that indicates the team is the underdog and if there is a “-,” that team is the favorite.

For example, if the CSU women’s basketball team was playing the University of Nevada women’s basketball team and CSU was a -450 favorite, that would indicate CSU as a significant favorite going in and you would need to bet $450 to profit $100. If you wanted to bet Nevada as the underdog at +450 and bet $100 and they won, you would profit $450.

Over/Under (O/U): Games will have a set line for the total point amount scored by both teams. This is the cumulative run total for baseball or point total for basketball and football. This one is quite simple: you either wager if you think the total will go over the line or under.

Parlay: If you have multiple wagers you are confident in, you can tie them together to create a single bet. Choosing to create a parlay often boosts the odds and the resulting payout significantly, but in order for the bet to win, every single one of your wagers within your parlay must hit.

I use the DraftKings sportsbook app, but there are multiple available for bettors in Colorado and each has their own unique benefits. I like DraftKings because their layout is easy to navigate and they offer lines on a wide variety of sports. No matter which bookie you choose, most sportsbooks are fairly similar with the odds they offer. 

It should also be noted that as the public bets, odds will change to reflect this. Thus, odds are subject to change prior to the start of games, although these changes are usually very minor.

If done as entertainment, sports betting can be fun, but be sure to know your limits and never bet outside them. If you feel you need help, call the National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700.


Scott Nies can be reached at or on Twitter @scott_nies98.