Sports Betting Explained: How to Bet on Sports

How to Make Money Sports Betting?

Legal sports betting has spread quickly across the USA in just the last few years. This form of gambling was actually illegal in the US for more than 25 years. However, it was recently legalized federally. It’s now up to every US state to make its own sports betting laws. Lots of states have now launched their own sports betting markets. This has drawn in a lot of people who are new to sports betting. If you want sports betting explained in an easy way, you’re in the right place.

In the US, there used to be a law called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). Passed in 1992, this bill prohibited sports betting in the US. However, the bill did allow legal sports betting Nevada, Oregon, Montana, and Delaware. For more than 25 years, Nevada had the most active sports betting market in the country.

Today, this has changed. Nevada is still a major player in the US sports betting scene, but other states have joined in too. Presently, there are 18 states in the USA with legal sports betting. Additionally, other states are in the process of legalizing sports betting. In this states, you’ll find lots of legal online sports betting and retail sports betting options.

There’s a lot you should know about legal sports betting in the USA. Are you asking yourself, How does sports betting work? If so, then you have arrived at the right location. This guide explains how to bet on sports in the USA. We also give some practical tips on how to make money sports betting. Overall, we cover all the sports betting basics.

How Does Sports Betting Work?

In the simplest sense, sports betting involves placing a bet on the outcome of a sporting event or game. Gamblers seeking to place bets essentially try to predict some part of the game’s outcome. The simplest bet is placed on who will win a game. Gamblers can also bet on the final score of the game. Bets on the “spread” between the winning and losing final scores are also common. However, you don’t always need to bet on who will win or what the final score will be. There are plenty of betting options for most sporting events.

Sports betting involves lots of statistics. From this data, sportsbooks set specific odds for different outcomes of games. Sportsbooks will have oddsmakers who are experts in this area. The oddsmakers will set lines or odds for specific bets.

Gamblers can use these odds to judge the likelihood that a particular outcome will actually happen. Additionally, many avid sports bettors are huge sports fans. Most people betting on sports already have a good idea of what they believe a game’s outcome will be. You can increase your odds of winning a sports bet by doing your own research. It helps to closely follow the sports and teams you’re betting on.

Sportsbooks in the United States offer legal betting on all the top major league sports in the USA. You can place legal sports bets on NHL, NFL, NBA, and MLB games as well as tons more. Bets on tennis, golf, NASCAR, UFC, and more are also possible. Additionally, many sportsbooks offer betting on international sports like cricket, rugby, Formula 1, and soccer.

Why Do People Bet on Sports?

This might seem like a simple question, but the truth is there a lots of reasons that people bet on sports. Some bettors bet very rarely, only when they get a good feeling about a game. Others place small bets often but just for fun. Additionally, some bettors are very active. A select few gamblers are constantly checking the odds and researching game matchups. These gamblers are seeking to make as much money as they can.

The Common Reasons

These are some of the most common reasons that people bet on sports:

  • Entertainment: It can be fun to place sports bets! If you’re into a specific sport, it can make things more exciting to wager a little money on it.
  • Potential to Make Money: You can win real money placing legal US sports bets. In some cases, you can win a lot of money. It all depends on which bets you choose and how much you wager. This is where research really comes into play.
  • The Challenge: For some bettors, placing the right bets is a personal challenge. For gamblers who are sports experts, it can really push their knowledge to keep a win streak going. Many sports bettors are deeply invested both mentally and financially. It’s a constant challenge to keep picking the right bet.
  • Getting Into the Game: Let’s say you have no interest in any of the teams playing in this year’s NHL playoffs. Placing some bets can bring you back into the game. It can help you stay invested in the game even if your favorite teams are out of the running.
  • It’s Easy to Start: In US states with legal sports betting, it’s very easy to place bets. In most states, new gamblers can make accounts online and start placing bets right away. With smartphones in everyone’s pocket today, mobile sports betting has become very popular.

Sports Betting Basics

If you’re new to the world of sports betting, it can seem overwhelming at first. However, it’s actually very easy to get started. If you start slow and simple, you will get the hang of it very quickly.

Sports betting in the USA became legal at the federal level in 2018. In that year, the Supreme Court overturned PASPA. After PASPA fell, states could then decide on their own how to regulate sports betting.

In most states, you can make a new account at an online sportsbook in under a minute. You can do it right from your computer or phone. Once your account is verified, you can deposit cash and start placing bets. Most online sportsbook accept all the most common payment and withdrawal methods.

These are the basic elements of sports betting:

  • The Benefits: Obviously, the main benefit of sports betting for the bettor is the chance of winning big. However, there are other benefits too. Legalizing the practice has actually cut down on organized crime. Additionally, legal sports betting has create a lot of new jobs.
  • The Mechanics: It’s true that sports betting can get complicated, but it doesn’t have to. You can place simple bets on basic outcomes like game winners. These are known as singles bets. If you’re an advanced sports junkie, you can bet on more complex factors like spreads or props.
  • The Odds: Every sportsbook will provide its own odds for most bets. These odds are usually very accurate. The sportsbook will use statistics and probabilities to determine the best odds in any situation. Positive odds are usually given to underdogs and imply that larger returns are possible. Negative odds are given to favorites where the potential for a big win is lower.

Sports Betting Explained: Types of Sports Bets

We briefly mentioned a few common types of sports bets. The moneyline singles bet is the simplest bet you can make. Futures and props can get a bit more complicated. We recommend that beginners start with simple bets before trying more complex ones. Once you get more experience, you can confidently place bigger, riskier bets.

