Sports Betting 101: Betting on Sports for Fun and Profit
Let’s start our sports betting 101 guide with info on how you should be betting first for profit, and then for fun.
Sports betting seems simple: you take a team that’s better than the other team, and then you place a bet with your money on the best of the two. Simple right?
The reality is that there are many factors to consider, and these really lead a lot of people to lose their money.
The main of these factors is that people place a bet on the favorite team, although everything points out to betting against that “favorite” team as to be the best option.
And why shouldn’t you focus on favorite teams only?
Well, the reason is that teams are really unpredictable, and injuries can happen at any moment.
So, a great team can underperform because they’re missing just one single player.
And this is crucial to understand to win at sports betting.
So the first lesson before we really start with all the good stuff is this:
You shouldn’t follow trends, or what your favorite sportsbook is telling you.
Instead, you should go and do your research every time you place a bet, just to check the current status of your chosen team and its players.
And that way, you can make a wiser betting decision that will lead you to get profits out of your wagering activity.
Sports Betting 101: Do Bettors Win?
The simple answer to this is, well, some of them do, and some of them don’t.
When it comes to casino games, if you play long enough, chances are that you’ll lose.
So the real business of the online casino is to keep you playing with free bonuses and withdrawal restrictions until you actually go down.
But sports betting is different because there’s really no math law that states that you’ll lose cash wagering on sports.
With that said, sports betting is not easy.
And that’s because predicting the outcome of sporting events can be challenging.
In fact, a recent story about players from a famous sportsbook shows that only 10% to 15% of bettors were ahead when it comes to profits after making their initial deposit.
But, knowing that you’re really not destined to lose in the long run if you apply a good strategy, gives hope, and it’s a great start.
Sports Betting 101: Legal Sports Betting
Now in our sports betting 101 guide, let’s quickly review why the gaming landscape is changing.
Before 2018 most bettors from the US played with offshore sportsbooks only.
But in 2018, the US Supreme Court finally legalized gambling federally and allowed states to make their own choices as to whether they want to legalize state by state or not.
Being a multi-billion dollar market, a lot of States continue to legalize because they really believe this is one of the fastest ways to bring money to their coffers regularly.
And bettors couldn’t be happier. That’s because even though there’s a darker side to gambling, related to its addictive nature, the truth is that most sports bettors wager for fun, and to have some kind of entertainment, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
But, if you can have fun, and make money at the same time, why not going for it?
Sports Betting 101: Be A Sharp, Not A Square
Next in our sports betting 101 guide, let’s check out why you want to be closer to be a sharp, and not a square player.
Instead of betting by instinct, if you care whether you win or not it’s a good idea to actually spend some time learning about the different dynamics related to betting markets.
Chances are that by reading this full guide you’re not going to be able to quit your job and become a full-time bettor.
But it will definitely give you an edge, and allow you to become a better player. Giving you the opportunity to cash in using the best sports betting 101 tips.
So, you really want to be closer to a sharp than to a square.
A sharp is a player who uses systems and strategies and knows that betting profits come long-term.
Squares are most bettors, the public, those that bet for entertainment purposes, by instinct, and this is exactly the group you want to avoid being a part of.
But you really cannot be a sharp either because, well, that’s beyond what’s teachable in a a guide like this.
That’s only acquired by experience, so you can’t become sharp right away.
Sports Betting 101: Advantage Bettor
What you should aim at is to become an advantage bettor, which is in the middle of the square and the professional bettor, or sharp.
So, you understand the wagering markets, and you have the discipline and have created betting habits.
You also have a sound sense to evaluate both sides of a wager in relation to a financial risk that you can assume.
So you’re sharper than you’re a square, but you’re not ready to quit your job yet.
Your goal should be to become part of the middle class of sports bettors.
Sports Betting 101: Which Sports Bettor Are You?
Now, if you already bet on sports, check out the list below, and see which group you belong to.
Sports Betting 101: Financially Interested Fan
Let’s start our sports betting 101 player review with the financially interested fan.
He’s the guy that’s really not interested in becoming a pro anytime soon.
He’s just happy to know how to speak the sports betting market language, understand the menu of wagers, and place a bet with confidence.
He follows certain college and pro teams, and he enjoys betting on those teams.
For the top games, he’ll go a step further and bet some props for extra action.
Sports Betting 101: Classic Handicapper
Now in our sports betting 101 player review, let’s check out what a classic handicapper is.
You love the sport, you love betting, you are a fan. You have a great eye for good and bad teams, good and bad coaches, and good and bad schemes.
You’re great at picking up betting strikes, and you know exactly when it’s time to get off the wagon.
You know crucial factors that others don’t, such as why the center is the key position at the football field.
Indeed, you’re the classic handicapper. And you’re always ready to place a bet when you spot a winning proposition, no matter what the sport is.
