The world of online sports betting is a fascinating one. The sheer volume and variety of wagers, the frequency of games, and the granularity of statistics all make betting on sports a thrilling experience for every kind of fan.
And while the excitement is no doubt infectious, with so much going on it can be quite a daunting task getting started. With our sports betting guide, you can cut through the noise to get the vital information you need to make your first bet.
Before delving deeper into how to wager, it’s a good idea to get familiar with how betting odds work and how you’d go about analyzing a line.
There's a favorite (the team favored to win) and an underdog (the team favored to lose) for most games.
A minus sign precedes the odds for the favorites, while a plus sign precedes underdog odds.
Odds use a default value of $100. When betting on the favorite you risk the outlined amount to win $100, and when betting on the underdog you risk $100 to win the outlined amount.
So, if the favorite had odds of –140, you’d have to pay $140 to win $100. If the underdog had odds of +115, a successful $100 wager would reward you with $115.
Now that you’re clued up on how to read betting odds, take some time to learn more about some of the most popular bets you’ll come across when browsing a sportsbook.
Let's start with the MVPs: The moneyline bet, the spread bet, and the over/under bet. All three are appealing to beginner bettors and pros alike, as they’re easy to understand and exhilarating to follow.
Put simply, when you bet on the moneyline, you’re betting on one of the teams to win.
Each moneyline bet will come with the previously mentioned favorite and underdog odds.
With a spread bet, you’re wagering on whether the favorite will win by a certain number of points or whether the underdog will avoid losing by that same number of points. A team winning against the spread is known to “cover the spread.”
Spread bets are usually accompanied by a half-point, or a “hook,” so you’ll often see spread values like 3.5. These half-points are in place to reduce the number of games ending in a tie, though they still happen occasionally.
Where half-points are involved, the favorite team must cover by half a point more than the spread, and the underdog must lose by at least half a point less.
With a 3.5 spread as an example, the favorite team must win the game by at least 4 points to cover the spread, and the underdog must lose by no more than 3.
Pushes occur when the game ends and the spread is tied. So, a game with a spread at 3 that ends 20-17 will be a push and any bets on it will be refunded.
It goes without saying that if the underdog wins the game outright, it also covers the spread.
An over/under bet, otherwise known as a totals bet, is a wager on the total number of a particular statistic in a game.
The most popular over/under bet is the two teams’ combined number of points scored in a game.
What you’re wagering on here is whether the two teams together will score more or less than the predicted combined score.
If a game has an over/under at 42.5, you can bet on whether you think the two teams will score 43 points or more (betting on the over) or 42 points or less (betting on the under).
If the game ends up 21-13, the total will be 34, meaning you’d win by betting on the under.
As with spread betting, any games that end up with a tied over/under result in a push.
The moneyline, spread, and over/under aren’t the only options you can usually choose from when it comes to wagering.
Prop bets are a great way to add a bit of lighthearted excitement to your game.
You’re essentially betting on the likelihood of an event happening, or the frequency of that event happening, as play progresses.
This often applies to an individual – like a quarterback throwing more or less than a certain number of yards – but team props (penalties conceded) and game props (whether the game will go into overtime) are available as well.
You’ll also often come across fun and offbeat prop bets. You might have seen some examples of these types of bets for politicians and celebrities, but they’re also very popular in the world of sport. So, if betting on the duration of the national anthem in the Super Bowl game seems like your kind of thing, prop betting might be any area worth exploring.
A parlay bet is one single bet made up of multiple wagers.
Each successful wager rolls over into the next, and the amount you win becomes the stake for the next wager. The greater the stake, the greater the prize, but each wager you place must be successful for your parlay bet to pay out at all.
Choosing to merge your wagers depends on how confident you feel about the set of wagers you’re considering – and how risk-averse you are.
Parlay bets are more difficult to win because the multiple wagers are linked, but it’s for that same reason that the payout can be larger than placing the wagers separately.
If you have a hunch early on in the season, a futures bet might be something you’d like to consider.
These bets allow you to wager on the outcome of an event that has yet to finish, typically at the end of the season.
You might choose to bet on which team you think will win the Super Bowl. Or you could go down the player route and place a wager on who you think will be the season’s MVP.
The odds for futures bets will change regularly throughout the season in line with team and player performances.
Pregame betting is a solid way to build excitement in the run-up to a game, but in-play betting will take your experience to the next level.
Set your pulse racing as you watch the odds change throughout the game, and strike with a wager when the opportunity arises.
There’s plenty to choose from as far as wager options go, and you’ll still be able to bet on a game’s moneyline, spread, and the over/under — as well as props like total field goals and the number of rebounds a player racks up.
Live betting is also appealing as it can give you an opportunity to hedge an unsuccessful pregame wager. You could do this by betting the opposite line of your original wager at an inviting price to cut the losses you may have made on that wager.
Betting odds are available for leagues like the NFL, the NBA, the MLB, and the NHL. But they’re also available for college sports and the NCAA, so no matter who you follow, you’ll be able to take part in the fun.
The excitement for both professional and college sports ramps up near the end of the season, when the playoffs start to appear on the horizon. Playoffs and championship games are consistently two of the most popular events for bettors.
As far as betting options go, there are a lot of similarities between professional sports betting and college sports betting. You can place moneyline, spread, and totals wagers for both — and you can do all three before the game or during.
One key difference between the two is the near-total absence of prop betting from college sports. Only a few states allow wagering on player or team events in a game, so if you’re looking to make one, you’re better off sticking with a professional league.
It is, but we’d highly recommend playing with a regulated online sportsbook like ours.
That’s because when you play with a licensed sportsbook, you can have peace of mind that your details are protected by industry-standard data encryption, that there are responsible gaming measures in place (and support for problem gambling is readily available), and that the sportsbook adheres to the rules and regulations set out by the relevant governmental agency.
Although the federal law prohibiting online gambling was overturned years ago, there’s currently no interstate legislation explicitly allowing online sports betting. Bills are for the time being passed at state level. So, depending on where you are, online sports betting may or may not be legal.
With that said, the list of states where you can legally bet on sports online is growing rapidly. More than 20 states now make it possible for sports fans to bet on their favorite teams online – as long as they’re within state lines.
With Bally Bet Sportsbook, it doesn’t matter which team you root for, what kind of bet excites you the most, or whether you’re new to the scene: We provide betting thrills for everyone. And you’ll see how that way of thinking has shaped things soon after you join.
So, if you’re looking to bet on your hometown team or alma mater – or someone you’ve never heard of but like the look of – Bally Bet Sportsbook makes it a possibility.
And thanks to the its intuitive interface, finding that perfect bet, making use of a variety of slick features, and getting help can all be done in seconds.
The vig – short for vigorish and otherwise known as “juice” or “house edge” – is the term used to describe the fee bookmakers charge when taking a bettor’s wager.
You’ll usually see the vig next to a bet’s odds, so you can get an idea of what the return should be for a successful wager.
A push in sports betting is basically a tie between you and the sportsbook. They occur whenever your bet ends up matching exactly the sportsbook’s line or if an event is cancelled suddenly.
If the bet you place turns out to be a push, you’ll receive your initial wager because that bet effectively has no winner.
Because of their nature, spread bets and over/under bets tend to be hotspots for pushes. You’ll often see lines for these bets accompanied by half points (displayed as .5), which are in place to prevent pushes from happening so frequently, as a result.
While you can go down a rabbit hole of number crunching trying to work out the perfect strength of schedule, the phrase itself simply refers to how difficult a team’s run of games appears to be, based on their upcoming opponents’ ratings.