The Basic of Sports Betting and How to Get Started

Sports betting is one of the fastest-growing industries in American and worldwide entertainment.

Each of the top television draws through the year are sports events. The visibility, and anticipation surrounding sports betting- whether World Series predictions or World Cup picks— is guaranteed to always be off the charts. As the market continues to grow and reach into new corners of the entertainment sector, it is important to understand how to bet and what the offerings are.

This is everything that beginners need to know.

Getting Started 

Sports betting is conducted on sportsbooks, essentially centralized betting hubs with lists of odds for different events. Bettors can find sportsbooks online, assuming they are in a regulated area or in person at retail locations. 

Each sportsbook will have a wide variety of offerings, covering everything from the biggest and most recognizable sporting entities to the niche events without much publicity. As events get smaller, bettors may have to look through multiple sportsbooks to find one with betting lines for the event they are interested in. There should always be someone ready to accept the wager.

Sportsbooks understand that signing up for their site is a major investment, which is why they offer recurring deals to make the process painless. 

These can include risk-free bets, in which a bettor is returned store credit equal to the amount they wagered on an unsuccessful bet. Or they could receive deposit matches, which give patrons double the amount they initially invested into their account (in-store credit). Finally, they could get odds boosts, making the first bet even more profitable.

For committed visitors, sports betting can be a year-long enterprise, but there is a rise in participation around the biggest events on the calendar— say, for example, the Super Bowl. 

Sportsbooks will take opportunities like these to offer fairly ridiculous promotions, such as if both teams score one point, a $5 bet will turn a $250 profit. This is done to make the integration process between the inexperienced bettor and daunting sportsbook a more fun endeavor and open the relationship between both parties.

How to Bet

There are different ways that a bet can be placed— the most popular is on the moneyline, which is a straight-up prediction on which team or person will win a particular game or event. This is as old-school as they come, does not account for circumstance or context, and only depends on the final result.

Spreads are another popular form of gambling because they spot underdogs a certain amount of points. For example, the New York Yankees, one of the most popular MLB picks, are taking on the last-place Arizona Diamondbacks. 

Sportsbooks will spot the Diamondbacks a run and a half (as all underdogs are spotted in baseball), meaning that if they lose by less than a run and a half or win the game outright, they win the bet. Conversely, the Yankees must win the game by more than a run and a half to successfully cover the spread and win the bet.

Futures bets are also popular as they give bettors the chance to predict what is to come. Sticking with the baseball example, MLB predictions might favor the Toronto Blue Jays to win the World Series, but a bet for a lesser-favored team could ultimately turn a massive profit since bettors are picking from a field of options.

Prop bets are also a fun hustle for both experienced and inexperienced bettors. They can be from something as important as how many yards a quarterback throws for to something as trivial as the result of the coin toss. 

Points totals simply present a total number of points to bettors, and they must select whether the game will produce more or less total points. If the result evenly matches the initial line, the amount wagered is returned in full to the bettor, and everyone breaks even.