Now, you know the numbers quite well but you don’t get consumed by stats.
Instead, you handicap based on the overall quality of the team, how they feel and look, and you know exactly when a team can give you a betting advantage.
With that said, you can have success as this type of bettor, but you can’t just rely on how a game feels.
That’s because if your feeling is different than that of the market’s, then you’ll need to keep a good record of your betting history, just to prove that what you were thinking was true, and the betting markets were wrong.
Sports Betting 101: Stats Head
Last but not least in our sports betting 101 player review, let’s check out the stats head.
You’re what’s known in the industry as a stats head, which means that you’re fully stats-oriented.
You’re not the kind of guy that’s going to spend your time watching the full game.
Instead, you just watch the highlights, and what’s more important to you, the box score.
You’re the kind of guy that has been using bet tracker spreadsheets forever. And you love to focus on technical analysis and power ratings.
And if this is you, then this is great because there’s really a lot of profitable angles that you can take advantage of.
Plus right now, sports stats and bet prediction sites abound, so you have plenty of material to work with.
Sports Betting 101: Betting Vs. The Sportsbook
It’s time in our sports betting 101 guide to check info on what a sportsbook is, and how you place a bet with it.
The way a sportsbook operates is that they set sports betting odds so that all wagering dollars are split between the two sides, the favorite and the dog, 50/50.
And so they’re constantly moving these odds to avoid losing money.
In fact, all a sportsbook does is to take a commission for booking your wager, that’s all they do.
And this commission is known as the juice, the vig, or the vigorish.
The juice just states that you will receive $100 per $110 that you bet.
Or you can also see it as getting $10 for every $11 you wager, etc.
So it’s basically a 10% commission on top of every wager you make.
Now, once you place a bet with certain odds, you’re accepting those odds.
So, even though the line switches in the future for a more favorable line, you’ll still bet with the line that you chose at a given moment.
With that said, picking up a wagering line in advance it’s a really great way to go because the earliest lines have not been so much scrutinized by the overall industry.
And that means that in most cases when the line switches in the future, is not to favor the public but to favor the sportsbook.
So, the earliest that you pick up a line, that’s the best choice for you as a player.
If you can pick up a wagering line, one week in advance of the actual sporting event, that’s the way to go.
Sports Betting 101: Wager Types
Now in our sports betting 101 guide, let’s learn about the different wagering types.
Sports Betting 101: Money Line, Straight Up, or SU
First in sports betting 101 guide on wager types, the money line or SU.
When you make a bet on the money line, that just means that you’re betting on a team to win straight up, to win the game outright.
Each side of a wager comes with its own money line.
When you see a negative money line, this means that you’re betting the favorite. So you will be risking more cash than you will profit from the wager.
For example, you can see a money line that reads Buccaneers – 450, and that just means that you need to wager $450 per every $100 you want to win on a bet on Tampa as the favorite.
And when you see a positive money line, that means that you’re betting the underdog or weaker team, and you’ll be profiting an equal or a greater amount of cash that you’ll be risking.
So, let’s say that you see a money line that reads Patriots +450, then this means that per every $100 dollars you risk you have the possibility of winning $450.
And this is because chances for New England to actually win the game are slim, so if they make it, you win a lot.
Sports Betting 101: Point Spreads and Handicap Betting
Now in our sports betting 101 guide on wager types, the point spread.
Let’s start by saying that betting a game between two teams that are mismatched is simply boring.
And it’s really difficult to get bettors to place a bet on a team other than the favorite if the odds are no good.
For example, it wouldn’t be interesting to bet on the Bengals time and time again, knowing it’s a bad team and you’re going to lose.
So that brings us to point spread betting, a method used by the sportsbook to artificially creating an even wager between two mismatched teams.
Let’s define the point spread as a simple adjustment that’s applied to the final margin of victory so that a winning wager can be determined.
A point spread line is represented with a number, with either a minus or a plus before it.
So, if you see a line that reads Buccaneers -7, then that means that Tampa is the favorite. And they need to win by seven points or more for you to win your bet.
If they win the game, but by less than seven points, then you lose your wager, even though your team won the game.
So, in terms of point spread betting, the actual winner is not important; what counts is the spread line you took as that will determine if you won or not.
Now, when it comes to point spreads you will always see half points.
So for example, you will see the Bucks -5.5.
These half points are known as hooks, and they are used because they make a tie impossible.
So they really have a very profound impact on the actual value of a wager.
You will also see point spreads where instead of a number, there will be “PK”. That means pick em’, so there’s really not a favorite on this one.
Sports Betting 101: Over / Under Betting
Instead of placing a bet on a given team, you can also wager on the total combined points scored by the teams at the end of the game.
So for example, for an NBA game, you can see a line that reads 215 O/U, so that means that the bookie is setting an over-under line, where they want you to wager if the game is going to have more, or less than 215 points, total.
