While many of us have a great love and admiration for sports, sports betting can seem unfamiliar or strange for many of us. This is because although sports betting is clearly related to the sports we know and love, it is a totally different thing, and given that money is involved, you want to make sure that you know what you are doing. Whether you are interested in sports betting because you want to win money or you are looking to add some extra excitement to watching a sport you love or cheering the team you love, it is vital that you know what sports betting is all about. We’ll take you through different bets, betting odds and some of the most popular sports you can bet on.
Of course, with so many sports betting options, and so many sports betting sites to choose from, you may need a helping hand knowing where to play. We’ll take you through some sports betting site reviews in greater detail later on but if you cannot wait to get into the action, here is our top 3 sports betting sites.
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Types of Sports Bets
The Win Bet or the Moneyline Bet
The Win Bet is the most obvious straightforward sports bet you can place, although in the United States because they like to approach sports and sports betting differently, it is called the Moneyline Bet. This is a simple bet where you place money on who you think is going to win the game, match or event.
If the team you back is likely to win the game, the odds will be shorter, if the team you back is less likely to win the game, the odds will be shorter. If Manchester United are playing Liverpool and you expect Manchester United to win, you would place a bet on the Red Devils. If United win, your bet comes in and you get a return on the respective odds. If the game ends in a draw or Liverpool win, your bet loses.
Similarly, if a basketball game is being played between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, you can place a Win Bet or a Moneyline Bet. If you believe the Warriors will win, place a bet on them and if they win, your bet comes up. If you bet on the Warriors but the Cavaliers win, you lose your bet.
The Chicago Bulls are due to play the Detroit Pistons in a basketball game. You want to put your money on the Bulls winning, so you would place a Win Bet on them.
Handicap Bet or The Spread Bet
The spread bet or the handicap bet is extremely popular in US sports betting but it has grown into a very popular form of betting around the world. In theory, it is similar to the Win Bet in that you are backing a particular team but the difference comes with the point spread which is set up to make both of the teams equal. Your options are to back the favorite team to win by at least the margin of the spread or back the unflavoured team to lose by less than the margin of the spread, draw or even win the game.
If the Tennessee Titans are playing the Denver Broncos, the Titans may be listed as favorites for the game with a point spread of 8 points. If you place a bet on the Titans, you need them to win by at least 9 points (one more than the spread) to win your bet. If you place a bet on the Broncos, you win your bet if the Broncos win the game or if the Broncos lose by 7 points or less (if the Broncos lose by 8 points/Titans win by 8 points, it is classed as a push). Some betting sites will provide the stake back and some sites will consider this a loss, so make sure you know what the likely outcome of a bet is.
Totals Betting or Over/Under Betting
This is a style of bet that has become very popular in the online sports betting era and the premise falls on people betting on whether more or less of a certain amount of goals, points, runs or even aspects like bookings, corners or fouls will occur in the match.
If England play Scotland at football and you expect the game to have a lot of goals, you may want to place a bet on the Over/Under market. If you wager a bet on there being Over 3.5 goals scored in the match, you will win your bet if the game finishes with four goals scored. It doesn’t matter how these four goals are scored, as long as four goals are scored. These are all winning score lines with an Over 3.5 goals bet:
These are all examples of winning score lines with an Over 3.5 goals bet:
- England 4 v Scotland 0
- England 5 v Scotland 0
- England 3 v Scotland 1
- England 3 v Scotland 3
- England 2 v Scotland 2
- England 1 v Scotland 3
- England 0 v Scotland 4
These are all examples of losing score lines with Over 3.5 goals bet:
- England 3 v Scotland 0
- England 2 v Scotland 1
- England 1 v Scotland 2
- England 1 v Scotland 1
- England 0 v Scotland 3
It doesn’t matter which team wins, or even if the game is a draw, an Over 3.5 goals scored bet wins if four or more goals are scored and an Over 3.5 goals scored bet loses if three or fewer goals are scored.
Special Bets or Prop Bets
You’d think that the above bets would be more than enough for sports betting fans but the emergence of online sports betting has created the chance to bet on virtually every aspect of the game. As an example, here are some of the Prop Bets you will find the soccer (football in Europe!) market:
- First goal-scorer
- Next goal-scorer
- Time of the first goal
- Time of the first booking
- Specific player to be booked
- Number of corners in a game
- Odd/Even number of corners
- Over/Under for squad numbers of goal scorers
- Penalty to be awarded
- Penalty to be scored
You’ll find that virtually every aspect that can be gambled on for your favorite sport will be included in the Special or Prop Bets.
Outrights or Futures
This style of bet is when you place money on the eventual winner of a competition or tournament. As the name suggests, you are backing a team to be the outright winner or for an individual player to claim an award in the future. Examples of this would include backing FC Barcelona to win the Champions League or backing Lionel Messi to be the top goal-scorer in the Champions League tournament. Basketball examples would include backing the Cleveland Cavaliers to win the NBA Finals or for LeBron James to win the MVP for the NBA Finals.
Accumulators or Parlays
These bets take individual bets, normally the win or Moneyline Bet, and running them together. In an Accumulator Bet, you need all of the individual bets to come up to win. As an example, you may place the following bets:
- Celtic to beat Rangers
- Manchester City to beat Chelsea
- FC Barcelona to beat Real Madrid
- Juventus to draw with AC Milan
- Liverpool to beat Everton
If you place these five bets into an accumulator bet, all five results have to come up for you to win the best. If Celtic beat Rangers, Manchester City beat Chelsea, FC Barcelona beat Real Madrid, Juventus beat AC Milan but Liverpool loses to Everton, your bet loses. It doesn’t matter that four bets came up out of five, you need the five to come up.
