For a golf tournament you typically will find a long list of names and a number by each. The number is the odds to 1 of the corresponding golfer’s winning the tournament specified. If you bet $100 on a golfer being offered at 12:1 and your golfer wins the tournament, you will be able to cash your ticket for $1300, which is the $1200 you won plus your $100 bet being returned to you. If your golfer does not win the tournament, your $100 ticket is worthless.
Often down at the bottom of the list of names there will be a golfer named Field. “Field” is not really a golfer. Field means all the rest of the golfers except the ones who are listed individually. There will be an opportunity to bet the field only if there are more entrants in the tournament than there are individual golfers with odds listed for them. Other sports use field bets also; they are not restricted to golf.
You may also find golf matchups being offered. These are bets of one golfer against another. To win your bet, all your golfer has to do is beat the player he is matched against. Generally both golfers must tee off for your bet to have action; if one or both golfers don’t make it to the first tee of the first round, then bets on that match have no action and you get your money back.
You may also find golf bets being taken on the next major, even though it might be weeks or months away.
Sportsbooks show odds for almost any sport on which there is interest among bettors. Sporting events that involve two teams or individuals competing against each other, such as soccer, have a line for each team and perhaps a line on the total.
Sporting events in which there are a large number of individuals competing against one another, such as car racing and tennis, are shown on the boards in a similar manner to golf. Some individual participants are listed with odds, and all the rest of the participants are lumped together as a field. You might find matchups pitting two participants against each other.
In Nevada there generally are no bets taken on events that are decided by judges, such as figure skating or gymnastics. An exception is bets are taken on boxing. On the Internet, you can bet on almost anything.
Odds frequently vary from sportsbook to sportsbook, so shop around. If you shop at least a dozen independent sportsbooks before making your bet at the one with the best odds, the expected value of the tickets you cash will be around two percent higher than if you simply make your bets at a random sportsbook. Two percent does not sound like much, but when your total action hits $100,000, shopping around will have earned you $2000 in expected value.
Look around for better terms. Some Las Vegas sportsbooks offer football bets at -105 during certain hours, instead of the normal -110. Being able to bet at -105 instead of -110 is worth 2.2 percent on your action. Some Internet sportsbooks also offer bargain terms at certain times.
Here is an example of the value of shopping around. One day, the Fremont sportsbook in downtown Las Vegas posted the next day’s baseball game as Braves -122, Yanks +112. Meanwhile Plaza, just a block away, had Braves -135, Yanks +125. You could have bet the Yanks at the Plaza and the Braves at Fremont and locked in a small profit. Unfortunately you can’t earn very many dollars per hour taking advantage of arbitrage opportunities in Las Vegas.