This guide will walk you through how quarter and halves bets work, show you the best sportsbooks to bet with, give you tips on how to win consistently, and much more.
It became evident in last year’s November elections that Californians want no part in the sports betting craze that has taken over the US in recent years. Both sports betting initiatives — Prop 26 and Prop 27 — went bust; in fact, they didn’t even come close.
Though legal online sports betting in California may have hit a roadblock, it’s not game over just yet. New legalization efforts are on the horizon in 2023, and there’s cause for optimism. The state’s large population and vast sports scene give it the potential to become a major sports betting market, which is why proponents won’t give up so quickly.
If the Golden State ever legalizes sports betting, we expect sportsbooks to roll out a full deck of betting options on every single event, including period bets such as quarters and halves. These bets focus on specific intervals of the game and can add an exciting dimension to your sports betting experience.
What Are Quarter and Halves Bets?
Generally, quarter and half bets are subsets of period bets, which involve wagering on specific segments of a game rather than on the final outcome. The focus is only on the team’s performance within a certain interval and the results up until the specified point. What happens down the stretch or prior to the period you’ve bet on isn’t relevant.
For example, you can place a moneyline wager on which NBA team will be ahead at the end of the first quarter. If the team you picked has the lead at the end of this period, you win the bet, even if they get blown off the floor later on. If the score is tied, your bet will result in a push, and you’ll get your initial stake refunded.
The quarter/halves betting market has several options. Aside from moneylines, totals, and point spreads, you can also find props that cover specific periods of the game.
We’ll illustrate how halftime bets work in an example below to help you get the hang of things.
- Golden State Warriors +3.5 (+100)
- Los Angeles Lakers -3.5 (-122)
To win a bet on the Lakers, they must lead by at least 4 points at halftime. A bet on the Warriors wins if they trail by 3 points or less or have the lead halfway through.
For second-half bets, only the score between halftime and the end of regulation is taken into account. In other words, the scoreboard resets after 24 minutes, and your bets are solely about what happens after the break. At some sportsbooks, this also includes any overtime periods.
How to Calculate Quarter and Halves Bet Winnings
When it comes to quarters and halves, winnings are calculated the same way as regular (full-time) moneylines. Look at the prefix of the quoted price to figure out how much the payout will be.
When the odds are negative (-), that’s the side the sportsbook considers a favorite. On the other hand, an underdog team (or a longshot occurrence) has a plus (+) sign in front of their odds.
Seasoned bettors already know this stuff, but those who are just starting out might need an example to clarify this further.
- SF 49ers +115
- LA Rams -135
Say you want to stake $100 on the 49ers to win the first quarter. If they start off strong and go on to win the first quarter, you’ll take home $115. The plus (+) sign tells you the amount of money you’d win if you bet $100. The math behind calculating positive odds payouts is as follows:
- Stake * (odds/100) = payout
Let’s apply this formula to our fictitious matchup:
- $100 * (115/100) = $100 * 1.15 = $115
The profit for negative odds is calculated using a different equation:
- Stake/(odds/100) = payout
To go back to our example, if you bet $100 on the Rams to win the first quarter, here’s how much profit you’d stand to gain:
- $100/(135/100) = $100/1.35 = $74.07
The vig directly impacts the odds for a quarter/half bet, so this is a concept you should familiarize yourself with. A vig or juice is basically a sportsbook’s rake — the commission it charges to facilitate a bet. Every bet is subject to the vig, with the exception of the so-called “no juice odds,” occasionally offered by sportsbooks in promotional campaigns.
Best Sportsbooks for Quarter and Halves
It’s impossible to find a single sportsbook that’ll always have the best sports betting odds in California for quarter and halves bets. Your mileage may vary, so make sure to check the odds at several betting sites to get the best bang for your buck.
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The practice of comparing odds and prices among different books and seeking the best deal is known as “line shopping.” This technique allows bettors to spot value — the highest ROI bets for a particular market — and maximize profits for a specific bet while minimizing their losses. As you can see, it’s a crucial aspect of sports betting success in the long run.
As you shop for the best lines, you’ll notice there’s little difference between sportsbooks in terms of odds. Still, you can use even the smallest price deviations to your advantage. The numbers can add up over time, especially for heavy bettors.
If you pay close attention, you can see how minuscule differences in odds can have a substantial impact on your winnings.
Imagine you decide to get some skin in the Clippers vs. Lakers game. Knowing the Lakers are prone to starting slow, you decide to bet $1,000 on the Clippers to win the first quarter. Here’s how this bet could be priced at three elite sportsbooks:
- Los Angeles Lakers (-105)
- Los Angeles Clippers (+120)
- Los Angeles Lakers (-107)
- Los Angeles Clippers (+135)
- Los Angeles Lakers (-110)
- Los Angeles Clippers (+125)
The Clippers come out all guns blazing and blow the doors off the Lakers in the first quarter. You’ve won the bet, but how much profit have you made? Assuming that you’ve bet the same amount on the same result at all three of these books, here’s how much your payout would be:
The payout overall is pretty good ($3,800). However, it’d have been even bigger ($4,050) had you only chosen DraftKings for that particular wager and staked $3,000.