These are the most common types of sports bets:

The First Part Common Types of Sports Betting

  • Moneyline: This bet is the simplest sports bet you can make. With a moneyline bet, you’re just picking the winner of a game. You can pick the game favorite, but you won’t get a big payout if you win. However, if you pick the underdog and get lucky, you can potentially win a huge payout.
  • Over / Under: This bet is also called a totals bet. It is placed on the total number of points scored in a game between both teams. Sportsbook oddsmakers will set a benchmark total number for every totals bet. Gamblers place their bets on whether or not the final total will be over or under that benchmark.
  • Props: A props bet is sort of like a side bet in casino gambling. It’s placed on a specific outcome that’s unrelated to the game’s final outcome. For example, a common props bet in football is how many yards a QB will achieve in a game. Another common props bet is the total number of points scored in an NBA half.
  • Parlays: With parlays, gamblers choose two or more bets at once. The key with these bets is that all the parlay bets must be correct in order to win. Consequently, parlays have higher risk associated with them. However, they also have a chance for bigger wins.
  • If / Reverse: For this bet, gamblers also place two or more bets at once. However, the bets are cascading. This means that the first bet must win for the the second bet to go through. If the first bet loses, then the bet chain ends. The gambler will lose all their bets if their first bet doesn’t win.

The Second Part

  • Pleasers: These bets are placed on two or more games at one time. Usually, gamblers place these bets on the underdogs because, while they favor the sportsbook, they have greater profit potential.
  • Futures / Outrights: Futures bets are placed on upcoming events that haven’t happened yet. Usually, these bets are made on big outcomes like Stanley Cup or World Series winners. The Super Bowl futures bet is one of the most common.
  • Point Spread: Betting on the “spread” of a game is very popular. This bet is made on the difference between the winner and loser’s final scores. It’s a common bet in the NFL and NBA. Sportsbooks will designate a point range for every spread bet. To “cover the spread” and win the bet, gamblers must bet on the favorite to win by more than that range. Additionally, bets on the underdog win when the point spread is less that the range determined by the sportsbook.
  • Handicap: This bet is somewhat similar to the spread bet. The difference is that a handicap is added to the spread. For example, in hockey, the handicap might be +/- 2 goals. These bets will give you better odds but lower payouts.
  • Live Bets: When online sportsbooks were launched in the USA, live betting took off. These bets can actually be made after games have started. Odds for these bets will change rapidly as games progress.

Sports Betting Explained: Things to Keep in Mind

There’s no doubt that sports betting can be fun. It can also give you the chance at big wins! However, it’s important to stay in control and bet within your limits.

It’s true that you can get rich off of just one good bet. However, this isn’t likely for most gamblers. Usually, it takes long hours of grinding to earn profits from sports betting. That’s really part of the fun for lots of gamblers.

If you’re new to sports betting, start low and slow. Don’t go all-in right away. Take some time to learn how the system works with small bets. Always make sure that you only bet what you can afford. We strongly advise against wagering outside your means. That’s a great way to go broke very quickly.

Overall, sports betting should be a fun experience. If you find that it’s too stressful or it’s causing you anxiety, take a break for a while. Usually, taking a step back can actually improve your game. Give yourself some time to rest, research, and learn.

How Do Sportsbooks Make Money?

Just like casinos, sportsbooks are in it to make money off of gamblers. Consequently, sportsbooks are not there to help you win. They will make the betting experience as fair as possible, but there are no hand outs.

Obviously, sportsbooks make money when gamblers lose their bets. However, lots of gamblers win too. Sportsbooks have found a clever way to still earn money off of winning bets.

Here’s an example of a payout on a winning point spread bet with -110 odds:

  1. A bet of $100 is placed with odds of -110
  2. If the bet wins, the payout is $190.90
  3. That payout is 100% of the stake you bet, plus $90.90 in profit

You can see that even if you win, you won’t “double your money” in the traditional sense. You’ll get pretty close, but the sportsbook will actually take a cut of your winnings. That’s where the missing $9.10 from your profits goes.

Sportsbooks do some complex math to determine how much of a cut they take from winning bets. Statistically, about half of all bets win while half lose. Sportsbooks keep 100% of lost bets. They will estimate this number and use it to determine how much must be taken from winning bets.

However, bet outcomes are not always spread evenly at half and half. For certain bets, odds will change after they are released. If the sportsbook has too many outcomes on one side, they will adjust the odds for that bet. The goal of this is to make the unpopular side seem more attractive to bettors.

Sports Betting Explained: Mistakes to Avoid

There is always a learning curve when you try something new. The same is true for sports betting. Don’t get discouraged if things don’t work out for you right away. It takes time to learn and get used to how things work.

There are some common mistakes that new sports bettors will often make. It’s a natural part of the process. There is no way you can avoid every mistake. In fact, mistakes can be good because they help you learn.

The Classic Rookie Mistakes

However, you can give yourself better odds by avoiding these few classic rookie mistakes. Be sure to keep these things in mind when starting out so you don’t go broke:

  • Don’t Chase Loses: Losing is a natural part of gambling. It happens to everyone who gambles at some point. No one wins all the time! When you lose, take it as a learning experience. Analyze why you lost and look for ways you can improve your strategy. Never try to double down right away because you’re “due for a win” – this is always a bad move. You are never due for anything. Take a step back and refocus before starting again.
  • Don’t Bet More Than You Can Afford: Always have a budget in mind before you start any type of gambling. Going in without a hard limit on your bankroll can quickly bankrupt you. You should only wager what you can afford to lose. Bet within your means and you’ll have fun without going broke.
  • Don’t Be Overconfident: If you’re a big sports fan, you might think you’re an expert in your game. However, this is a dangerous slippery slope. Not even the experts are right all the time. This is a quick way to get overconfident and make bad decisions. Bet with a clear head and always think about every aspect of the game.