Sports Betting 101: Multi bets
Next in our sports betting 101 guide on wager types, let’s check out what multi bets are.
A multibet is basically a wager that connects the outcome of 2 different sporting events.
Sports Betting 101: Parlays
Now in our sports betting 101 guide, let’s examine what parlay bets are.
When you choose to bet a parlay, you are selecting two or more wagers, and you’re tying the results of those two or more wagers together.
And all the wagers inside your parlay must win for the full parlay to be a winner.
If one of the results in the parlay loses, then the full wager loses.
What’s great about parlays, and the reason because they are so popular is that you can wager very little and win a lot.
So, for example, you can make a $10 party that has nine teams inside and if you win it you can win thousands of dollars.
But it’s because they are so tough to win that they also promise so much.
So most professional bettors never play parlays, unless it’s a two-team parlay, and they have very good reasons for it, including stats, etc.
Now, these are some interesting facts related to parlays:
- Most sportsbooks will allow you to place a parlay bet for up to 12 teams or more.
- You can mix wagers inside your parlay, which means that you can bet spreads with totals and money lines, all combined, and you can also add wagers across different sports.
- You can also place a parlay with games that will be played at different times and dates.
- If one of the games in your parlay is canceled, then your wager is not dead. What happens is that your bookie will just treat your parlay bet as if it was one size smaller in terms of the payout odds.
Sports Betting 101: Teaser Bets
Next in our sports betting 101 guide, let’s see what teaser wagers are.
A teaser is a wager similar to a parlay because you are also connecting two or more single wagers and, tying them into a large bet.
But teasers are great because they offer an advantage in that you can actually buy points to move the line in your favor, allowing you to win in an easier way.
Of course, this comes with a cost because the easier it gets for you to win, the less money you will make.
Here are some factors to consider related to teaser bets:
- Just like with parlays, you can combine different betting types, such as spreads with over / under.
- When you place a teaser bet, for example, let’s say that you place a six-point teaser on the Bucs-Patriots game going under 47, with the Ravens – 7, then the six-point teaser turns your bet into 53 for the former bet, and -1 for the latter bet.
- A teaser bet is mostly placed in basketball, where 4, 5, or 6-point teasers can be selected. And also in football, where you can select 6, 6.5, and 7-point teasers.
- Most professionals will tell you to avoid mixing sports when you place a teaser bet because point values across different sports can be different.
Sports Betting 101: Online Sports Betting
Before the pandemic hit, people were already placing wagers online in mass thanks to offshore sportsbooks.
But now that wagering has been federally legalized in the United States, people are betting like never before.
Now they bet both with legal State Sportsbooks or they continue wagering using their offshore accounts.
Sports Betting 101: Place a Bet Online
In order to place a bet online, all you need to do is to find a sportsbook that you like open an account deposit some cash, and keep a balance there.
So what you’re doing is that you’re placing wagers versus your own balance.
When you win a bet, that balance in your online sports betting account goes up. If you lose a bet, then that balance goes down.
Sports Betting 101: In-Game Play
Instead of placing a bet for the full game, you can actually place bets on a play-by-play basis in football, for the next evening in baseball, or you can also bet what the outcome will be for the next period, or for the next quarter.
Now, in-game betting is great because there are just so many possibilities that are one click away, and all of these odds are not created by bookmakers because there are just so many of them.
Instead, these are created by a computer, and that gives you an edge if you know what you’re doing.
Now, this can also play against you, because if you’re not familiar with sports betting, and particularly with In-Game play, to see all of these options can actually confuse you and will tempt you to make the wrong decisions.
Sports Betting 101: Football Betting
Now let’s check out how to bet on football and win.
Sports Betting 101: NFL Point Spreads
NFL is mostly a spread betting game, so that means that you will be betting NFL point spreads a lot.
So this basically means that instead of placing waiters on who’s going to get the victory you’re going to be betting on who is going to be covering the spread.
These are the key numbers related to NFL football scoring:
- 3 points – field goals
- 6 points – touchdowns
- 1 point – PAT or point after touchdown
- 2 points – safety (offensive lineup stopped at their own end zone)
- 2 points – conversion (to score from 2-yard line after touchdown)
Out of all these figures, the most important ones when it comes to NFL point spreads are three and seven.
And the reason why these are so important is that these two numbers are always crucial when it comes to deciding games.
Actually, the most decisive key number when it comes to NFL is three, followed closely by seven.
Sports Betting 101: NFL Point Spreads and the Hook
The hook is a half a point that is commonly utilized in NFL point spread betting.
And the reason is that using half a point prevents ties.
Now, what’s great about hooks is that you can actually buy them.
So for example, if you see a line that reads -7, you might want to get that extra half-point and turn the line into a – 6.5, so if your favorite wins by exactly seven points, you still cover and win your wager.
