HOW TO BET ON SPORTS
Betting on sports is a great way to contribute to your enjoyment when watching the game, and it can likewise increase your bankroll if you know how to play the proper way.
If you’re just starting with online betting, there’s a brand-new language for you to learn, but the terminology and method of sports betting is not hard to figure out.
Before long you’ll be a pro, once you have the essentials under your belt and some winning strategies to go with them.
For the examples below, we’ll use $100 as the amount that you’ll be wagering, because it’s easier to explain this way. However, you can bet anything from a few dollars on your favorite team, or be a big spender and bet thousands.
TYPES OF ODDS
In a lot of sports, you’ll have three ways to bet: moneylines, totals, and point spreads.
Here’s a quick introduction:
Betting the moneyline basically involves selecting which team you think will win. Easy, right? Not quite. The sports books have to make money too. They include a number next to both teams, along with a “+” or a “—“ symbol that changes the amount you can win, to make the bet more challenging for you. This number is the moneyline.
Without the moneyline, everybody would wager on the much better team (known as the favorite) and leave with easy money most of the time. You may also hear about the moneyline “moving” before a big game. This typically suggests that the casinos have had a great deal of individuals bet on one team in particular, so the moneyline is adjusted (moved) to make the game more even and make it a much safer bet for the casino.
You can also bet on the point spread. While similar to the moneyline, the point spread makes it more difficult than simply selecting a winner. The point spread is the difference in points in between the winning team and losing team. When you see a minus sign beside a team’s name, that means they’re preferred to win by that number of points. When you see a plus sign next to a team’s name, that suggests they’re the underdog and the idea is that they’ll lose by that number of points.
If you choose the favorite, you’re selecting them to “beat the spread”– a term you’ll hear frequently in sports betting. If they win the game but they did it by less than the point spread, they “didn’t cover” and you’ve lost your bet(same goes if they lose the game). If you choose the underdog, you are betting that they will either lose the match by less than the amount of the spread, or will even win the match.
For example, let’s imagine the below line:
Team A -6
Team B +6
In this case, Team A is the favorite and Team B is the underdog. If the final score is 42 to 40 for Team A, then Team A won the game but didn’t cover the spread. If you chose Team A for the point spread, your bet would lose (the adjusted score would be 36 to 40). If you chose Team B for the point spread, your bet would win since Team B did in fact cover the spread (the adjusted score would be 42 to 46), even though they didn’t win the match.
Can’t decide who will win? In sports wagering, you can play along without even needing to select a winner. Playing Totals, you’re betting that the final combined score of both teams will be greater or less than a given number. This number is set by the book ahead of the game, normally a couple of days or weeks in advance depending on the sport. It’s called the over/under, and you’ll frequently see it listed as O/U, or in some cases it will just be a number beside the moneyline.
Different Odds Formats
Depending on the online casino you’re opting for, you might see the odds showed a little differently. Some sites offer odds in different formats, so you can choose which format makes the most sense to you.
American Odds for moneyline bets show a “+” or a “-” symbol before the value. If you see a plus sign, the number that follows it is be the quantity you’d win if you wager $100. If you see a minus sign before to the number, that’s the amount you would have to wager in order to win $100.
Imagine the Dallas Cowboys are playing the Pittsburgh Steelers. The casino sets the game at
Dallas (-150) vs. Pittsburgh (+120 ). If you bet $150 on Dallas, you’d win $100 if they win the match (for a total return amount of $250). If you wager $100 on Pittsburgh, you’d win $120 if they win (for a total return amount of $220). This also tells you that Dallas is seen as the favorite: it’s harder to make money by picking them, since they’re a more secure bet.
Playing Fractional Odds is another kind of wagering, where the larger the difference in between the top number and bottom number indicates a larger payout (while also being a bigger longshot). To calculate your winnings when using fractional odds, you multiply your bet by the top number (numerator), then divide the result by the bottom (denominator).
So a $10 bet at 9/2 odds is (10 * 9)/ 2, which equals $45. In many cases, a team is such a heavy favorite that the numerator will be less than the denominator– so $10 bet at 2/9 odds is (10 * 2)/ 9, which pays you just $2.22.
Decimal Odds are the simplest to calculate. Just multiply your risk amount by the decimal number supplied by the casino. For every single $1 you bet, you’ll get that quantity times the decimal.
Imagine the Cowboys are at 1.67 and you lay down $100 on them. You’ll score a cool $167 ($67 profit) if they win.
Bet Types and Strategy
We now know that the moneyline just means selecting a winner. However, where are you most likely to play moneylines? In hockey and baseball, given that the points scored are low and there’s not a great deal of point spread to have fun with, the moneyline is typically the way to wager. Moneylines also are the typical way to wager on UFC, boxing, or tennis.
You can find moneylines in high-scoring sports like football and basketball as well, but these are seen as less fun for some bettors, since there are other methods to bet that give bigger payouts and more action.
On the flip side of what we just pointed out, point spread betting on basketball or football offers a lot more in regards to excitement. Something to remember: if the point spread ends up being the exact difference in the final score, it’s settled as a “push” and you get your money back.
Hockey, baseball, soccer and other sports provide small spreads, normally pretty standard ones that indicate who the favored team is. In any sport, if the line shows “pick ‘em”, that means the teams are evenly matched and you just have to pick a winner.
This is a good bet for a fan who may not care at all about any of the teams involved, or may simply not have a good idea of who will win. If you know that both teams are offensive powerhouses, you’ll want to choose the Over. Similarly, when both teams have strong defense, the Under is the way to go.
If you’re looking to turn a small bet into a huge payout, parlays might be your way to go. A parlay involves linking two or more bets together, and the odds are multiplied by each other. A $2 bet on four-game parlay can really add up. The catch? All of your picks must win. If one is a losing bet, the entire parlay is shot. Your parlay can involve any number of bets (usually up to 12), and can include a variety of different bet types (such as moneylines, spreads, and totals). Your potential payout increases with each bet that you add, but the probability of getting it all right also goes down accordingly.
Teasers and Pleasers
A teaser bet lets you move a point spread more in your favor. The catch? You’ll need to make it into a parlay of a minimum of two games and your total payout is lowered.
For instance, you can tease two games by 7 points each– increasing your likelihood of winning by making the spread larger; the casino will have a corresponding payout structure that shows you how much those 7 points will “cost” you in terms of a lowered payout.
Pleasers do the opposite. You’ll increase your potential payout, however, you need to “give” points back to do it.
Now you understand how to play the spread, bet on a moneyline, go with the over or the under, and tease, please, and parlay your way to the bank.
Excited? Now that you’re informed, go out there and get into some games!