Being one of the oldest forms of gambling, sports betting has now grown to become a form of entertainment that attracts huge crowds of punters at online and web-based sportsbooks. Although a lot has changed since the time when wagering on sports first rose to prominence, its basic concept continues to be the same as gambling enthusiasts still put their money on the outcome they think is on the cards.
More and more punters become interested in sports betting, and the ever-growing demand can be easily ascribed to the relatively straightforward nature of this pastime. Yet, wagering on sports is certainly not an undertaking one should jump in at the deep end, especially if you are looking to enjoy wins consistently. If you do not know where to start with your sports betting session, you have come to the right place.
- ✓ Mechanics of Sports Betting
- ✓ Odds and Payouts
- ✓ Types of Wagers
- ✓ Understanding Probability
- ✓ Most Popular Sports to Bet On
- ✓ Forms of Sports Betting
- ✓ Sports Betting Glossary
Mechanics of Sports Betting
Although wagering on sports is a hugely enjoyed form of entertainment by punters from all corners of the globe, there are still people who shy away from such activities. Of course, it takes some time before they could rattle off, but gambling enthusiasts should rest assured that sports betting is not as complicated as it might seem at first glance.
In order to ease themselves into the world of wagering on sports, punters need to know that bets have three main components. First comes the selection or in other words, picking an event or an outcome they would like to make their bets on. Fortunately, the sports betting world is awash with opportunities, which undoubtedly works to the advantage of gambling aficionados. The decision-making involves picking a team or a player and choosing the likeliest outcome. Although this might seem like an exceptionally straightforward task, picking your selections is what will determine how well you do and whether you will succeed in getting the profit you are after.
For that reason, sports betting novices are advised to go for sports they are knowledgeable about and avoid placing rather complex wagers at least at the beginning.
The next thing gambling enthusiasts need to do is to adjust their stakes or simply put, to decide what amount they prefer to risk on a wager. What should be noted, however, is that although it is up to gambling enthusiasts to pick and amount they will wager, some sportsbooks have introduced limits that apply to the least and the maximum amount that can be put per individual bet. For that reason, punters are advised to inspect the fine print of the sportsbook before they opt for making any bets.
No matter if your approach to sports betting is rather serious or you are just a recreational gambler, the most confusing thing are the odds. For beginners, they are used to indicate the probability of an event to come about. That is the reason why while exploring the available betting options, punters will see varying values.
Paying attention to the value of the odds is of crucial importance because it will give gambling enthusiasts an idea of what their potential payout will be if their wager is settled as a winning one.
Understanding the Odds and Calculating Payouts
Odds are an important aspect of wagering on sports, and becoming a successful punter undoubtedly involves understanding fully how do they work and how to use them. Generally speaking, the value of the odds will indicate what your profit will be if your bet wins, but there is much more to them than that.
The odds show gambling aficionados whether the wager they are about to make offers good value and what is the probability of their bet to become a winning one. In other words, once punters figure out how odds work, they will be able to distinguish the bets that are worth going for. When the value of the odds is low, this will indicate that the outcome is more likely to come about, and vice versa, an outcome will be less likely to take place if the odds are high.
Although it might sound a bit confusing at first, this makes sense due to the fact that when the odds are low, gambling enthusiasts will have better chances to bag a win, but the payouts they will be offered will be lower. With higher odds, punters’ chances to snatch a payout are smaller, but the prizes they can get are heftier. Simply put, gambling enthusiasts will be paid out less when wagering on an outcome that is more likely and will get larger prizes when the outcome is rather unlikely.
Punters should also make a distinction between odds on and odds against. With odds on, the event is more likely to take place, and the amount gambling enthusiasts can potentially walk away with will be smaller than the amount of the stake they have made. Hence, with odds against, the probability of an event not to happen is greater than the probability of that event to occur. For that reason, the amount punters stand to win will be larger than the amount they have wagered.
Furthermore, there are three formats in which the odds value will be introduced to lovers of sports betting. There are three ways in which bookmakers can display odds, and this can be done through the decimal, fractional, and American odds formats. It is a matter of personal preference which one to go for as the better part of the web-based sportsbooks offer all the three formats together.
This odds format is the standard one, and it is available at the bulk of the web-based sportsbooks. This odds format is popular mainly among gambling enthusiasts from Australia, Europe, and Canada, but it is preferred by punters from other countries because it allows them to easily make out how it works even if they are total greenhorns at sports betting.
This is a way of seeing odds using decimals, and their value is written as 1.50 and 2.00. Estimating what your potential profit will be is exceptionally straightforward as punters can do so by multiplying the amount they have staked by the value of the odds. For example, if punters have wagered $1 at odds of 2.5 and their wager wins, they will be paid out $2.5.
Something important sports bettors should take into account is that their unit stake is included in that amount.
