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How Does Sports Betting Work?

Sports betting is a popular pastime for people from all over the world, but for those who are brand new to betting it can be very confusing to know how to get started.

While a lot of sports fans make plenty of cash from betting on sports games throughout the year it is also easy to lose lots of money if you do not know what you are doing.

But online sports betting can be extremely rewarding – financially as well as being heaps of fun – so it is well worth learning the basics so you can get up and running quickly.

Our guide will tell you everything you need to know to get started with your sports betting career. You can start making serious money from day one, so let’s not waste any more time!

 

Basics of Sports Betting

 

Most people will have at least a rudimentary knowledge of how sports betting works, but for the purpose of this guide it is worth starting at the very beginning.

When you bet on sports you are effectively predicting what will happen in games, whether that is on football, tennis, cricket, NFL or whatever sport you choose to have a wager on.

Bets on which team will win a match are some of the most basic wagers on offer, but when you have more experience you can go deeper with many hundreds of different markets available.

Placing a bet on the correct score of a sports match is another of the most common wagers and these can be available at big odds, so they can be a great way to win a lot of money.

While most sports bets are forecasting what is going to happen in a sports match, you can also place a wager on what is not going to happen.

For instance, while a popular sports bet on football is having a wager on both teams scoring a goal in the game, it is also possible to bet against both teams scoring in the match.

But let’s stick with the basics for now and explore the win-draw-win market in a bit more detail.

This is the first bet option you will usually see when you open a bookmaker page for a particular sports match, with odds listed for each possible outcome – home win, draw and away win.

As extra-time and penalties are not included in basic win-draw-win bets, with just three possible eventualities this is a great place to start. Let’s take a look at how the odds work for this market.

 

Understanding the Odds

 

The first thing to say about betting odds is that they can be displayed in a few different ways.

We’ll come on to explaining those a bit later in this guide, but for now we will stick with the traditional fractional odds method of displaying the prices on offer.

Let’s say you are looking at the sports betting lines for a Premier League football match between rivals Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils would likely be the favourites to win the match, although this depends on all sorts of factors such as current form, injuries and where the teams are placed in the table.

United may be offered at a price of around 7/5 to beat Liverpool. This means that for every £5 you place on the wager, you will win £7 back if your prediction proves to be correct.

Liverpool might be available to back at odds of 2/1, which means you win £2 for each £1 you stake, plus of course you will get your stake back as part of your total winnings.

And finally, the draw might be on offer from the online bookmakers at 3/1. You likely get the picture by now, but this means you win £3 for each £1 you place on the bet.

But what about the other ways of displaying odds that are offered on a typical sportsbook?

  • Decimal odds and American odds

Some people find odds easier to get their head around by opting to display them as decimals instead of fractions, with this usually easy enough to change on sports betting websites.

Decimal odds are sometimes easier to work out than fractions, but really it is completely up to you how you decide to have odds displayed on your chosen online bookmaker website.

Using the same example from above, Liverpool visiting Old Trafford to play Manchester United in a Premier League football match, let’s see how the change in type of odds affects matters.

Liverpool’s price of 2/1 to win the match would become a decimal price of 3.0, while the 3/1 offered for the draw would be changed to 4.0. United’s 7/5 price would become 1.4.

If you ever want to change a fraction price to decimal odds, all you need to do is to simply divide the top number by the bottom number – it really is that easy to work out.

Those you want to bet on US sports teams may also find American odds to be on offer when gambling and again, these are relatively easy to work out.

In American odds, the amount shown is how much money you would have to place on a bet in order to win $100 – or whatever currency you are using for your sports betting.

Sports bettors who see 110 in American odds would therefore need to bet $110 in order to win profits of $100 from the wager.

American odds are not widely used outside of the United States, but they can still be useful to know about, especially if you are opting to bet on sports such as the NFL.

 

Understanding Point Spreads and Betting Lines

 

Those who want to learn how to bet on sports will also need to understand point spreads, as well as all the various betting lines on offer, if they are to succeed.

We’ll start with point spreads, which are simple enough once you know how they work.

Point spreads are common in US sports such as basketball and American football and they essentially work by giving one of the teams involved in the match a handicap.

This handicap can be either positive or negative and, for the purposes of the bet, is added to their score at the end of the match.

Let’s say you want to place a spread bet on an NFL game that is taking place between the Packers and the Patriots.

This would likely be a close match, but for the purposes of this guide let’s say you think that the Packers are going to rack up a really comfortable win over the Patriots, by a few clear scores.

You could therefore take the Packers to win by at least 10 points, which would provide you with much better odds for your bet than if you were just going to bet on them to win the match.

Finally, let’s take a quick look at the various betting lines you need to be aware of before you start to bet on sports.

Betting lines work in a similar way to the handicap in that you are predicting whether the score will be over or under an amount that is set by the bookmaker.

That should be the basics covered for those you want to learn how to bet on sports. Good luck!