Learn how to bet on sports with our simple sports betting 101 guides, and also check out our content on how you can easily become a bookie yourself.
Sports Betting 101 Guides
Get ready to learn even more about how to place a bet on sports with our easy sports betting 101 guides:
- Sports Betting Explained
- Online Sports Betting
- How to Bet on Sports
- How to Play Poker
- How to Bet on Horses
- Free Football Betting Tips
- Soccer Betting: How to Bet on Soccer
- How to Become A Bookie
- How to Become A Bookmaker
- 2021 Kentucky Betting Odds
Sports Betting 101: How Do Betting Odds Work
First in our sports betting 101 guide, let’s see how do betting odds work.
Sports Betting 101: The Sportsbook
The first thing to clarify in our sports betting 101 guide is who provides wagering odds.
You place a bet using betting odds from a sportsbook, a business that takes wagers and gives out cash.
To place a bet with a sportsbook you need to open an online sports betting account to get your action directly from your mobile phone.
Most online sports betting companies are located inside and outside of the United States, in places like the Caribbean and Costa Rica.
Different sportsbooks have two types of clients:
- Sharp bettors: These are the pros
- Square or recreational bettors: This is the standard amateur player
Some bookmaking companies allow players to wager big amounts on games, while others bettors are forced to bet lower amounts.
Sports Betting 101: How Do Betting Odds Work, Oddsmakers
Next in the how do betting odds work area of our sports betting 101 guide, let’s see who the oddsmakers is.
The smartest, most important guy in the sportsbook is the oddsmaker, who heads a team of betting analysts.
The oddsmaker is the person that creates the odds for games and all the different sporting events people want to bet on.
Sports Betting 101: Setting the Line
Now in our sports betting 101 guide let’s see how oddsmakers set the different wagering lines.
To create the different betting odds for games, oddsmakers rely on computer algorithms, advanced math, and scientific formulas.
Then, oddsmakers use power ratings for teams to improve the odds. A power rating represents how strong a given team is versus another and shows that info in the form of stats.
Power ratings also include info related to win totals (# of games oddsmakers believe a certain team will win during the present season( and futures odds.
Such stats include the margin of victory and the strength of schedule. And the best, strongest team gets ranked #1.
Sports Betting 101: Adjusting the Line
Next in our sports betting 101, let’s see why oddsmakers continue to move the line from time to time.
Once the bookmaking line is created, oddsmakers will continue to tweak it based on different key factors, including:
- Home-field advantage
- Unique schedule spots
- Specific head-to-head matchups
If a given team has just lost their star player to injury, this crucial factor will lead the oddsmakers to move the odds.
If there’s a team with an edge over another, such as a poor offensive line battling a great defensive line, then this will also be considered.
And also, if a given team is performing two nights in a row, this also definitely affects betting odds.
The goal of the oddsmaker is to create an opening line that will bring 50/50 action on both sides, reducing risk for themselves.
Limits are low for opening lines. So, at this point, players can only wager up to a certain amount of cash on a particular sporting event.
They use this period to test the market, and at the same time, they’re preventing themselves from getting action from wise guys or pro bettors, who are willing to lay big amounts early, taking advantage of off lines, known within the industry as “soft lines.”
With that said, the sportsbook does allow pro players to wager on games at low limits so that they can help shape the line, allowing it to grow to the most accurate figure possible.
Once a universal number has been agreed upon, the market opens and takes over.
When the time for the actual game gets closer, bookies will allow players to bet big amounts by raising limits.
Sports Betting 101: Favorites versus Underdogs
Now in our sports betting 101 guide, let’s check out the difference between favorites and underdogs.
The first thing bookies decide when setting odds is which team is the favorite and which team is the underdog.
It’s not just about setting the team with the best record as the favorite as a lot of factors are involved in the final decision (check above).
Also, favorites and dogs aren’t determined by # of wagers placed or the amount of cash risked on a given team. The dog can actually have more wagers and more cash risked on them than the favorite.
Favorites and dogs are chosen by the oddsmakers based on the accuracy of power ratings and computer models.
The favorite is the “best” team. They count on superior players, coaches, etc.
So, they are expected to win. The dog, short for underdog, is the “weaker” team and they’re expected to lose. Reasons to be considered the dogs include less talent, less experience, inferior coaching, a track record of losing, etc.
