It wasn’t that long ago when Las Vegas was the place to be for betting on sports legally. Sin City had the market to itself for decades, earning the title of sports betting capital of the US. The odds from Vegas served as the first and last word for sports bettors.
These days, the situation is different. A growing number of states have legalized sports betting, including Iowa. Leading sportsbooks are operating in numerous locales, and they’re having little trouble attracting business.
The odds out of Vegas have slightly diminished in importance as a result, but they’re still generally viewed as the gold standard across the industry. Is there anything to that or is it based on nostalgia? Do Vegas odds still serve as the benchmark for the entire industry?
We have the answers to those questions and more. In this guide, we’ll take a detailed look at the numbers coming out of the desert and how they stack up compared to online options here in Iowa.
Sports betting was officially legalized in Nevada in 1949. Ever since then, oddsmakers in Las Vegas have released lines on thousands of games and events. When the conversation turned to which team was the favorite, Vegas was where everyone looked for answers.
When a game has at least a decent amount of interest is on tap, Vegas sportsbooks will unveil numbers. These include odds for NFL and NBA games, golf and UFC events, and even rugby or table tennis.
The standard listing for team-based sports includes odds for the major bet types: moneylines, point spreads and totals. Beyond the basics, you’ll see odds for futures and props. The individual sports will also have odds for a wide range of bet types.
A single glance at the odds board will reveal the favored outcome. After a little bit of seasoning, you can glean potential payouts for winning bets and which way the money is flowing by reviewing the numbers.
There are many sportsbooks out in the desert, including William Hill locations, destinations such as Westgate, and various smaller shops. Each of them will attract a share of the action while fans and bettors view the odds.
In May 2019, legal sports betting received the green light in Iowa. Retail and online sportsbooks opened for business the following August. The state has attracted several industry leaders, including DraftKings and PointsBet.
Sports betting is booming in the Hawkeye State, and the competition among sportsbooks in Iowa is lively. While many factors influence which books attract the most customers, the odds play a big part.
Information is fairly easy to come by these days, so you can quickly research what a “fair” number is for a game that interests you. Market action can influence odds at individual shops, but there’s generally a ballpark range that’s considered acceptable.
Thankfully, the odds that Iowa sportsbooks are releasing are in line with what the overall betting market supports. That doesn’t mean that the numbers will be the same as what you’ll find in Vegas, but it does mean that the oddsmakers march to the same drummer.
In a case where a book is “off” on a line for a game, the betting market will usually help to bring it back into line rather quickly. It’s good practice to review the Vegas odds and opening numbers as part of your research, but you’ll find comparable odds here in Iowa.
To grasp what you should be looking for when comparing sports betting odds, it’s helpful to know the basics. When you come across the average game listing, you may see something like this:
|Minnesota Vikings||+2.5 (-110)||+140||O 47.5 (-110)|
|Chicago Bears||-2.5 (-110)||-120||U 47.5 (-110)|
The two teams set to face off will be listed with a series of numbers next to their names. These are the odds and lines for three main bet types: point spread, moneyline and totals. For this game, the Chicago Bears are 2.5-point favorites and favored on the moneyline in a game with a projected total of 47.5 points.
When reading the lines, you can quickly determine the favorite by looking for the negative number on the spread or moneyline. Odds are posted with a negative number for the favored outcome, and a positive number for the underdog in the contest.
For the spread and total, there’s the number set by oddsmakers — 2.5 and 47.5, respectively, in our example — and then the actual odds for the wager, which is at -110 across the board. The odds for all three bet types will adjust in response to the public betting action.
When you compare the numbers at various sportsbooks, you’ll want to see how the spreads and totals stack up, as well as what the odds are for each bet type. There may be half-point differences or more and potentially some ticks of difference on the actual odds.
While that may not sound like a big deal, it certainly can be. Many an NFL wager has been decided by a half-point in one direction or the other, while the odds will have a direct impact on your bottom line.
The comparison process is the same for all team sports, but keep in mind that the spread bet is different for MLB and NHL games. The concept is the same — the side you choose has to cover the spread — but it’s called a run line in MLB and a goal line in the NHL.
If you’ve been around sports betting long enough, then you’ve come to learn that oddsmakers at leading sportsbooks are quite good at what they do. While there are always games that may go off script, there’s also a great deal that fall within the range of the numbers that sportsbooks release.
Out in Las Vegas, the top oddsmakers and sportsbooks have lots of experience doing what they do. When a line is released to the public for betting, you can rest assured that the sportsbook has considered everything that may impact the outcome.
To that end, we can confidently say that the odds are accurate in terms of the most likely scenario for a game or event. However, even the best oddsmakers can’t see the future. Anything can and will happen once athletes step onto the field of play, so there will always be results that even the most experienced folks weren’t expecting.
Since the Iowa sports betting odds have been comparable to Vegas since legalization in 2019, all of the same applies. The oddsmakers from Vegas may be more well-known across the industry, but plenty of talented folks set the lines in the other legal betting states. Their overall accuracy level has also proven to be pretty darn good.
As the top attraction at the betting window, NFL game odds attract a lot of attention. The fact that there’s an extended period of time in between games opens up even more time for analysis and scrutiny. From the initial release right up until kickoff, hordes of bettors and analysts will examine lines for NFL games.
