• 12 Jul 2022
  • Strategy

Ultimate Sports Betting Guide

Simply put, sports betting involves placing a wager on the outcome of a particular sports event. If you predicted correctly, you win a set amount of money. If not, you lose the money you’d put down. You can place a wide range of different bets, like on a player, on a team, or on a final point spread.

Millions of people bet on sports events every year — in fact, back in 2015, The Daily Mail estimated that the global sports betting market was worth up to $3 trillion.


Why Sports Betting?


What makes sports betting so appealing in the first place? It clearly makes the game more thrilling. And because it's simpler to view betting on a game as a kind of entertainment rather than as a significant source of money, the majority of sports bettors merely do it for enjoyment. They may test their sports knowledge and add an extra element of excitement to the game.

Many of these casual gamblers are really perfectly capable of profiting from their wagers; they may simply not yet be aware of how to use their sports knowledge into a betting strategy. On the other hand, a lot of individuals make wagers on sporting events with the goal of making money. 

Also, the outcomes or sporting events aren’t random, unlike other betting games out there. When we’re betting on the spin of a roulette wheel, we’re honestly just guessing what number will come up and hoping we chose the right one. But with sports, we can use our knowledge of the game itself and the players on each team to make fairly accurate predictions.

So if you’re just getting started in the world of sports betting, here’s how you can get to know the ins and outs before you put any money down.


How To Get Started


If you’re new to sports betting, it might feel like the learning curve is pretty steep. While there are a few moving parts you need to keep track of, it can all be manageable if you sit down for some quick research and follow these basic steps.


Set Your Budget


More than anything else, you need to set a budget that you’ll be able to stick to. Depending on how often you plan on making your bets, this might be a weekly or monthly budget. When you’re a beginner, you’re more than likely going to lose some money, so don’t risk what you can’t afford to lose.

A good, cautionary approach is to place wagers that equal around 2% of your total bankroll. For example, if you have a $250 budget, then you’d bet only $5 per wager.


Choose What To Bet On


It’s best to choose a sport that you already follow because you already know all of the rules and scoring details. If you want to explore more, though, do keep in mind that some sports have more betting opportunities than others, and many sports have seasons and aren’t played year-round. But also, don’t try to bet on too many different sports at once.

Some sports you can bet on include:

  • Basketball
  • Boxing/MMA
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Hockey
  • Horse and greyhound racing
  • Soccer
  • Tennis


Sign Up With a Betting Site


Even if you might reside in a place where finding a bookmaker is simple, using an internet betting site is the most practical choice. To register on these websites, you must provide some basic information such your name, address, date of birth, and email address.

Look for reviews of online sportsbooks and casinos that are user-friendly for novices if you're new to online sports betting. Make sure the website you intend to use has a wide variety of betting alternatives and reliable customer service in case you run into problems. Additionally, you could come across some websites that provide welcome bonuses, which are essentially free funds for gaming. You should also think about making accounts on more than just one betting site. You can get multiple welcome bonuses this way, but it also makes it easier for you to compare odds when you want to place your wagers.


Learn About Odds


Odds are what sportsbooks use to calculate the payouts from winning wagers, and they indicate how likely a wager is to win. These can be shown in three different ways:

  • Decimal odds: These odds are simple numbers like 3.50 or 1.265.
  • Moneyline odds: These are numbers with a + or – in front (and are most common in the United States). You’d see odds expressed like +200 or -150.
  • Fractional odds: The odds are shown as fractions like 2/1 or 5/6. (This format is traditionally used in the U.K.)


Read Up On Types of Bets

While there are tons of different wagers you can make on sports, as a beginner you should keep things as straightforward as possible. Mostly focus on these types of bets:

  • Win bet/moneyline bet: You bet whether a team or individual will win a game.
  • Point spread: This is about how many points your chosen team needs to win by.
  • Totals/over-under: You bet on whether the actual score total of a game will be higher or lower than the projections.
  • Futures/outrights: You bet on a team or individual to win an entire tournament or season.

Once you’ve become more familiar with these betting styles and have some experience, you can start looking at the other types of wagers (which we’ll explain later in this piece).


The Where and How of Placing Bets

The most common places to make your bets are with a land-based sportsbook or at online betting sites (often found at online casinos). Other options include using a bookie or just placing simple bets among your friends.

You might be limited by where you live, as only some states in the U.S. have sports betting currently legalized. If you reside in a state that allows sports betting, then you’re good to go. If you don’t, you’ll most likely have to seek out an online sportsbook that’s based overseas.

Let’s briefly take you through the different processes for placing a bet on some sports action. Be aware that no matter which venue you’re using to place your wagers, you do have to pay up front.


Understanding Odds


We briefly mentioned odds earlier, but now it’s time to get into some more detail about how to understand them. This will better help you to choose how you want to set up your bets.

To put it simply, betting odds tell you how likely a sporting outcome is. But they’ll also inform you of how much money you could win.

If the outcome is likely to happen, that means that the odds are low. The lower the odds, the greater your chances of winning will be. The counterpoint to this is that if the odds are low, any winning bets will earn smaller profits.

But this means that the reverse is true: Higher odds mean that the outcome is less likely and it’s harder to win, but you’ll net greater profits if you do win.

Numerical odds represent the ratio between the amount you’ve staked versus how much the bookmaker has staked. If you’re looking at odds that are 3 to 1, that means the bookmaker has staked three times the amount that you have on the outcome.

Betting odds show how likely an event is to happen, all based on probabilities. If we were dealing with a truly randomized game, the probabilities would be simpler to calculate. Rolling a die has only six possible outcomes, so you have a one-in-six chance (or a 16.67% chance) of rolling a 2, no matter what.

Odds can be expressed in three different ways, and you’ll most likely see one or another more often depending on where you live.


A Look Ahead for Sports Betting

The internet is easier to access now than ever before, especially with smartphones being so ubiquitous. This has all continued to fuel the growth of sports betting across the United States. New Jersey and Pennsylvania now have sports betting industries that handle billions of dollars a year. Sports betting is big business, and it only appears to be expanding here in the U.S.

Industry analysts predict that, within a few more years, around 80% of all U.S. states will have some form of state-sanctioned sports betting on offer to their residents. States have become much more aware that sports betting is great at generating tax revenue, and they’ve realized that they’d be foolish not to jump at that opportunity.

Even before COVID-19 shifted the U.S. economy, mobile sports betting was already becoming a major part of the sports betting ecosystem. But states have been feeling the pressure to open up their gaming options, especially via mobile gaming, and the pandemic only hastened that process for many.

Sports betting monitoring firms are also excited about sports betting moving to more mobile platforms because it means less potential for fraud and more transparency through shared betting data. This might even bring back that “integrity” that so many people were concerned with back when Congress passed PASPA.

No matter what, sports betting does not seem to be going anywhere here in the U.S. It’s a robust, growing industry that people are clamoring for.

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