Beginner’s Guide to How to Bet on Sports

Whip your wallet out! 33.2 million American adults bet on NFL games during the 2020 season. Sports betting has become easier and more profitable as time has gone on.

If you’re interested in making money off of sports without getting off the couch, you should learn how to bet on sports. Yet you shouldn’t place your bets on Sunday’s game just yet. You need to study how sports betting works in order to make a profit over time.

What are the sports bets you can make? How should you research the games you will gamble on? How can you manage your money and avoid developing a gambling problem?

Answer these questions and you can master sports betting tips in no time. Here is your comprehensive guide.

Study Different Types of Bets

The first step to understanding sports betting is to learn about the types of bets. Study each type before you make your first wager.

Moneyline Bets

Moneyline bets are wagers on who will win the game. You can vote on the underdog or the favorite.

The underdog and the favorite will have values next to their names. These are the American odds, and they are based on winning or wagering $100 for a bet.

The favorite will have odds with a minus sign in front of them. The figure is the money you need to risk so you can win $100.

For a team that has -150 odds, you will need to risk $150 to win $100. If you win your bet, your casino will give you the money you won plus your original wager, so you will receive $250.

A team with positive odds is the underdog. The odds indicate the amount of money you will win for every $100 you bet. If you bet $100 on a team with +175 odds, you will win $175 and receive $275 from the casino.

The higher the odds are, the more extreme the game is. A team at -200 odds is twice as likely to win the game as they are to lose the game. You can consider betting on a team with high negative odds, but you may not profit a lot of money in the long run.

Point Spread Wagers

Point spread wagers are bets on the margins of victory in games. In order to win your wager, you must select the team that wins, and your team must exceed the margin of victory.

These wagers have a higher risk, but they also have a higher reward. Point spreads are most common in high-scoring games like American football and basketball, but you can find them in hockey and soccer. Try to prioritize games with a lot of points, as the winner is more likely to cover the spread.

Consider betting on the underdog. You will win your bet if the favorite wins but fails to cover the spread.

Most bets on the point spread have American odds. Compare the odds on point spread bets to the odds on moneyline bets. If a team is extremely unlikely to win the game, let alone cover the spread, you should consider betting against it.

Overs and Unders

Bets on the over or under are different than point spread bets. These bets involve betting on the combined performance of both teams.

If you bet over the spread, you are saying that the two teams will exceed the specified number of points. It does not matter what each team or player scores. You do not have to bet the exact number unless you want to.

If the score lands on the specified number, the bet is refunded. Many bookies have point totals with a half point in order to prevent refunds.

Prop Bets

Prop bets are bets on events that may not contribute to the outcome of the game. Most people like to make bets on individual players, which can make watching the game more exciting. You can bet on whether a quarterback will throw a certain number of touchdowns or if a running back will run for 10 yards on a play.

You can even bet on things that have nothing to do with the game itself. Some people like to bet on whether a commentator will say a catchphrase or another line.


Parlays are bets with several separate wagers in them. You may bet on a team to win the game, a player to catch a certain number of passes, and another player to make a certain number of tackles. You can also bet on the outcomes of several games.

You must win each of these wagers in order to win your money. This means that you can lose hundreds of dollars off of one bet. But you can also win thousands if you choose the right wagers.

Hold off on making parlays until you have developed experience with betting on sports. Do not make a parlay unless you know everything about the game or games you are betting on.

Do not make a habit out of betting parlays. Random variables can affect your wagers and cause you to lose your money. You can bet on a parlay to commemorate an important game like the Super Bowl or an all-star game.

Pick a Sport

You can bet on any sport. But most sports betting tips relate to football, basketball, and baseball. It is harder to find guides and sportsbooks for betting on soccer, tennis, and other games.

Even if you watch several sports, you should pick one to focus your attention on. This lets you conduct research on the sport and avoid distractions.

You can pick your favorite sport, though you may want to keep your emotions away from your sports bets. Consider picking a sport you know but are not invested in.

Once you’ve selected your sport, you should spend time reading about it. Learn about how the game works and watch many games. You should study the playoffs and figure out how coaches strategize to run deep in the playoffs.