Fractional odds, on the other hand, are hugely popular among sports bettors from the UK, and as it can be expected from their name, the value of the odds is expressed using fractions. Despite the fact that decimal odds have already started to take over, there are still lovers of sports betting who find this manner of displaying the odds more convenient.
Yet, the main reason why most sports bettors prefer not to utilize this format is that the calculation of the potential profit is not as straightforward as with decimal odds. A simple example of odds displayed using the fractional format would be 3/1, 5/1, and 6/1, for example. This is read as three to one, five to one, and six to one, respectively, and the number before the slash or the dividend is used to indicate the number of units gambling enthusiasts will get depending on the number of units they have wagered that are represented by the divisor.
If a bet pays out even money or 1/1, this will mean that gambling enthusiasts will get $1 for every $1 they put on the line. If the odds are 6/1, this will mean that punters will get $6 against every $1 staked.
Yet, things get a bit more complicated when the value of the odds is 6/4, for example, as in such cases, punters will get 6 units for every 4 they bet or in other words, 1.5 per staked unit.
As one can expect from their name, odds displayed using this format are offered mainly by bookmakers that are oriented towards punters from the USA. This format is known also as moneyline odds, and it relies on positive and negative figures to indicate the likelihood of an event to come out. The negative number will show gambling enthusiasts a short price or in other words, how much money they will need to stake so as to win $100. The positive figure will indicate a longer price or the amount of money they will receive for every $100 they put on the line.
Hence, if the odds sports bettors are offered show +150, this will mean that a winning stake of $100 will return them $150. What they should not forget is that the initial stake is included in the amount they can expect to receive. If punters decide to make their stake at odds of -150, this should indicate that they will be paid out $100 if they wager $150.
A vital thing about this format is that the base figure for it, or the one that indicates even money wagers is +100. The negative figure should indicate which team or player is considered favorite, while the positive one will signify the underdog team or player.
Types of Wagers
Anyone interested in sports betting should have proper knowledge not only about the formats in which odds can be viewed, but also about the different bet types that are available on sports events. This refers not only to punters who take wagering on sports seriously, but to casual bettors as well.
Win or moneyline bets are terms that are used to indicate one and the same way of betting on sports, more specifically, picking the outright winner of a game, be it a team or a player. When punters go for such wagers, the number of goals or by how many points the team or the player wins is irrelevant.
Such wagers are stripped down from any intricacies, which renders them a perfect fit for punters with different levels of expertise.
Totals and Over/Under
Unlike moneyline wagers, which are all about picking the winner of the game, total bets are focused on another aspect of the game, more specifically, the total number of points that will be scored. Something important punters should be aware of is that such wagers are tied with the combined score of both teams, but they might be tied with the total number of runs, goals scored, and so on.
What is special about this bet type is that bookmakers will provide a projected number of points, and gambling enthusiasts will need to decide if the final score will be over or less than the set figure.
Perhaps, you might wonder what happens if the exact number of total points are scored. In such cases, this will be a tie, and punters will have the staked amount returned. To avoid such scenarios, bookmakers tend to use half-point marks.
Point Spread and Handicap Betting
Much like with the above-mentioned wagers, point spread and handicap betting refer to one and the same way of betting on sports that depending on the country, will be referred to differently. No matter the case, the core principle of this way of wagering on sports remains the same because the bookmaker will introduce a margin that will determine how many points will be deducted from the result of the supposed favorite and how many points will be added to the result of the supposed underdog. This is done so as to make the contending themes equal favorites to win the game.
Something we need to clarify is that instead of betting on the team that will win the game, punters will lay their stakes on the team they think will manage to cover the spread. Thus, when betting on the favorite, gambling enthusiasts think that the team will outperform the expected result, while when they bet on the underdog, they think that the team will lose or win the game by a score that is smaller than the spread.
Futures and Outright Bets
As long as punters are given the opportunity to make a future or an outright bet, this will mean that they are allowed to bet on the winner of a competition, be it a league, championship, or tournament before the specific event has even started. This is exactly why making a correct prediction can be rather challenging as most of the time, when such bets are made, gambling aficionados have no idea what the performance of the team or the player will be.
In spite of the fact that the heftier payouts are what command the attention of punters, they should be aware that future bets are inherently risky.
Special and Proposition Bets
Placing a special or a proposition bet will be the way to go if gambling enthusiasts are looking to spice up their sports betting sessions. In fact, many punters prefer to place these wagers because of their entertainment value, which might be true to some extent, but if you are a serious bettor, you should not cross them out too hurriedly as sometimes, they can present good betting opportunities as well.
Generally speaking, proposition or special bets are stakes that are made on events that might not necessarily affect the way in which the event will end. Such wagers can be laid on just about anything as punters can be given the opportunity to decide on the time when the first goal will be scored or the team that will score it, the team that will win the coin toss, whether the first goal-scoring team will win the game, and so on.