Sports Betting 101: It’s a Stats Game
Now without nobody saying it directly, fantasy football is probably responsible for the legalization of sports betting in the United States.
The reason is that before 2018 companies like DraftKings and FanDuel were already selling their fantasy football services with success, and there’s just a fine line from fantasy football to betting.
So everybody just realized how much money they were losing in the form of taxes from all the people engaging and spending a lot of cash in fantasy football, and also from offshore wagering.
And why is all of this important?
Well because fantasy football has given rise to an age of analytics in football.
And that means that to count with advanced stats can be determining to win or lose in the long term and when applying specific wagering systems.
With that said, if you really want to focus on analytics and stats, and all of the figures that can really give you a lot of advantages, and an edge over your bookie, then these are the areas you should focus on:
Sports Betting 101: Traveling
Analyzing traveling stats can be fundamental for you to win.
By doing so you can realize facts such as why West Coast teams enjoy a circadian advantage when they play night games versus East Coast teams.
The reason for this is that their body clocks are set to the afternoon, and the East Coast franchise’s body clocks are set to go to sleep.
Sports Betting 101: Resting
Betting models also include resting as a key factor, and the reason is that how much quality time a player is getting can be essential to determine how he will perform next.
Sports Betting 101: Injuries
An injury is really a factor that can throw a full bet prediction to the ground.
So make sure that every single player that really matters is available to play; otherwise, a great team without its key player can play terribly real fast.
Sports Betting 101: Weather
Weather is also determining when it comes to analyzing your chances of winning a bet prediction. And when it comes to the weather in relationship to NFL betting, what matters most is the following:
It’s important to point out that players will have a different reaction to weather conditions.
And when it comes to quarterback playing, bad weather can be detrimental to obtaining good results.
Sports Betting 101: NBA Betting
Now, let’s continue to learn how to bet on sports, this time NBA sports betting 101.
Let’s start with the fact that home-court advantage is overvalued in NBA betting.
For example, if you have a home team that’s playing back-to-back nights, and the rival team had the previous night off, then the home team is really not enjoying home-court advantage because they’re tired, and they’re playing a team that’s well-rested.
You also want to focus on wagering road dogs early in the season.
This is because these teams have a lot of energy, and this is the time when they’re winning games during the season.
Late in the season, these franchises are out of the playoff race, so they just don’t care and won’t try hard.
Another key area to focus on is divisional unders. The reason is that divisional franchises play each other all the time, so they’re very familiar with the other. This leads to better defense by both teams, which leads to lower-scoring games.
Sports Betting 101: Betting College Basketball
If you become a professional at betting college basketball, you will have an edge over average bettors. And the reason is that the public mostly bet on NFL or NBA.
And when it comes to college, they only bet on their home team, whether it’s good or bad.
So as there are hundreds of college basketball teams, this immediately gives you an opportunity over your bookie.
That’s because it’s impossible for your sportsbook to place an accurate line on each and every single one of these clashes.
Sports Betting 101: Contrarian Sports Betting
Out of all the different wagering systems out there, the best one that you can stick with and that you can win long-term is contrarian betting.
This simply means that you’re betting versus the public, and the reason is that the average bettor loses more often than not.
This also means that you’re going to be wagering heavily versus favorites, but not all the time.
What you need to do is to check bet prediction sites, get your stats together, and then check out for the perfect betting opportunity that allows you to cash in on public betting bias.
Sports Betting 101: 3 Top Betting Biases
Now that we’re talking about public biases, when it comes to sports betting 101, here are the three top ones:
Sports Betting 101: Recency Bias:
This is when a player is fixated on a game outcome just because of past results.
Let’s say Team A is visiting Team B after winning two straight at home, and so you think they’re on their way to defeating Team B, but then Team B has an awesome day and defeats Team A.
What is the lesson here?
You should never focus on previous results, and what you need to do is actually check your bet prediction sites, focus on stats, and place factual wagers only.
Sports Betting 101: Confirmation Bias
Confirmation bias is similar to the previous one, but it goes beyond that because it’s not just about the latest results, but also about the overall belief of the player about a certain franchise or college team.
For example, if there’s a player that is biased versus the Bengals, then this player will start quoting “facts” that support his own opinion, which is totally subjective.
Sports Betting 101: Outcome Bias
Players make the mistake of focusing a lot on the previous outcome of a team.
But the problem with this is that there are a lot of games out there where the two teams are very evenly matched towards the end, and then just a couple of plays define everything.
In a scenario like this, even though one of the franchises got the win, both teams played similarly well, and it’s not rare that the team that lost this one will win the next one.
So really the previous outcome cannot tell you how a team is going to perform next.
Again, what you want is to focus on trends, analysis, and numbers for the actual game.
We hope this easy sports betting 101 guide has helped you learn the basics of how to bet on sports, best of luck with your future action!