The world of online sports betting is enormous, and it is understandable why one, who has never placed sports bets, would feel confused and overwhelmed by the endless source of possibilities to bet on. There are dozens of sports featured at online sportsbook sites, and each of them comes with a plethora of betting options, which makes sports betting so exciting and attractive for bettors around the world.
Sports betting isn’t exclusively reserved for football or basketball fans, although it surely helps to be up to date with sports events. Here’s what first-time sports bettors ought to know, from betting basics and terminology to gambling concepts.
Reading Odds and Odds Format
At US sportsbook websites, odds are displayed with a number and either a positive or negative sign in front of the number. The odds tell you how much you stand to win relative to your stake.
If the sign in front of the number s positive (+), that indicates the amount of money you would win if you bet $100. Let’s say the odds are +150 and you bet $100. A winning outcome will pay you $150. If the sign in front is a minus, then that is the number you must wager to bag $ 100. Odds of -150 mean that you stand to win $100 if you wager $ 150. This is called the Moneyline/American format.
The most common format, however, is the decimal format, as it is quite simple. The odds are displayed as decimals and to calculate your total payout all you have to do is multiply your stake by the decimal odds offered by the sportsbook.
Even money is shown as 2.00. Anything higher than 2.00 is odds against, and anything lower is odds on. In this format, the smallest decimal number will designate the favourite, whereas the biggest number will stand by the underdog team/athlete/option.
The third format is frictional odds, which is mostly used in the UK and it is slowly being replaced by the decimal format. As the name itself indicates, fractions are used to represent odds. In these fractions, your stake is multiplied with the denominator and the payout with the numerator.
Learning the different types of wagers
There are many types of wagers that can be placed on sports events and if you want to go down that road you need to know how to differentiate them. While some bets are very simple and straightforward, others can be a bit complex. Here are some of the most common bets you will encounter at sports betting sites:
- Win bet/Moneyline – Also called the “straight bet” on some occasions, this wager can be used in virtually every sport we can bet on, as it involves simply picking who is going to win a game, match, or some other event. In fight sports and tennis, the win bet is the primary betting option.
- Point Spread – This bet type will not have you not betting directly on which participant will win a game or match. A spread is created by the bookmaker so as to make the participants equal for the purposes of the betting, even though they are favourite vs. underdog.A certain number of points is introduced, with the favourite being deducted the points and the underdog being assigned the points. If you bet on the favourite, you will be betting on them to win by a margin that’s greater than the size of the spread. Betting on the underdog means betting on them to win/lose by a margin that’s less than the size of the spread.
- Handicap – Very similar to point spread bets. Handicaps attempt to level the playing field, having in mind the perceived differences in ability between the competitors. A handicap could be something like “Real Madrid -5.0”, meaning you are betting on the team to win, but taking away 5 goals from their final score.
- Totals/Over-Unders – Available on a wide range of sports. In this case, the bookmaker establishes a line for the total number of points, goals or whatever to be scored in a game. The bettor can wager on whether the actual total will be higher or lower than the set line. Over equals higher and lower equals under.
- Proposition bet – Sometimes also referred as “special”, the proposition bet can be a wager on which team will score first in a game, first player to score a point/goal, time of first point/goal, will there be a penalty awarded, time of first corner etc. So, basically specific aspects of a sports event that do not necessarily have a direct effect on the final outcome, but they can be fun to bet on.
- Parlays – A parlay is when you choose to tie multiple selections into one bet. Alternate names are accumulator bets and simply multiples. For example, you can choose five football teams to each win their next game and unite these selections under an accumulator bet. In order to win, you need to get every selection correct.
Choosing the Sport to Bet On
This is obviously an important decision to make, and if you expect good results stick to sports you know enough about. It is completely justified to choose to simply wager on some or all of the sports that you already keep up with and like to watch. After all, these are the sports you understand best.
The most popular sports to bet on include football, rugby, basketball, tennis, cricket, golf, Formula 1 and boxing. They all provide numerous betting opportunities, they are widely featured on the internet and television and belong to the mainstream, with information on them being readily available and accessible.
Making Selections and Placing Bets With a Bookmaker
Find a good betting website and create an account. To place a wager, the first thing to do is to select the relevant sport. Most sites show available sports on the left-hand side of the screen. Pick a sport and the site will show you the latest odds and the possibility to make some of the basic bets.
To see the full range of bets, you may need to click on the designated button to expand the view. Click on the bet you wish to make and it will be added to the bet slip, usually shown on the right-hand side of the screen. Enter the amount you wish to stake, confirm the wager and that’s it.
Deciding Where to Bet
Online betting is fairly easy – picking out the right websites is a bigger challenge. Before you set your stakes, make sure you are betting at a site that is trusted and provides the best service out there. Depending on where you live, you may have dozens or hundreds of options to choose from.
Visit recommendable sportsbook rating websites to get the right directions, as these sites often conduct painstaking research to come up with their evaluations. Also, rely on feedback from your fellow bettors.
Glossary of Interesting Betting Terms
Hopefully, you now know what it takes to become a sports bettor. Before we leave you to it, here are some terms you are likely to encounter in your sports betting endeavours, during preparation and the betting process itself:
- Dog – Short for the underdog, the team/individual expected to lose.
- Future – A type of bet that focuses on a future sports event, like betting on a team to win a championship early in the season.
- In-play betting – Placing a bet on a particular outcome after the event has started.
- Off the Board – An event becomes unavailable for betting due to certain circumstances (for instance, an injury).
- Pick’em – A match without a favourite or underdog; sides are perceived as more or less equal and a point spread is not influential.
- Square – Usually refers to an uneducated, inexperienced bettor.