Online sports betting is among the hottest trending entities today. The stigma that existed around the world of gambling and betting on sporting events has faded. Sports betting has gone mainstream and is not only accepted within modern society, it’s being embraced in many circles.
People aren’t merely betting on sports online, they are downloading mobile apps to be able to wager on sporting events wherever they might be during the course of their day. It’s become a social activity. Professional sports leagues, once the sworn arch enemy of the betting sites, are today forming alliances with the same companies, recognizing it as another revenue stream for their industry.
If you’re curious about sports betting, but have been afraid to ask how it all works, or are in fact intimidated by the process, relax. We’re here to help. Here’s a primer that covers all you need to get you into the swing of things when it comes to learning about how to bet on sports.
Yes, this is basically sports betting for dummies. So let’s get started by learning the terminology of sports betting.
Table of Contents
What’s A Favorite?
The favorite is the team or player that the oddsmakers are convinced should win the game. They’ll be assigned a more favorable betting line, which means you won’t win as much money by betting favorites.
What’s An Underdog?
The underdog is the team or player that the sportsbooks are of the belief isn’t as likely to win the game. You’ll win more money by betting on underdogs, but the risk you’ll take is greater, simply because they will win less often than the favorite.
How To Read The Odds
In the sports betting world, there are three types of odds that are commonly employed by sportsbooks. These are American odds, decimal odds and fractional odds.
American odds are indicated by plus and minus signs before the number and are based around $100 increments. So if the Minnesota Twins are listed at -125, that means they are favored to win. The -125 means that if you wanted to win $100 betting on the Twins, you’d need to bet $125.
In the same game, if the Chicago White Sox were listed at +150, the plus sign means that they are the underdog. If you were to bet $100 on the ChiSox and they won the game, you’d win $150. These betting lines are commonly referred to as moneylines.
Decimal odds are based on the amount of return you’ll get on your bet, including the amount you are risking on the wager. Decimal odds of 3.00 would mean if you bet $100, you’d win $200, plus you’d get your $100 back.
Fractional odds are the most commonly seen odds in mainstream media. For instance, 4/1 odds would mean that you’d win four times the amount that you bet. On a $100 wager, you’d win $400.
What’s A Spread?
Suppose you want to bet on an NFL game. You could wager on the moneyline, or you could opt to play the point spread. For example, a line you might see would be Atlanta Falcons -5. This means that the Falcons are favored to win the game by five points. If you bet the Falcons, you’ll need them to win by a minimum of six points in order to cover your bet.
On the other hand, if the line was Carolina Panthers +3, this indicates that the Panthers are the underdogs. If you bet on the Panthers, you’ll get three points. In this case, even if Carolina loses the game, as long as the final margin of victory is two points or less, your bet is still a winner.
In baseball, the spread is called the run line and is almost alway plus or minus 1.5. In hockey, it’s referred to as the puck line and again is listed as plus or minus 1.5 in the vast majority of instances.
What Is The Total?
You’ll also see a third betting option on every game called the total. This is the amount of points that a sportsbook believes both teams will combine to score during a game.
As a bettor, you’ll either choose to wager that the teams will go over or under that total.
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