And because of the reality that’s the disparity between different pro teams, oddsmakers are forced to make wagering fair by giving a slight advantage to betting dogs and a slight disadvantage to betting favorites.
Sports Betting 101: Favorites and Underdogs, Pros and Cons
Now in our sports betting 101 guide, let’s see what the pros and cons of betting either the favorite or the dog team are.
Favorites either give points to the rival team, so they must win the game by a given a number of extra points.
What this means is that a player needs to risk more cash and pay a higher price in order to place a bet on them.
On the other hand, the underdog team gets additional points, so as long as the chosen dog team loses the game by a given number of points or less than that, then the dog wins the wager.
What’s great about placing a bet on dog teams is that you’ll get juicy returns if your chosen team wins.
Teams can easily be identified as a favorite or an underdog because the favorite has a minus sign next to them, while the dog team has a plus sign next to them.
For example, you can see a line with NFL Point Spreads that reads: Buccaneers -7.
Then this means that Tampa must win the game by seven points or more and you win your wager.
If the Bucs win the match but by less than those seven points, then it means that you lose your bet, even if your chosen team won the game.
Sports Betting 101: What If the Teams Are Even?
Now in our sports betting 101 guide, let’s see what to do if the teams are evenly matched.
In most cases, for most games, there’s always a favorite and a dog team
But, there are different situations in which the teams facing each other in the field are very equal in talent and power ratings.
In other words, the computer models and power ratings studied by oddsmakers show that the two teams are mostly equal.
So, this means that there’s really no real favorite and no team that can be qualified as the dog team.
In this case, oddsmakers believe both teams have a 50% chance of getting the victory.
And so, when this takes place, the oddsmakers will set this wagering line as a pick or pick’em, listed in online sports betting odds as “0” or “PK.”
Sports Betting 101: Betting Sides
Next in our sports betting 101 guide, let’s talk about spread betting.
When an oddsmaker has set the line and has clearly distinguished the favorite and the dog team, the public is given 2 choices on how they can place a bet on either side.
- They can place a bet on the spread
- They can place a bet on the money line
Sports Betting 101: Spread Betting
Now in our sports betting 101 guide, let’s talk about spread betting.
The point spread is when points are taken away from the favorite and given to the dog team to bring balance between the two.
When you place a bet on the point spread, this has nothing to do with which team wins the game.
What truly matters when it comes to pointy spreads is the margin of victory.
When you place a bet on the point spread on the favorite, your team must win the game by more points than those shown in the online spread betting line.
In other words, all you need to do is to subtract the spread points from the total points from your favorite team, and that will be your real score for wagering purposes.
When you win a bet on the spread, this is known as “covering.”
So, if the favorite wins by fewer points than those shown in the online spread betting line, you lose your bet, as your team “failed to cover.”
For example, if you place a bet on the Buccaneers –6.5, this means Tampa must by 7 points or more for you to “cover.”
If the Bucs win, but by less than seven, you lose the bet.
Sports Betting 101: Which Sports Use the Spread?
You can find point spreads for almost all sports out there, but you’ll be betting mostly NFL point spreads, NBA point spreads, and college football spreads and college basketball spreads.
That’s because the number of points that are scored in a basketball and football game is higher than other sports.
The result of this is that very few games are decided exactly by one point, and for that, it really makes a lot of sense to place a bet on the margin of victory instead of who wins the game straight up.
Sports Betting 101: The Moneyline
Now in our sports betting 101 guide, let’s talk about the moneyline
You can also place a bet on the money line or SU, which means that you’re wagering your chosen team to win the game straight up.
And, here you just place a bet on Team A risking $110 to win $100 for a total return of $220.
Money line or straight up bets are available for almost all sports.
Sports Betting 101: The Total
Last but not least in our sports betting 101 guide, the totals.
You can also place a bet on the total of the game, this is shown as“over/under” (O/U).
And all you’re doing here is wagering on the combined score of the two teams at the end of the game.
So, you bet the over of the total stated, or you can bet the under.
For example, the Warriors are playing the Nets, with a total of 215.
Then, you must decide if you believe these two teams will score more or less than 215 combined points.
Keep checking our Sports betting 101 section for more info on how to bet on sports and win big.