Totalizators take the betting concepts of horse racing, dog racing and other parimutuel bets and apply them to sportsbooks. Sportsbooks often change the point spreads or moneylines of games to reflect how much money is being bet on one side. However, payouts are typically determined by what the odds or spread was at the time that a bet was made. If you took a team as a -2 favorite and the line moves to -3, your bet is still on the -2 line.
With totalizators, things work differently. These types of betting systems are often also called flexible-rate bets and the key difference is that the odds and payouts will change – sometimes substantially – from minute to minute. The fluctuation in the odds and payouts occurs based on how much money is wagered on an event and where the wagers are placed. No matter when you place you bet or what the odds are at the time, all odds and payouts are based on the final posted odds. This is similar to horse racing odds, which change until the final Post Time.
Totalizators are popular in certain countries, but for the most part are seldom found in sports betting, which is a good thing for the bettor. Since you place your wager on the premise of having good value, you could see that wiped out due to changes in the odds that occur after you bet. If you have no choice but to wager into a totalizator, the only thing you can do to eliminate late changes in the betting odds is to place your wager as late as possible, eliminating some of the odds movements that may take place.
Totalizators take into account the expected rate of return that a sportsbook will claim from all bets. If a sportsbook is looking to keep 10 percent of all money bet, the other 90 percent will be paid out to bettors on the winning selection.