Betting Guide 101

Learn Sports BettingSports betting is an exciting way to get involved with your favorite teams. Whether you like NFL football, pro-baseball, the NBA, or soccer, there are plenty of venues out there that allow you to make all sorts of wagers. Here’s a brief tutorial on how you can start making money when your teams of choice perform well.

Types of Bets

Playing the Spread
Before you start betting on sports, you need to have a firm grasp on the different types of bets that are out there. Betting the spread is the most common type of bet thanks to the popularity of American football—both NFL and collegiate combined. Here, you are given a set of numbers, and you have to choose which team to select. This isn’t just a win or lose bet, though. Let’s look at a quick example of what a spread line might look like for a game.

  • Miami Dolphins +4.5 -115
  • New England Patriots -4.5 +105

With this game, you are selecting whether you think the Patriots will win by more than 4.5 points or not. If you think they will, you select the Pats’ line. If you think the Dolphins will lose by 4 or fewer points though, or win outright, the Dolphins’ line is the right choice. As you’ve probably figured out, the +4.5 represents the deficit that the team can lose by, and the -4.5 represents the deficit that a team needs to overcome.

The second set of numbers is a bit easier to understand. The negative number (-115) shows you how much you need to bet in order to make a $100 profit. So if you bet $115 dollars on the Dolphins here, and they beat the spread, you will have $215 returned to your account. The positive number (+105) shows how much a $100 bet will return. So if you bet $100 on the Pats and they cover the spread by winning by 5 or more points, you will have $205 returned to you.
A Look at the Lines Up Close
These two numbers are used in most other sports too, and they represent exactly how the casinos compensate for action on the teams. The difference in numbers here is probably because the Dolphins were getting more action, so the Sportsbooks made the Patriots line a touch more favorable in order to attract more bets to this particular bet. You will see lines change often, especially as it gets closer to game time. The moral of this story is that when you see a favorable line, it’s best to act quickly in order to lock in the good terms since the book cannot change your particular bet lines once you commit to it.

Using the Money Line
Major League Baseball is the biggest betting sport during the dog-days of summer since there is little else going on in the U.S. during these months. For this sport, betting the money line is the most popular way to place a wager. These are straight win-loss bets, but they are rarely ever even money bets since two teams are not always created equal. Here’s an example of what a money line would look like:

  • Boston Red Sox +103
  • New York Yankees -108

Bet the MoneyLineThe math behind the money line is the same as the second set of numbers in the spread. Here, you will get an extra $103 back if you bet $100 on the Red Sox and they win, and if you bet $108 on the Yankees and they win, you will have $100 more than the $108 added back into your account. In other words, right here, the Yankees are a slight favorite for this particular game.

There are money lines for other sports, too. You can find these for football, basketball, and soccer games, but the odds might not be as even as with baseball. This is especially true with football, where it’s not uncommon to find a line as disparate as +300/-325. When two teams are unevenly matched, these big gaps in the line will exist, it’s just with baseball, the odds of an underdog winning are much better than a sport with fewer games per season.

Take the Over/Under
This bet is pretty simple. A total score value is given, usually with a “.5” at the end for ease of calculating winners and losers. Your job is to predict whether the sum of both teams’ final scores will be over that number or below it. This is pretty easy to do from a mobile betting device.

These typically start out as -110 payouts, but will see slight adjustments as action builds up on one side of things or the other. This is a common bet with basketball games, since they can have wildly swinging over/unders from on game to the next.

Should You Play Parlays
The Parlay BetA parlay, in this simplest of terms, is a combination of more than one bet in which all parts must be correct in order for you to win. This is a lot tougher to guess correctly since you are betting on more than one occurrence, but the payout is much bigger than if you had just bet each part separately.

A parlay usually consists of two or more spread bets, but this doesn’t necessarily need to be the case. If the casino like Bovada allows you to, you could technically string together different types of wagers. One of the more common combos here is the spread of a game plus an over/under prediction.

The thing with this type of bet is that the more separate wagers you put together, the harder the bet is to win. As a result, casinos raise their payout rate, but the casino still makes money on these over the long run because a lot of inexperienced bettors use them, thinking they are easy money. You can win big on these, but you need to get used to the fact that you will lose parlays more often than you win them.

Parlays usually pay out around 2.6-1 for a two team guess, 5-1 for a three team bet, and 10-1 for four teams.

Teasers – The Suckers Bet?
A teaser is a fun bet to make, but it’s really easy to be fooled by these. A teaser is a type of parlay, but with a teaser, you are able to adjust the spread on each game by 6 points. So if you are looking at the Patriots/Dolphins game again and you want to bet on the Dolphins. Instead of that +4.5 spread, you can adjust it to +10.5 now, plus add 6 points to another game, too. The most common teaser is a two team, but you do need to remember that in the majority of cases, even with the 6 point advantage per game the casino gives you, you are still at a disadvantage because of the low payout odds that these bets carry.

Take the Prop Bets
A prop bet is usually a game for a specific action or play within the game. An example might be “Will Tom Brady throw for more than 300 yards?” You would be given two choices—yes and no—and a payout value would be assigned to each of the two options. Usually, these will start out as 50/50 bets, so they’ll both be around -110 since this is the standard vig line for an even chance occurrence. The extra 10 bucks is how the casinos make money on sports bettors. As action comes in one way or another, the payouts will change slightly in order to protect the book’s bottom line. If everyone chooses the “no” option and he doesn’t throw for 300 or more, the casino would be out a lot of money, so this is a simple way to protect their profits. The trick is to find a favorable line before the payout is changed against you.

These can be found in any sport, for just about anything you can think of. Soccer is commonly bet with prop bets with bets like, “Which team will score first?” or “Which team will get the first yellow card?”

This breaks down all the major bets you can take at the online sportsbooks. There are so many other little things involved, but this pretty much covers the foundation of sports betting. If you have any questions you can always ask.