For someone only starting out in sports betting, the terms and formats it has can be overwhelming to learn. The American odds are particularly "unique" in this regard. While any other odds formats are pretty self-explanatory, the American odds introduce a bunch of things that aren't immediately obvious. The "+" and "-" (plus and minus signs) are the weirdest characteristics of them. Thankfully, it's very simple - let's take a look at what they mean.

This article will cover one aspect of betting odds. For a more comprehensive overview, check out our betting odds guide via the link!

**How to Read American Odds**

Bettors located in North America (or those who just prefer this particular way of displaying odds) should all know this format. It's common that we see something like this (odds taken from thunderpick.io):

Houston Rockets |
+160 |
-217 |
Cleveland Cavaliers |

Sometimes called Moneyline odds, this odds format represents the stake amount of $100 dollars bet on either team. It's a bit more complex than other odds formats but still easy. All you have to remember is:

- The positive odds (+) represent the potential profit in the case of a $100 bet.
- The negative odds (-) represent the amount of money required to be put down to get a $100 profit.

If we apply this logic here, we'll see that we would get $160 if we put down $100 on the **Rockets**, but we'll need to put down $217 for a chance to win $100 in the case of the **Cavaliers**. We can also tell that the Cavaliers are the favorites of the event, and the Rockets are the underdog - more about these terms via the link!

Additionally, remember that in American odds, the odds number doesn't include the initial wager. So, if you win a bet on the Rockets, you'd get $160 (as indicated by the odds) plus your initial stake of $100, for a total of $260.

Now we know what the common odds number of +200 represents - an underdog bet in American odds.

**Calculating Odds and Winnings**

Now we see how easy calculating winnings is. But there's an even easier way - like using an odds calculator! Calculate between all the popular odds types and see your winnings straight away with our easy-to-use calculator

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**Plus and Minus Symbols In Spreads**

Although they're called moneyline odds, they don't leave us even in spreads! They denote a similar thing as in moneyline bets here, too. Other betting odds formats also use plus and minus signs to denote point spreads - but with minor variations.

Spread bets, also known as handicaps, are wagers that aim to make betting on underdogs more accessible by giving them a virtual advantage in the bet.

In spreads, the minus sign means the point spread (or handicap) on the favorite, and the plus sign represents the point spread wager on the underdog. If we want to bet on point spreads on an American bookie, we would most likely see something like this (odds taken from betus.com). Note that in ice hockey betting, spread bets are called the "puck line."

Just looking at these odds, we can tell that the **Buffalo Sabres** are the favorites, while the **Detroit Red Wings** are the runner-ups (underdogs), although the match is pretty damn close! We see both forms of plus and minus symbols in this case. For instance, betting on Red Wings with a +1 1/2 handicap will be a high-chance wager, but the payout would be a measly $41 for every $100 bet.