Some online sports betting sites are now providing players with money back or a free bet offer if they get close to winning an accumulator, such as correctly calling four out of five bets. This isn’t the same as winning a bet but it does at least minimize some of the bet.
The main types of odds are:
Most online sports betting sites allow you to alternate between these odds, so you can pick the option that is most comfortable. For many people, decimal odds is the easiest layout but fractional odds has been the traditional layout in the UK and this is a set-up that many people feel comfortable with.
What are Fractional odds?
The simplest way to get your head around fractional odds is to consider “how much you stand to win/how much you wager”. For a 10/1 bet, if you wager £1, you will win £10 (and you get your stake back). If you have a 7/2 bet, you wager £2 and you win £7 (while getting your stake back).
Of course, decimal odds are very common on many online sports betting sites these days. Many people consider decimal odds easier to understand.
What are Decimal odds?
Decimal odds are much more straightforward as you can automatically tell which odds are bigger. There is also the fact that decimal odds include your stake being included in the returns, which adds another level of simplicity. The decimal odds of 2.0 is the equivalent of a 1.1 bet, an even money bet, and any decimal bet that is less than 2.0 is regarded as an odds on et. As an example, with a decimal bet of 1.50, a winning bet will see you win half of your stake.
What are American odds?
With American odds, the favored team comes with a – symbol (a negative symbol) and the larger the absolute value of the number, the more likely it is that it will win. As an example, a -250 bet is more likely to win than a -150 bet.
The less favored team, or the underdog, will have a + symbol (a positive symbol) and the higher the number involved, the less likely it is that the underdog will win. In this regard, a +500 underdog is much more of an outside than a +150 underdog.
Calculating probability through betting odds
One of the most common ways to see odds listed on site is through fractional odds, this is when the two numbers are separated by a slash, as an example of 10/1. This lets you work out how likely it is deemed that an event will happen.
- 9/1 can be worked out as 1/(9+1)=0.10, which means that there is a 10% chance the event will occur
- 4/1 can be worked out as 1/(4+1)=0.20, which means that there is a 20% chance the event will occur
- 1/1 can be worked out as 1/(1+1)=0.50, which means that there is a 50% chance the event will occur
- 1/4 can be worked out as 4/(4+1)=0.80, which means that there is a 80% chance the event will occur
Sports betting site reviews
Given that there is a wide range of sports betting sites, you may feel as though you need a helping hand to find the site that is best for your needs. This is why we are delighted to offer sports betting site reviews. These reviews focus on the aspects that we, and most players, deem to be important, and hopefully these reviews will help you determine what online sports betting site is best for your criteria.
We know that different players have different needs, so a site that is good for you may be bad for someone else. We want you to feel as though you can make the best call on what site is right for you, so you can be confident we’ll cover welcome offers and promotions, live betting options, general layout and we will mention negative points. Some sports betting reviews are flimsy attempts at sending you towards a site with the aim of earning affiliate marketing for the owners. This isn’t what we are looking to do. We know that there are great sports book sites out there, and there are some that should be avoided, we just want to help you find the site that is best for you.
Online sports betting FAQ
How to bet on sports?
Betting on sports is fairly simple with online sports betting sites set up to make things as painless as possible. Pick your favorite sport, pick the match you wish to bet on or choose your bet, select the amount of money you wish to wager, double-check the bet and then click on the button that says place your bet (or equivalent). The site will take care of the rest and you should find that most sites make it very easy to find the bet you are looking for.
Is online betting illegal?
Sports betting is entirely legal in most places but of course, certain locations or certain individuals may face restrictions. There are age restrictions associated with sports betting, so make sure that you meet the age criteria in your location. Some areas do not permit sports betting to take place online, and therefore online betting is illegal in these places but mainly, sports betting online is legal.
What are betting odds?
Betting odds are the expectations of an outcome occurring. Each outcome is provided with odds. An event that is likely to occur, a strong team defeating a weak team, will have small odds, which means the return from the bet will relatively small. An event that is unlikely to occur, a weak team defeating a strong team, will have large odds, which means the return from the bet will be relatively large.
What are money lines in betting?
Money lines is a US term for the most straightforward of bet, when you bet on a winning outcome in a sports game or event.
What is handicapping in betting?
Handicap betting is based upon balancing the advantage out between the two sides. If one team is favored to win, the handicap bet will see the bet focus on the favored team winning by a set margin or the unflavored team avoiding a defeat greater than the stated margin.
What is the best sports bet?
The best sports bet will differ depending to what a player is looking for, what they like and what sort of odds they are looking for. Some people will argue that an accumulator bet, which involves a number of separate bets which must all win for the accumulator bet to win, to be the best sports bet because the odds are higher, providing a bigger return, but of course, when the odds are greater, there is a larger likelihood of losing.
What is the worst sports bet?
Again, the worst sports bet will depend on the individual and their own needs. However, sports bets with low odds are considered to be the worst sports bet by many. This is because they provide very little return or incentive for the gambler.
Are there any Bitcoin sports betting sites?
Yes. This online currency is growing increasingly popular and more and more online sports betting sites are providing deposit and withdrawal options for Bitcoin users. We provide a detailed rundown of where Bitcoin users can bet on sports games online.
Different types of sports
There is technically no limit on the sports that can be bet on but you’ll find that most sports betting sites focus on the most popular sports. In the UK and in Europe, football (or soccer) is the most important sport, with the most betting options available. After this, sports like tennis, golf, rugby and horse racing are the most popular options. There is a growing level of interest in American sports but this may still be a niche area of the site you use.
For US based sites or at least sites aimed at US players, there is a greater level of focus on the US sports. This means basketball, football (American Football) and baseball are very important and popular. After this, soccer is a very popular option and beyond this, you move into niche sports territory.