Sports Betting Explained: Learn How To Bet On Sports

Have you ever wanted to place a sports bet, but didn’t know how sports betting works? Well, then this article is for you! Here’s everything there is to know about sportsbook wagering.

In our sports betting explained guide, we will take you through the basics of sports wagering in the United States.

What is Sports Betting?

Sports betting, sports wagering, or sportsbook gambling is the action of predicting sports results and placing a wager on the outcome. The frequency of sports bet upon varies by culture, with the vast majority of bets being placed on association American Football, Basketball, Baseball, Hockey, Soccer, Track Cycling, and Auto Racing (both NASCAR and Formula 1).

Why Should I Bet on Sports Games?

Sports betting can be a great way to make sports more exciting and fun. Most bettors view sports betting as a game within a game. They are trying to beat the sportsbook and so they become involved in the game.

On the other hand, some will bet on sports games for profit. Although, we never advise betting as a way to make money.

In other words, you should always bet for entertainment purposes, not financial income.

How To Place A Bet

Betting is a popular activity for many people. There are lots of types of bets and how you place the bet can affect how much money, or how much risk, that you take on when betting. To help to reduce the amount of time it takes to research what type of bet will suit your needs, we have put together the most popular wagers.

Types of Sports Wagers Explained

It is important to know the most popular wagers sportsbooks offer because not all sports bettors are built the same. Therefore, some may prefer money line sports wagers, while others may prefer prop bets.

Below we will discuss all the wagers that can be made at sports betting sites.

Moneyline Bet

Moneyline bets are wagers on which team will win the game outright.

For example, let’s say that you place a sports bet on the New England Patriots to win. If the Patriots happen to lose, then your sports betting wager is considered lost money and you will not get it back.

Prop Bet

Prop Bets are sports bets that are made on the outcome of an event (or events) other than who will win.

For example, let’s say you place sports bet that Tom Brady throws more touchdowns than Aaron Rodgers in their game this weekend. This sports bet is considered a prop wager because it doesn’t have anything to do with which team wins or loses.

Parlay Bet

Parlay Bets you combine two or more bets into one bet. However, they must both win in order for your sports betting wager to be successful. Parlay bet payouts are usually higher than straight bets, but the odds of winning a parlay are much lower.

Point Spread Bets

A spread bet is a sports bet where the sportsbook sets point spread based on how much of a point difference they believe one team will win by.

For example, let’s say that Vegas has set the points spread for New England Patriots vs Dallas Cowboys as seven points and you think that the Pats can beat them by eight points or more. In this case, you would pick “the over”.

If New England wins by more than seven points, you win. However, if the Cowboys win, or lose by less by seven points or less, you lose.

Totals Bet

A total points bet, also known as an under/over bet, is a sports bet where you predict whether the total points scored during a match will be over or under a specific point total.

For example, let’s say that a sportsbook set the combined points total on New England vs Dallas as 47. If you think the points line is set too high, then you can bet the “under”, whereas if you think the points line is set too low, then you can bet on the “over”.

Points Betting

Points Betting is a type of wager where the returns are based on the outcome of the game rather than on pre-determined odds. In other words, your returns go up as well as down, and you can even lose more than your original stake.

For example, let’s say you wagered $10 on the Giants whose point spread is -3. If the Giants win by more than three points, then you will earn $10 for every point they win by.

However, be aware that in points betting your losses can be greater than your stake.

For example, if the Giants draw the game, then they have not covered the spread by three points. Therefore, you would lose $30 instead.

Round Robin Bet

A round robin bet is similar to a parlay in that it combines the probability of numerous events into one wager.

However, where a parlay bet pools many bets together. A round robin bet can combine as many as fourteen different wagers into doubles.

In-Play Bet

An in-play bet is one that takes place while an event is actually taking place. For example, let’s say that you’re watching an NBA game where the favored team is losing. However, you think they are going to make a comeback and win the match.

Therefore, with in-play betting, you can place a bet on them to win after the game has started.

Cash Out Betting Explained

Cash-out betting is a way to get paid immediately on your winnings. Cash-out betting happens when you bet on an event and then decide before the actual outcome of that event is determined, to get paid now rather than waiting until the end.

On the other hand, it can be a way to minimize your losses and recuperate some of your money if your bet is losing and you think it is going to lose.

Betting Odds Explained

Knowing how to read sports betting odds and understanding what those numbers mean is a key to sports betting success.

Essentially, sports betting odds represent the probability of the event occurring, but odds can be displayed in three different formats.

Fractional Odds

Fractional odds are sports betting odds that use a fractional number to represent the sports bet odds. The sports betting fractional number is a ratio of the payout to the stake, written as so: Odds = Payout / Stake.

