How Does a Bet Slip Work in a Sportsbook?

Man With Hand to Head THinking and Betting Slips on Left

You’re interested in sports betting, but you know nothing about it. You made the right decision by going online and at least looking to learn a thing or two about the sports betting universe before you logged into your app or entered a sportsbook. Today’s post covers the most essential item in the business.

The bet slip. Before you dive into straight bets, action bets, reverse action bets, parlays, and other good stuff in the sports betting world, you must first learn how to read a bet slip. Just as, for example, if you ever worked a job filling orders. You first needed to learn how to read the invoice.

The bet slip works in the same manner. The only difference is that in today’s world, the bet slip has gone digital. So if you know nothing about reading the bet slip, today’s post is a great place to begin.

Let’s look closer.

What Is a Bet Slip?

A bet slip is like a receipt you get after buying something at your local grocery store. However, unlike receipts, it’s never a good idea to throw them away or make them an afterthought after you bring your groceries indoors. Or, in this case, after you place your sports bet.

Think of your bet slip as a guide to the bet you just placed. That said, they’re more than just a review or a receipt of your most recent bet. For one, they serve several functions, such as an odds calculator, a way to build different bet types, and they allow you to double-check each gamble that you have made.

From this small overview, you can conclude that bet slips are more than just a piece of paper or a digital copy of your bet in the online sports betting world. But you must also realize that not only do such slips serve several functions, they are also not created equal.

In the following sections, we will further explain how different one betting slip is from the other as they pertain to different types of bets such as parlays, straight bets, etc.

Let’s look at each type of bet slip individually.


Let’s begin with how bet slips pertain to moneylines. If you’re unsure what a moneyline is, it’s the most straightforward bet you can make in a sportsbook. You have seen numbers in parentheses beside sports teams before, such as (-110). That’s the moneyline.

For a -110 moneyline, you must bet $110 just to win $100. You will also see something like this: +120. If there’s a plus instead of a minus sign, then to win $120, you would bet $100.

Football Field End Zone View, Sportsbook Moneylines

This is what you will find on your betting slip if you bet a moneyline. Say you bet on the Arizona Cardinals (-400) over the Houston Texans (+225).

Using the above example, both lines will show up on your betting slip after placing a bet. You can customize these numbers in some circumstances, but sportsbooks will make you pay extra to do so. So keep that in mind if you’re looking to change the current odds of any matchup.

Just like the fixed odds, the bet slip will reflect the change.

Round Robins

Round robins, and as you will also find out later in the post, parlays involve looping several bets into one. You will be able to build a round-robin right on your betting slip, so if you’re interested in doing so, you need to hold onto it.

On your betting slip, you will locate a button, which will feature a collection of lines from your bet, such as Cardinals (-10.5) v. Texans (+10.5)/over 47.5, and Packers (+4.5). Your betting slip will automatically allow you to select the round-robin option, which parlays everything into a “lump sum.”

Therefore, your bet slip allows your bet to look something like this: Cardinals (-10.5)/Cardinals-Texans over 47.5; Cardinals (-10.5)-Packers (+4.5), and Packers (+4.5) Cardinals/Texans over 47.5.

Complicated, right?

In the sports betting world, not only are bet slips not created equal, you can say the same for different types of bets. We’ve started with a straightforward bet for today’s post before pulling a 180 to show you how complicated bet slips can look.

However, most of the time, they’re relatively straightforward, as the following sections indicate.


Parlay bets seem to be a little more complicated, but they aren’t. And they also show you how important a bet slip is when you make a sports bet.

In the online betting world, you will see a button toward the top of your ticket to loop multiple outcomes together. The ticket would allow you to loop a parlay, such as Cardinals (-10.5) v. Texans (+10.5)/over 47.5, and Green Bay Packers (+4.5).

It’s fantastic that a bet slip allows you to do all of this at the push of a button. But be careful with parlays, as they’re all or nothing bets, and they can cost you substantially if you lose any of the bets in the above example.

Buccaneers in Formation on Left Sportsbook Moneylines on Right NFL Logo On Bottom Right Corner

So if you choose the Cardinals in both games here, plus the over, and the Packers end up celebrating a win at State Farm Stadium, you lost the entire bet. So if you’re iffy about the lines changing, the bet slip will alert you of them, and you can adjust accordingly.

Just as a heads up, however, is that it’s almost always impossible to cancel a bet after submitting per sportsbooks like FanDuel and other major books. However, you can change as long as you don’t actually submit the bet. So keep that in mind regarding not just over/unders, but any bet on the bet slip.


When you pick an over/under, you’re picking whether the combined score will end up above or below a specific number. Let’s continue with the Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans example, and the over/under sits at 47.5.

If you bet the over, you’re wagering the teams combine for at least 48 points, and the under will be 47 or less. Just like with the moneylines, round robins, and parlays, the bet slip will show you your bet, and it will also alert you if the line changes.

Say you bet the over with the over/under at 47.5. Your bet slip is essential to pay attention to because if the over/under changes to 50.5 come Sunday morning, you can change your bet to the under if you don’t believe the teams will combine to score over 50 points.

Again, you can only do this as long as you did not submit the bet.

Like with the other examples above, you can customize your bet slip with alternate lines for an alternate price.

If you’re sensing a pattern, it’s probably that you see just how useful the bet slip is regardless of the type of bet made. Let’s look at another example below.

Point Spreads

Point spreads are related to moneylines in the sports betting world. However, they’re not as straightforward since you’re not predicting the winner here, but possibly the winner plus a margin of victory for the favorite. You can also pick a team that, even if they lose, win you money for covering the spread.

Once again, the betting slip will relay such information to you. Let’s continue with our Arizona Cardinals versus Houston Texans example. In this case, the Cardinals find themselves as (-10.5) favorites. But, you believe the Texans will at least cover the spread, so you bet the Texans.

Your betting slip will cover all of this information. Like the moneyline in the above section, you will always find a minus sign next to the favorite and a plus sign next to the underdog. Some slips may only show the favorite.

Odds Board and Money

The bet slips will let you look over the information once again before the game begins. It’s also important to reiterate that if the odds change, say before the game starts that the Cardinals move to being just (-8.5) favorites, your betting slip will again convey this.

Changes happen to odds all the time, so as mentioned in the over/under section, it’s wise not to submit the bet until game day if you’re iffy about the odds changing.

Use as an Odds Calculator

Now that you know how to read a bet slip pertaining to different types of bets, they’re also helpful as an odds calculator.

It will show you just how much you can win as they relate to your wager, which comes in handy regarding the larger bets like round robins and parlays, given their complexity.

Sure, you can do the math, but the bet slip does it for you, and it takes away all the guesswork. You can also punch numbers in if you’re even looking for hypotheticals, which can provide great value if you’re looking to change something up before submitting the bet.


As you can see, the bet slip provides a variety of information for you as a bettor. They alert you of any change in the lines, which you can change as long as you did not previously submit the bet.

They can also provide instant access to building parlays and round robins, and most importantly, serve as an archive to how you fared in past bets.

So don’t just discard the betting slip. Instead, use it as a reference and a cheat sheet to stay updated on your most recent bets and even see how you performed with past sports bets.