What Types of Sports Bets Are Available When Visiting Las Vegas


Nevada residents and visiting tourists to Las Vegas can wager on more sports and events each new year. Sportsbook operators see increased demand and will act quickly to offer many types of sports betting with the approval of gaming regulators. Sports to bet legally in Nevada include the following:

College football
College basketball
Baseball – MLB, some international competitions
Hockey – NHL, some international competitions
Soccer – MLS, International matches and competitions
Fighting – boxing, mixed martial arts
Auto racing – NASCAR, Indy and more
Horse and virtual horse racing
Canadian football

US Senator John McCain was pushing to remove all college games from the betting action in Nevada. McCain cited that Nevada gaming regulators must agree that there is some level of corruption in accepting college wagers if the state’s two major universities were blacked out from the betting menu.

The Nevada Gaming Commission responded by legalizing wagers on UNR and UNLV.

The law passed in 2001 included language that excluded wagers on “any amateur non-collegiate sport or athletic event.” This may have been to prevent high school sports and other loosely organized amateur events from finding their way onto the boards in Nevada. It also made betting on the Olympics illegal. This policy changed in 2015. Olympic sports betting is now legal in Nevada.

College football and basketball are the major sports offered by Nevada sportsbooks. Odds for other college sports may be available but are limited. Some books will make lines available for major events like the College World Series. What types of legal sports bets are available in Nevada include the following:

Point spread

The most common wager on a football or basketball game involves a point spread. This is a handicap that sets a favorite and requires that favorite team to win by a certain number of points. A bet on the underdog adds the number of points to that side.

A 5.5 (5 and one half) point favorite for the game would have to win by six to cover the point spread. The underdog would cover the spread if it lost by five or fewer points or won the game outright. Point-spread wagering is the same for quarters in basketball or halves in football.

The typical point spread wager is set at a -110 money line (see below) and requires the player to risk $11 for every $10 he hopes to win. A football game on 3 or 7 may have a larger money line. For example, a team may be listed as -3 -120. If the spread moves to -4 it would drop to -110 or lower.

Money line

A money line is when a bettor picks a side to win the game outright. This involves a money handicap as opposed to a point spread. A money line favorite will show as a minus. A two-to-one favorite will be -200 on the board. This means that a bettor risks $200 for every $100 he hopes to win or $20 to win $10.. The underdog on a -200 game would be about +170. This means that a $100 wager would win $170 if the underdog won outright. It determines your risk reward ratio.

Money lines are usually in addition to a point spread for football and basketball on the betting menu. Hockey, baseball, soccer, tennis and golf often only have a money line. These sports may also have an alternative small point spread. In baseball, that is called a run line (minus one and half runs). In hockey, it is a puck line (minus one and half goals).

Totals or Over/Under

A total wager is the number of points scored when the final score of both teams is added together. This is often called an over/under bet. For football and basketball, this number usually has the same -110 risk money odds as a straight bet. Baseball and hockey will usually include a money line with the total due to a low scoring pace and a half point is significant value.

Partial game lines

This is a growing area of wagering at Nevada sportsbooks. The lines and totals are only for action that takes place during a certain part of a game. These wagers can be fun for the bettor that wants to watch the wager, but can’t stay for the entire game. The partial game wagers can be for point spreads, totals or just a simple proposition. Some examples are:

Quarter of a football or basketball game
Half of a football or basketball game
First 5 innings of a baseball game
First inning of a baseball game
Hockey periods


Parlays come in many forms in Nevada sportsbooks. These bets always include two or more outcomes. A parlay is only paid if all wagers win. The more games in the parlay, the higher the parlay will payout. There are a large variety of parlay cards available at most Nevada sportsbooks. These cards can include ties win, ties lose, half-point, props and jackpots.

Parlay cards have two parts. The top part of the card is where the point spreads and totals are located. The bottom part of a parlay card must be filled out in pencil and handed to the ticket writer. An off-the-board parlay involves a bettor telling the ticket writer which games and sides he wants to parlay. These are paid based on the number of teams involved.

Parlay bets have become so popular that sportsbook operators now offer a growing number of cards during football season.


Like a parlay, a teaser involves two or more outcomes. This wager is different from a parlay because the bettor receives extra points on each line within the teaser. In football, a teaser may receive six points. That would make a two-point underdog an eight-point underdog. It would add this number to every leg of the teaser.

Teaser payouts are lower than parlays because of the adjusted point spread. It takes at least three teaser sides to bring the payout in line with a straight bet. A push drops the payout by one team unless the teaser card discloses that ties lose.

Round Robin

A round robin is a more simple way of betting multiple parlays all at one time. This is similar to boxing a number of horses for an exacta or trifecta in a horse race. The bettor will select between three and eight teams. Then the bettor will select the number of teams in each parlay.


Futures bets come in several forms. The most common one is when a bettor picks a team or individual to win a championship. For example, picking the Atlanta Falcons on a Super Bowl 52 futures bet would pay 10-1, depending on when the wager was made. There are futures to win the Super Bowl for all NFL teams. This kind of future may also involve a team winning a division, conference or league. A football bettor can choose a team to win the NFC South, AFC South, or either one of those conferences and every other division.

The same applies to other sports. The futures structure is also used in golf, tennis and NASCAR events on individual athletes. You can now wager on award winners for different sports. Baseball fans can wager on Cy Young and MVP for the season. College football fans can wager on the Heisman Trophy winner.

In-play or Live betting

Thanks to mobile sports wagering apps, in-play betting is one of the fastest growing types of wagering in Nevada. This is where a bettor places a wager on a game that is already in progress. The live line takes into account the current score and is based on the final outcome.

In-play wagers typically include point spreads, money lines and totals. These wagers permit players a way to get money on the game. It is also used for hedging and arbitrage purposes. Bettors watch for favorites to become underdogs or large middle positions to happen during the game.

Propositional wagers

These types of wagers are commonly called “props” for short. These are exotic bets that are based on outcomes that are not dependent on the full game. One example is the over/under on the number of passing or rushing yards by an individual or team in a football game.

Sportsbook operators are using these wagers to grow the betting menus almost every day. If something major happens in a sport, a related wager can be offered right away. A few years ago, Jake Arrieta threw a no-hitter for the Chicago Cubs. The next day there was a wager available if he would throw another.

These wagering opportunities are fun for the customer and generate publicity for the sportsbook. Books now take bets on the NFL and NBA drafts. The number of prop bets on Super Bowl 51 last year was 400. Will there be overtime was a prop that paid out at 16 to 1.


Pleasers are reverse teasers. While a teaser adds points to the spread, a pleaser takes them away. A pleaser bet may require a bettor to give up between 7 and 14 points on a football game. For example, a pleaser card would turn a seven-point underdog into a pick. A seven-point favorite would need to win by more than 14 to cover a pleaser. Ties often lose. Pleasers require multiple outcomes.

Pleasers are difficult to pick due to the massive disadvantage of giving up the points across multiple outcomes. But when they do hit, the winner collects 25 times his bet and more.

You will find some fantasy wagering options in some sportsbooks. The format is a pari-mutual style of payout based on player and team performance. Fantasy bets can be lucrative since they are similar to parlays but use a daily double, exacta and trifecta betting platform. Sports betting in Las Vegas has something for everyone and these betting venues called sportsbooks are a great experience for everyone to enjoy.