For example, in fractional odds, it would be written like this: “11/20”. In other words, for every $20 you stake, you would win $11 back, plus your stake.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are sports betting odds shown in decimal form. Decimal odds are more commonly used across Europe. For example, let’s that the Miami Dolphins win against the Jacksonville Jaguars at odds of 2.35 and you wagered $10 on Miami.

American Odds

American odds format represents how much you must place on your selection to win $100. For example, if you want to bet $100 on ‘Atlanta Falcons with the moneyline odds at +105’, your potential return is $205.

However, if the American odds were -105 and you bet $100, your potential return would be $95.

Sportsbooks Explained

Online Sportsbooks

Online sportsbooks are betting sites that accept sports wagers online. The main benefit of an online sportsbook is that they make it easier to place a bet instantly.

Also, online sportsbooks tend to offer better odds because they don’t have as many overheads as a retail sportsbook.

Retail Sportsbooks

Retail sportsbooks are physical locations where bettors can place an in-person sports wager.

Where online sportsbooks focus mainly on speed and price, retail sportsbooks offer a great social betting experience.

For instance, the BetMGM Sportsbook & Bar at Borgata Casino has a first-class betting lounge with a 40-foot wide LED video wall and six betting windows. This allows people to socialize while watching sports and betting on the outcome.

How Do Sportsbooks Make Money?

Retail sportsbooks make money by charging a fee (known as the vigorish, juice, or simply “the line”) on every wager they accept. As a result, the sportsbook will set a line, and then adjust it as bets are made to ensure the books are balanced.

Legalized Sports Betting Explained

Since the repeal of PASPA in 2018, more states have legalized sports betting. However, the level of legalization varies from state to state.

For example, some states, like New Jersey, have legalized in-person wagering and online sports betting at licensed bookmakers.

Other states, like Delaware, have made it legal to bet on sports in person. But online betting is not legal.

And some states, like Tennessee, have legalized online sports wagering, but not legalized in-person betting.

Sports Betting Strategies Explained

There are many sports betting strategies that sports bettors can use to improve their chances of winning and make money.

The sports betting strategies that are listed below have been shown to be effective, but you should do your own research before starting because each person has different goals and preferences.

1. Be Consistent

If you are consistent in your bets, then it will be an easier transition to put money on the line. If there is a pattern that bettors can follow, they might find success more quickly than if they were trying something new each time. It takes discipline but consistency is one of the most crucial aspects when betting sports online.

2. Research

In order to have a chance at making money, bettors must research the teams and players. This can be done in many ways but one of the most effective is by watching games or highlights from previous events. If you know what kind of form each team has with certain players or coaches it will make betting on sports easier because you’ll

3. Be Objective

Odds work for a reason and the sportsbooks have an advantage. It’s important to be objective when betting on sports because this allows bettors to make smart decisions based on numbers as opposed to emotions. Betting with emotion will only lead those who do it down a path of losing money, so place bets from a logical

4. Know Your Limits

We all want to win but we need to be aware of what we’re spending and how much we can afford. There is no point in going crazy with bets because this will only lead to too many losses and a loss of too much money. Instead, take your time before placing each bet so that you know exactly how much you can afford to lose.

Remember, betting should always be fun and not a way to increase your income.

Betting Responsibly

Sports betting is a fun way to bring sports fans closer to the action. Therefore, sports betting should be treated as a bit of fun, and never for financial gain.

It is important to know how much money you can afford to lose before placing your first sports bet. Similarly, knowing the amount available in your bank account before making any wagers will keep you from going broke after winning.

Remember: If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800-GAMBLER.

Common Betting Terms Explained

Betting Lines

Betting lines are the betting odds available for any given game or event. These lines are an estimate of how likely something is to happen, and not the actual outcome (the betting line does not guarantee anything).

In other words, the betting line is the implied probability of something happening.

Favorites vs Underdogs

When a bookmaker determines the betting lines, they take into account how each team stacks up against their opponent. This makes favorites and underdogs very important for bettors to understand when evaluating any particular game or event.

Favorites typically have shorter odds than their opponents because the sportsbooks expect them to win more often over time (odds reflect this expectation), while underdogs will have longer odds since they’re expected to lose more games going forward.

Whereas, the underdog is the team that is expected to lose. Therefore, they have longer odds because they are not as good of a perceived team.

Understanding the difference between favorites and underdogs is important because it can affect how confident you might want to be when betting on a certain team.

Point Spreads

The point spread is a point amount that is given to the favorite or underdog of a game.

The point spread of a game causes much speculation among players and is one of the most popular bets that are made.

If the point spread is 7, the favorite is expected to win the game by 7 points or more.


The Moneyline is another type of wager that can be made when betting on a game. The Moneyline uses the odds to determine how much you would win if you bet $100.