These three sportsbooks, along with Caesars and BetMGM, are known for having the most competitive odds the majority of the time. Good odds can also be found at Fliff Sportsbook, a social betting site available in California.
Variations of Quarter and Halves
The quarter/half bet spans a variety of markets, although the range of available options differs between sportsbooks. Below are some examples of the most common period bets:
- Alternate spreads: With these, bettors can adjust the spread to either increase their payout or reduce the risk. If you sell a few points on a favorite (betting they’ll win more than the original line has suggested), you could receive a larger payout, but the bet will be harder to hit.
- Winning margin: This bet allows you to wager on a team’s exact margin of victory in the first quarter. For example, you might bet that the San Francisco 49ers will win the first quarter by 7 points. In some versions of this bet, you can even predict the range within which a certain team will win the first quarter.
- Moneyline-total combination: This is a longshot bet where you need to predict both the winner of a specific period and the number of points scored during that interval.
- Winner-match winner combination: This bet allows you to wager on both the first-quarter winner and the overall game-winner. As a result, you’ll have a chance to hit a big payout if both picks come through.
- Team A to score more points in the first quarter: This bet allows you to wager on one team to score more points than the projected line in the first quarter.
- Race to X points: Here, you’ll be betting on which team will reach the set benchmark of points first. A tie option is usually available here (with super long odds), and it’s a bet that neither team will reach the set number of points within a certain timeframe.
Best Strategy for Quarter and Halves
If you wish to improve your long-term success with quarter/half betting, there are a few tactics you can employ. Nevertheless, it all boils down to properly researching your picks. With so much data accessible today, it’s easier than ever to learn even the smallest details about a particular segment of a game. In procuring this information, keep these points in mind:
- Analyze the game flow tendencies: Check how teams have performed in the past in terms of starting fast or slow. This can give you an edge when identifying value in the quarter and half lines.
- Gather information about roster changes: In basketball, teams rarely make many substitutions in the first quarter, and they usually come out with their strongest lineup. It’s also less likely for players to get fouled or injured early in the game. Keeping up with last-minute roster changes is essential.
- Keep an eye on line movements: You should monitor the live spread and total line for sudden changes, as these can indicate where the sharps are betting.
- Look for value in underdogs: Identify lines that seem off and take advantage of the oddsmaker’s mistakes. There’s a high percentage of recreational bettors who place their bets on the favorites in the second half, causing oddsmakers to skew the lines accordingly. This can provide great value for betting on underdogs.
- Watch the game: It’s possible that the majority of people betting on the game aren’t following the action as closely as you are. You can use this to your advantage to find value in betting on the second half, especially when the score isn’t indicative of what’s actually happening in the game.
Sports That Offer Halves and Quarters Bets
Quarter lines are only found in sports that are played over four periods, such as football and basketball. So, if you’re looking to place quarter bets on local basketball teams, you’ll find no shortage of options.
Quarter-line betting on CA teams competing in the NBA, including the Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, and Los Angeles Clippers, is available in every major book. WNBA quarters odds are also offered, so the fans of the Los Angeles Sparks can take part in the action, as well.
Unsurprisingly, HT bets are more prevalent as they’re available for every sport with two halves. Notably, this includes MLB, so nostalgic bettors can put a few bucks down on matchups featuring the Padres, Giants, and Dodgers.
How to Place a Quarter and Halves Bet on an Online Sportsbook App
Here’s a rundown on how to make halves and quarters bets at online sportsbooks:
- Visit the sports betting app and register. During this process, you’ll need to provide your login credentials and personal details, like the last four digits of your SSN.
- Fund your account. However, before depositing, keep in mind that California sports betting bonuses for new customers will be offered by every book across the board. The amount you claim will be proportional to your deposit.
- Navigate to the menu or the tab that displays all the available sports and leagues. Depending on the app, this could be categorized as “Sports.”
- Once you’ve found the sport you want to bet on (basketball, for example), you’ll then need to find the league (for example, the NBA) within that sport.
- After selecting the league, you’ll be presented with a list of all the upcoming games. Click or tap on the game you want to place a bet on.
- To place a quarter/halves bet, look for the section labeled “Quarter/Halves.”
- When the bet appears on the slip, enter the amount you want to wager.
- After confirming that your picks are correct, submit your wager.
Quarter and Halves Bets FAQs
Quarter and halves are niche bets that are popular with both beginners and sharps. Still, since they require a deeper understanding of the game, they’re perhaps slightly better suited to experienced bettors.
Yes, DraftKings offers several variations of quarter and halves bets, ranging from the winning margin to 1st-2nd quarter parlays and standard moneylines.
Most often, yes. Sportsbooks have different policies regarding this, so make sure to check with your chosen brand for specifics.