Beginner’s Guide to Sports Betting

Sports gambling can be confusing for people that want to start but don’t understand all the fancy words and numbers.  If you try to look it up there are no websites that explain it in layman’s terms and if you do, they are typically more confusing then helpful.

Sports betting is already a gigantic industry and once it is legalized it will grow even more.  With the legalization hopefully coming soon this is the perfect time for everyone to learn the basics.

Let’s start off by explaining what you see when going to bet on a game.  If you wanted to bet on this Brooklyn Nets vs Charlotte Hornets game this is what you would see.  There are three main things available to bet on for each game:

The Spread

For any matchup, both teams will either have a + or -.  This means that at the end of the game you add or subtract that number from the final score.  The team that has the negative points is seen as the favorite in the eyes of the Vegas Bookmakers.  It’s honestly amazing how close the Bookmakers are on most of the scores.

For example, the Nets are underdogs in this matchup and therefore are getting 8 points.  If you bet on the Nets and at the end of the game if the Nets are within 7 points or less the bet will win.  If they are losing by 8 points and adding the points will make the score tied then it is considered a push (more to come on pushes later).

The (-110) under the +8 are the odds that the Nets will finish the game within 8 points.  It would take a bet of $110 to win $100, or a bet of $11 will win $10.

The Money-line

When betting on the Money-line you are picking the winner of the game. There are no points being taken or given the team just has to win.

The Nets Money-line is +300.  The Bookmakers are saying the Nets are huge underdogs in this game.  When the odds are positive it means the outcome most likely won’t happen.  But sometimes it is worth the risk because the pay out is big.

A bet $100 on the Nets would win $300.  Basically any bet would be tripled in this instance.

Compared to betting on the Hornets Money-line at -380.  These bets are not worth doing straight up because the pay out stinks.  A bet of $380 will only win $100.  The Hornets are pretty big favorites in this example.

The Over/Under-

This part of sports betting really keeps your mind working if you bet on it.  You constantly have to keep adding the score and keeping track of it if you are watching the game.

Betting on the over means you think the total number of points in the game will be more than the number posted. Betting on the under means you think the total number of points in the game will be less than that number.

In this example the Over/Under is 216.5.  If the final score of the game was 110-102 then the under bet would win.

The odds for the Over/Under work the same way as the odds for the spread.  The (-110) under the numbers are the odds for each selection.

Once you figure out which bets you want to place it’s time to figure out if you want to do a straight bet or a parlay.

Straight bets are simple.  It is just one game.  The pay out will be exactly what the odds show.

Parlays on the other hand are confusing to fully understand. But the good thing is you don’t need to know everything about it when you are first starting off.  Parlays are when you choose two or more things to bet on but they are all on the same betting ticket.

Every game has to be chosen correctly for a parlay to win.  If you have a 4 team parlay and only 3 of the teams win you will lose the bet. If you actually choose all 4 correctly you can win big.  The pay outs for parlays are confusing and pretty unnecessary to understand if you don’t need to, but Bleacher Report explains it well for people that want to learn.

A couple of important things to remember:

  • When betting on negative odds (ex. -375) you have to bet the same amount of the odds to win $100.  (Bet $375 to win $100).
  • When betting on positive odds (ex. +450) you have to bet $100 to win the amount of the odds. (Bet $100 to win $450).

Sports Gambling makes watching sports even more exciting than it already is but it is a risky game to play.  I just hope everyone has more luck than I have because I definitely have not had very much.

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