In fact, such, bets can be placed also on a series of games or an entire season, as they can have to do with the performance of a player or team. Yet, punters should know that prop bets can sometimes be unique and might differ from one bookie to another.
Parlay and Accumulator Bets
Such wagers are also referred to as multiple bets because they incorporate several selections. Making a winning parlay bet can turn out to be rather challenging because this will happen, given that all selections punters have picked are correct. In spite of the fact that it is rather hard to get all legs from your accumulator bet correct, the payoffs such wagers deliver are what make them worthy of attention.
Punters should know that parlay bets should not necessarily connect outcomes from one and the same competition or identical bet types. What they should know, however, is with each new selection punters incorporate, their chances to win will decrease.
Teaser bets bear much resemblance with parlay bets as they also consist of multiple selections. Once again, your teaser bet will be successful, given that all legs that are incorporated into it are correct. In most cases, such bets can be made on basketball and football events, and what makes them stand out is that gambling aficionados are permitted to alter the spread so that it could favor them. Yet, the advantage punters are given comes at an expense as the payout they can receive will be lessened.
Reverse and If Bets
If and reverse bets are wagers that at their core, come close to multiple bets. What is special about such wagers is that they are made up of several selections and most of the time, the legs are straight bets.
Yet, the distinctive trait of if or reverse bets is that the selections they are made up of are linked together, and if the first one is incorrect, this will turn all ensuing bets off. This renders such bets less risky than parlay bets, for example, which comes to explain why they are a bit more popular option with lovers of sports betting. Still, many gambling enthusiasts prefer to make two straight bets rather than to include these selections into an if bet because the potential payouts winning if bets will reward will be smaller.
Understanding Probability in Sports Betting
Probability is used to indicate the likelihood of an event to happen, and this likelihood is expressed by means of decimals or percentages. The values can be anywhere between 0 and 1, and 1 will mean that there are good chances that an event will come about, while 0 shows impossibility.
When sports betting is concerned, the views of punters and bookmakers on how likely an event to happen is might not be like. What gambling enthusiasts need to learn so as to be successful at wagering on sports is to assess the probability of an outcome as accurately as possible and then to check out the odds, so that they could figure out if the stake they are about to make is worth their time and money.
In order to ensure that they will be able to assess the situation accurately, punters should first figure out what implied probability is. This is when odds are converted into percentages, but after the edge the bookie has is taken into account.
Finding value is not an easy task as gambling enthusiasts need to look for events for which they think the odds should be lower than those provided by bookmakers.
Most Popular Sports to Bet On
The world of sports betting has evolved greatly throughout the past few years as gambling enthusiasts are now presented with an overwhelming profusion of options to pick and choose from.
Some punters, especially the inexperienced ones, might find it a bit hard to decide where to focus their attention. In spite of the fact that punters are spoiled for choice when it comes to events and markets, certain sports invariably take up the running.
There is no denying that soccer is among the sports that attract the largest viewing audiences and betting action from punters from most corners of the globe. Football is among the fan-favorite sports to wager on because of the broad betting opportunities it reveals, the action-packed gameplay it offers, and its broad coverage on TV, and on the Internet.
To live up to this ever-growing demand, bookies tend to focus their attention not only on major competitions the likes of the World Cup, Premier League, UEFA Champions League, UEFA European League, and more. The bulk of the bookies accept betting action on domestic tournaments the likes of Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A, FA Cup, and more.
Tennis is yet another sport that attracts the attention of gambling aficionados and that is almost always available on the agenda of betting sites. It ranks among the sports that get worldwide attention as punters are provided with extensive online and TV coverage, which undoubtedly helps them make solid decisions.
Some of the competitions that get the greatest deal of attention from bookmakers and gambling enthusiasts include the US Open, Wimbledon, Australian Open, team events such as Davis Cup, Fed Cup, and others.
Perhaps, it is hardly a surprise for anyone that basketball receives great attention from gambling enthusiasts. Most of the time, bookmakers offer an incredible range of betting options to select from, not only when the available wager types are concerned, but also when it comes to the available markets.
Major basketball competitions the likes of NBA, FIBA World Cup, NCAAB, and EuroLeague, among others, rank high on the agenda of bookmakers, thus giving lovers of the sport a vast range of betting sites to select from.
Although betting on that sport initially started in the UK, wagering on horse racings has now grown to prominence in many other parts of the globe. The main reason why this sport continues to turn heads is that most of the time, punters are kept on the edge of their seats until the last second of the race. Furthermore, another thing that intrigues punters is the extensive variety of wagers that can be made on a race.
Wagering on virtual horse races has developed into a well-liked opportunity for many gambling aficionados, and an ever-growing number of bookies add such markets to their sportsbooks.
