As recently as just one year ago, online sports betting was illegal in every state in the U.S. Las Vegas was the only place you could go to place a legal wager on a sporting event.
But that all changed in May 2018 when Delaware became the first state to legalize sports betting. Since then, a handful of other states have followed suit, and it probably won’t be long before almost every state has some form of legalized sports betting.
If you’re thinking about placing wagers on sporting events in your state, you need to learn sports betting 101 first. By doing this, you’ll give yourself the knowledge you need to come out on top when you start wagering on sports.
Here are some of the things you’ll need to know to be a successful online sports bettor.
Choosing the Right Online Sportsbook to Place Your Bets
Before states starting legalizing sports betting, experts predicted that U.S. gamblers illegally wagered about $150 billion on sporting events every year.
The thought now is that the $150 billion figure may have been exaggerated. But even still, there are millions of people betting billions of dollars on sports on an annual basis.
As a result of this, you won’t have any trouble finding sportsbooks willing to take your bets when you decide to wager on sporting events. There are thousands of them out there at this time, which can make it annoying to find the best ones.
But before you trust just any old sportsbook with your business, you should make sure they’re up for the challenge. A good sportsbook should offer:
- Simple and straightforward deposit and withdrawal options
- A stellar customer service department
- A wealth of betting options on a wide variety of sports
- And more!
The last thing you want to do is trust some shady sportsbook operation with your hard-earned money. If possible, place wagers through a sportsbook with a well-established name.
View more about what a good sportsbook should offer prior to making a deposit.
Figuring Out How Point Spreads Work
There are many people who are under the impression that betting on a sporting event means simply picking the team that you think is going to win and putting money on them.
You can take this approach to sports betting if you want (more on that in a minute!). But the majority of sports bettors bet with point spreads.
You may have seen point spreads in the past. They look something like this:
- Seattle Seahawks -7 @ San Francisco 49ers +7
- New York Knicks +12 @ Golden State Warriors -12
- Dallas Cowboys -1 @ Philadelphia Eagles +1
Point spreads are designed to illustrate how much of an advantage one team has over another team. The higher the point spread, the more likely the favored team is to win the contest.
When you place a bet with a point spread attached to it, you’ll need your team to cover that spread during the game that you’re wagering on. For example, if the Seahawks point spread is -7 against the 49ers, you would need the Seahawks to win by more than 7 for your bet to win.
The point spreads are a big part of what makes betting on sports so interesting. You don’t necessarily need a team to win when you bet on them. You just need them to stay within a certain amount of points to cover your bet.
Learning About Betting the Moneyline
While betting on teams using point spreads can be exciting, there are lots of people who choose to take a different approach to sports betting. Rather than using point spreads, they choose to bet on teams straight up.
When you take one team over another team straight up, you’re betting what’s called the moneyline. To win your bet, the only thing you need to happen is for the team you picked to win.
There is, of course, a catch to this. When you bet on a big favorite to win a sporting event on the moneyline, you won’t usually get great odds.
If the Seahawks are favored by 7 points over the 49ers, the moneyline for them might be something like -260. That means that you would need to wager $260 to win $100. But the 49ers, on the other hand, might be something like +240, which would mean you would only need to bet $100 to win $240.
Betting the moneyline can pay off if you happen to pick a big underdog to win a game outright. But it can also cost you dearly if you bet on a big favorite and they don’t win.
Considering Taking Teaser and Parlay Bets
Point spread bets and moneyline bets are probably the two most common types of bets in sports betting. But there are a couple other options if you want to experiment with gambling on sports.
Teaser bets allow you to alter the point spreads of several games at once. Depending on the sportsbook that you use, you can change the spreads for two or more games by anywhere from 4 to 9 points. You’ll need all of the teams you bet on in a teaser to cover the lines that you create.
Parlay bets are another good choice for those who want to bet on more than one team at a time. The point spreads for games stay the same when you make parlay bets, but you can bet on anywhere from 2 to, in some cases, 15 teams in a single parlay bet.
If all the teams you pick cover their spreads, parlay bets could earn you hundreds and sometimes even thousands of dollars. There are some people who have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars on small parlay bets.
Most parlay bets are longshots. But they’ve become a lot more popular in recent years as a result of the big payouts that come attached to them.
Use These Sports Betting 101 Tips to Win Big Money
The best way to learn about sports betting 101 is by placing bets on your own.
Point spreads, moneyline bets, and parlays might sound complicated. But they’re actually simple to understand once you start betting. It won’t take you long to get the hang of them.
Would you rather try your luck at slots instead of betting on sports? Read our blog to learn about some of the best slots to play.