Sports betting in the Sierra.

By Jaxon Sullivan

After years frequenting the same place to watch college tournaments and the Big Game, I ventured out to tour the Reno/Tahoe area for best bets when it comes to sports betting. Since it’s more fun watching the games with a little wager on the side, here’s a quick overview to get you started.

Looking at the digital screens or betting sheets at any sportsbook, the main thing you need to know is the (-) numbers represent the favorites and (+) are for the underdogs.

SF    -7.5   -165   55.5   O/U
LA   +7.5   +600   55.5   O/U
    1. The number in the first column after the team refers to the most common bet, or the “point spread.” One team needs to beat the other team by a certain number of points, or not lose by more than that amount. I placed $10 on LA (+7.5) which meant as long they didn’t lose by more than 8 points, I would double my money less the casino’s 10 percent.
    2. The second column is the “money line” which is the easiest because it means you just have to pick the winner of the game. I could win $100 by betting $165 on the favorite, or I could win $600 by betting $100 on the underdog. Moving the decimal point, I bet $10 on long shot LA, to win $60.
    3. The third column is the “Over/Under” which refers to the total points scored by both teams. I like defense, so I bet $10 on the Under (this also means I could double my money).

“Prop Bets” are available for big games, allowing you to wager on everything from the length of the National Anthem to the color of the sports drink poured on the winning coach.

An insider’s tip

With my three bets in, I settled into a movie theater-style seat in the video stadium at The Book at Harveys Lake Tahoe, Nevada’s only non-smoking race and sportsbook. As LA kicked a field goal at the end of the game to make the final score 30-24, I celebrated gleefully. Despite LA losing, they still covered the point spread. The Under also barely paid off, however my long shot on the money line didn’t. For those scoring at home, I bet $30 on the game and cashed my tickets in for $38. caesars.com

Hardrock Hotel Casino Sports Book
Hardrock Hotel Casino Sports Book

Need to place your wager before the Sports Books open? For my early morning English Premier League matches, I use the convenient self-service kiosks at the William Hill Sports Book inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. You can follow all of your games on 40+ HD TVs, ensuring you make those bets before the sun rises and long after it sets. hardrockcasinolaketahoe.com

With 48 TVs and a Slushee Bar, The Zone at MontBleu Resort, Casino & Spa is perfect for chillin’ out when you’re steaming mad at the referees. montbleuresort.com

With just about every satellite sports package, watching a Wednesday night UNR game and eating delicious wings at the Tavern Bar inside Lakeside Inn and Casino, was so much better than a crowded sports bar. lakesideinn.com

During my annual guy’s trip, I reserved one of the VIP rooms at the William Hill Sports Book at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino. In addition to the private TV, comfortable sofas and restrooms, the proximity to place more bets while watching their giant projection screen ensured a repeat visit. grandsierraresort.com

Watching the game is more fun when you have some skin in it, but keep in mind that sports betting is best when it’s solely for entertainment. Bet as little as $2 but never more than you can afford to lose.

Just remember, no matter how much you yell and scream at the TV, you can’t change the outcome of the game. However, you can get paid for it.