American football is one more sport that sees high betting action not only at bookies that are oriented towards punters from the USA but also at gambling sites that greet punters from various other territories. It is a high-scoring sport that gives punters a choice from a vast range of bet types to pick from, which is one of the main appeals of American football.
Although the NFL is the main draw for most lovers of the sport, some bookies facilitate wagering on NCAAF and on other competitions that are held in the USA and Canada.
Forms of Sports Betting
Wagering on sports can be an extremely entertaining and hopefully, profitable activity, especially if punters have a good understanding of the sport and the betting process. To ensure that you will not jump in at the deep end, you should make sure that you have a good insight into the different forms of sports betting as well.
Fixed Odds Sports Betting
This is the most common form of wagering on sports when the two parties involved in the betting process, namely the bookmaker and the punter agree on the odds when a stake is made. Thus, if the wager punters have made is a winning one, they will receive a payout that is determined by the value of the odds they were offered at the time when the bet was made, no matter what has happened on that market after this.
Simply put, with this way of betting on sports, gambling enthusiasts make their stakes on what will come about during the course of the particular event. Gambling enthusiasts should be aware that fixed-odds bets are made prior to the beginning of the event.
Live or In-play Betting
Although live or in-play betting is a form of fixed-odds betting, the distinctive trait of this form of wagering on sports is that punters will cast their stakes when the event is already underway. Live betting allows gambling aficionados to make their wager at just about any point of the event.
The better part of the bookmakers allow their users to opt for live betting on a broad variety of sports and events and to choose between diverse wager types. What punters should pay attention to is that the value of the odds will keep on changing as the event pans out.
When speaking about some of the latest developments sports betting has seen, we should mention exchange betting too. In fact, exchange betting takes after fixed odds betting, but the most obvious difference is that the bookie is removed from the equation.
What this means is that the wagers are placed between punters, and when you opt for a wager on a specific event, in practice, you will bet against punters with an opposite point of view. With exchange betting, gambling enthusiasts can back or lay odds.
While speaking about spread betting, punters should not be under the impression that we will discuss point spread wagers once again. This form of betting on sports is particularly interesting because the value of the odds is not taken into consideration, while the size of your stake will not be fixed. In fact, spread betting has much in common with totals and over/under betting when gambling enthusiast try to predict whether a specific figure will be less or will exceed the one provided by the bookie. With spread sports betting, punters’ bets will be settled depending on how right or wrong their picks are.
This is one of the longest-standing forms of wagering on sports as its history can be traced back to the 19th century. Its basic principle is rather straightforward due to the fact that when gambling enthusiasts wager on a specific event, the money they lay down is added to the so-called pool. Once the event is over and it has become clear who has won, the prizes punters will receive will be taken from that pool. The payouts each bettor will receive are not alike and are determined by the amount they have staked. With this way of wagering on sports, odds do not play a role at all.
Sports Betting Glossary
- Accumulator – A bet where more than one selections are combined and to win, all selections should be correct
- Ante-post Betting – An early market that is introduced in advance of the event
- Action – Another way to refer to betting
- American Odds – Odds format in which the odds of the favorite are expressed using a negative figure, while the odds of the underdog are shown using a positive figure.
- Banker – A wager that is expected to win
- Betting Exchange – Betting sites that give punters the chance to make wagers against each other, and take a commission when wagers win
- Buy Points – When punters agree to get a shorter price in exchange of a more advantageous point spread
- Closing Line – The last odds punters are presented with before the specific market closes
- Decimal Odds – A way of displaying odds using decimals
- Dog – Another way to refer to the underdog
- Drifting – If odds drift, this means that they increase
- Draw – A push or a tie
- Edge – The advantage the bookie has over punters
- Fractional Odds– A way of viewing odds using fractions
- Get Down – Placing a bet
- Hedging – When punters attempt to get an advantage by betting on both sides of a market.
- Laying the Points – Making a point spread wager on the team or player that is considered favorite
- Long Odds – When the odds are high
- Moneyline Bet – Wagering on the team or player that will be an outright winner
- Odds Against – When the payout punters get is higher than their wager
- Odds On – When the payout punters get is lower than the staked amount
- Off the Board – When stakes will not be accepted on a specific event
- Payout – The amount punters are paid after making a winning wager
- Parlay Bet – A bet consisting of several selections
- Price – Another term used to describe odds
- Pricing the Market – The act on introducing odds for a particular market
- Short Odds – When odds are low
- Stake – The amount punters have wagered
- Value Bet – A bet that is more likely to turn out to be a winning one than is indicated by the value of the odds
- Sharp Bettor – An experienced and knowledgeable punter
- Square – A sports betting novice
- Steam – When the value of the odds changes rapidly because of the larger volume of bets that are accepted on that market