Even though Vegas now has company in the sports betting sphere, the initial release of a week’s worth of NFL lines from the top shops in Sin City remains a highly anticipated event. While no rule says Vegas tends to set the market, other sportsbooks across the nation tend to be in close proximity to Vegas numbers.
As sports betting continues to go mainstream, references to betting numbers are on the rise on various platforms. Passing references to betting odds appear on the airwaves and the internet with an eye toward where the latest numbers from out in the desert stand.
On the local level, it’s more about what the lines are at the shops where you can legally and safely place your bets. The top sportsbooks have been on point with NFL odds to date. While there may be a more attractive number elsewhere, that can generally be chalked up to betting action.
Also, keep in mind that what you view as more appealing may be completely different from the way that another bettor sees things. Your concern should be about getting odds that are fair and in line with the overall market.
You’ll find that many Iowa sportsbooks do a great job on that front, but always remember that what’s fair or not ultimately comes down to how you see it. If a situation ever comes up in which you don’t like the numbers on an available bet, you can always skip that bet.
The Super Bowl is the biggest betting event of the year. For decades, fans across the nation were teased with the odds coming out of Vegas. Unfortunately, there weren’t legal options for many folks to explore. Today, that’s no longer an issue.
Back in the day, the Vegas numbers on the Super Bowl were quickly out there as soon as the matchup became official. Even when chatter about betting was taboo in mainstream circles, there were still plenty of references to which side was favored to win the game. When the numbers were being discussed, the conversation was about the odds out of Vegas.
In more recent times, the Vegas numbers for the Super Bowl still hold water. The leading sportsbooks in Sin City are more than ready once the matchup is official.
For bettors in legal sports betting state, the release of the numbers is no longer anything more than a gigantic tease. Sportsbooks in their state will provide odds for the Super Bowl quickly as well. Generally speaking, the numbers are fairly similar across the industry, at least upon initial release.
There’s a big run-up to the Super Bowl and plenty of time for betting action to come in. As a result, you’ll spot points of difference here and there when you shop at various sportsbooks and compare them to the numbers out in Vegas.
You’ll find odds in the same ballpark for the main bet types, but there’s a good chance you’ll find differences on the plethora of Super Bowl prop bets. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as you can always shop around for the best prices on props. You can even compare them to the Vegas lines to see which local books are the most in line.
The second-most popular sport for betting at online sportsbooks is the NBA. From the first tipoff of the regular season to the last game of the NBA Finals, there’s strong interest in hoops at sportsbooks. The marketplace is well-served as odds are released for all games on the docket.
Unlike the NFL, NBA games are a regular thing. During the season, there are nights when every team in the league is in action, and others when only a handful are playing. Regardless of what the situation may be, the odds will be waiting for you.
Odds for NBA games will generally come out no later than the morning of the game, but you may also see them the day before in some spots. Since there’s a limited time from the initial release up until tipoff, there’s less time for analysis. However, that doesn’t mean that the numbers will stand still.
You can expect to see movement in the odds, especially for the most heavily bet games of the day, such as nationally televised contests and marquee matchups. This applies both in Vegas and at the local sportsbooks in Iowa.
Much like the NFL, you’ll find that the odds here at home are right in range with what the sportsbooks in Sin City have to say. There’s no way for everyone to be the same all the time due to market action, but you’ll find that the lines are comparable.
You can always compare and contrast with the Vegas numbers for a good sense of the overall market. From there, be sure to shop around at Iowa sportsbooks to find the best numbers for the games you want to wager.
There’s no centralized location that sets the market for all sportsbooks across the nation. That said, the numbers that come out of Sin City garner a lot of attention. Sportsbooks in other markets are doing a fine job on the odds front, with the numbers comparable to what you’ll find out in Vegas. The sportsbooks in Vegas still hold lots of cachet, but the overall marketplace changes dramatically in the new legal environment.
You can easily view the betting odds from Las Vegas from wherever you are. A number of sites list the numbers from all the leading shops for comparison purposes. However, in order to bet on those numbers, you would have to physically be in Nevada to do so. The good news is that there are plenty of legal options here in Iowa. The numbers you’ll find here are right in range with what’s in Vegas.
For decades, Vegas was the only spot for legal sports betting in the US. As a result, the odds from there came to be viewed as the end-all and be-all when it came to sports betting. Today, the overall landscape is changing rapidly. The odds from Sin City deserve to be viewed and respected, but they’re no longer the only word.
Futures and props are wagers where you can find some variance among sportsbooks. This is true in Vegas and here in Iowa, and also applicable when you compare overall numbers from the two markets. In terms of what’s better, that ultimately comes down to how the individual bettor perceives the numbers. What one bettor views as a good opportunity, and another may ignore it. You should always shop around to compare, and you can use the odds from Vegas sportsbooks as a baseline for comparison purposes if you wish.
No, the only sportsbooks that you can legally place bets with here in Iowa are those that are regulated by the state. Iowa has attracted a number of industry leaders, all of whom have gone through a lengthy application process while investing heavily in the state. Per state law, online and mobile betting is permitted with these sportsbooks as long as you are located within state lines. To place a bet with a Vegas sportsbook, you would have to be in Nevada to do so.