Select a Team

You can bet on several different teams within your sport. But when you focus on one team, you can make informed bets and focus your attention better.

Do not pick your hometown team, as you risk making wagers based on your emotions. You should also avoid divisional rivals or teams that are located near your hometown team.

After picking your team, you should research the players and coaches. See how the team drafts new players and trades old ones. If you don’t agree with their strategies, you should pick another team.

You can pick a team that does not do well. You can focus on star players or bet against the team, especially when they are facing divisional rivals who know them well. Consider betting for your team when they are playing at home.

Look at Sportsbooks

Sportsbooks let you examine odds and determine what bets you would like to make. They also handle your bets for you.

Each sportsbook is different, so spend time looking at a few of them. Google “NFL computer picks & predictions” to find various options for books.

You can select one and focus your attention on it, or you can set up accounts with several sportsbooks. Having accounts with several bookies lets you compare odds and find ones that are favorable for you.

Read the policies of each sportsbook carefully. The policies will specify how you can make bets, maintain your account, and receive your money.

Set a Budget

You may become a professional sports bettor in the future. But for now, you should see betting as a hobby. Most hobbyists will earn a few dollars a week off of their bets, and you should expect to earn a similar amount.

This means you should keep the amount of money you spend on betting low. Budget your various expenses and determine how much money you can afford to spend on unnecessary expenses, like entertainment. You can spend 20% of that money on betting.

Put your gambling money into a separate account so it is easier for you to track. Your bet should never be more than 5% of the money in your account. Most sports bettors put 1% or 2% of their bankroll on the line for each wager.

Manage Your Bankroll

Setting a budget is an important step in managing a bankroll. But you can need to pursue other steps so you don’t lose money.

You should hire a financial advisor who can manage your money for you and make investments. However, the advisor you hire should not charge high fees.

Do not pay for any additional services with your sportsbooks. You may need to pay small fees for making bets, and that is okay, but do not buy services like expedited bank transfers.

You will go through swings. You may go on a heater and win many bets in a row. Then you will go on a downswing and lose many bets.

Do not adjust your bankroll based on these swings. Stay focused and try to make the best possible bets on each game. If you’re going through a severe downswing, you can adjust your bankroll so you are not losing a lot of money.

You can make bets at a casino, but you should be careful with your money. Casinos will do whatever they have to do to get you to spend money, including offering you free drinks so you remain in the casino and gamble. Bring only as much money as you want to spend, then leave once you’ve made your bet.

Make a document for each bet you make. Write down how much money you spent, what the wager was about, and whether you won the wager.

Identify Your Strengths

Once you’ve spent some time gambling, you should do a self-evaluation. You should determine if your betting career is going well. If it isn’t, you should consider scaling down or stopping your betting.

If it is going well, assess exactly what is going well. You may be good at betting on point totals or prop bets based on individual players.

Look at the documents you have kept regarding your bets. If you notice a pattern that is helping you win, you should keep to that pattern.

Avoid Gambling Addiction

Many people bet on sports without developing an addiction. But if you become a professional bettor, you should keep an eye out for the symptoms of gambling addiction.

Common symptoms include having persistent thoughts about gambling, needing to gamble with high amounts of money, and gambling while stressed out. It is okay to get a little annoyed when you lose a bet. It is not okay to get irritable when you try to stop gambling and to feel relieved when you do gamble.

You should get help from a psychiatrist once you notice these symptoms. You do not have to talk to your family members, but you may advise them to withhold money from you.

If you notice one of your friends has symptoms, you should talk with them about seeing someone. Do not push too hard, as you risk irritating your friend.

You may not be addicted to sports betting, but you may become addicted to playing poker or doing another form of gambling. You can play a little poker, but set a limit for yourself and keep your attention on betting.

Understand How to Bet on Sports

Learning how to bet on sports can be your financial lifeline. Examine a few kinds of bets and determine which ones work best for you. Then research a sport and select a good team.

Open accounts with a few sportsbooks and set a budget for your gambling. Practice good bankroll management with a financial advisor and be wary of gambling addiction. Never make bets when you are emotional or going through a downswing.

These sports betting tips are essential, but there is so much more you can learn. Read detailed sports betting guides by following our coverage.

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