Sports Betting Explained | How to Bet on Sports

Sports Betting Explained - Wagering Lines

Sports Betting Explained: Wagering Lines

Sports Betting Explained: Learn how do betting odds work and beat the bookies easy when betting online! By the end, you will know how to read sports odds, including NFL point spreads.

The wagering line refers to the point spread or sportsbook odds related to any sporting event. Here’s an example featuring the New England Patriots and The New York Jets:

  • Jets +7.5-110 +300
  • Patriots -7.5-110 -405
  • 56.5 O/U -110

Sports Betting Explained: What Are Point Spreads?

Sports Betting Explained: The Point Spread

This is one of the most popular wagering types on football and basketball. The spread is the minus or plus number you can see next to each of the example teams.

What’s great about the point spread in bookmaking is that you can bet either the winner or the loser of the game and still win your bet.

And the reason is that this is a points system, where what really matters is the final number of points scored, and whether or not your chosen team was able to beat the other in POINTS.

In the lines shown above, New England is the favorite, or “the chalk.” Their -7.5 means that they need to beat New York by more than 7.5 points.

If they do it, you win your bet. If they defeat the Jets, but for less than that, you lose your wager. New York, on the other hand, are the underdogs with a +7.5 line.

If they win or lose the game for less than 7.5 points, you win the wager, even though the Jets lost. It’s also important to note that often you will see lines with an extra half point.

If this is not the case, and you see a line such as 7 even, then, if the exact final difference in points was seven exactly, then you will push, and the money you wagered will be returned to your account.

Sports Betting Explained: What Is Over / Under?

Sports Betting Explained: The Total

Now we have the Over / Under line. This is the wagering line where you’re betting on the combined total points scored by the two teams at the end of the game.

In the example above, the sportsbook is offering a line of 56.5. So, you make your bet on whether you think the Pats and the Jets will finish with a combined score superior or inferior score than 56.5.

Sports Betting Explained: What Is The Moneyline, Straight Up or SU?

Sports Betting Explained: Straight Up or SU

And the very last line you can see for each team is known as the Moneyline. This is the line you can use to bet on the team you believe is going to win outright. The plus sign next to the Jets means that you will win $300 for each $100 you bet on New York.

The reason why you win more by betting less is that this is the team that is likely to lose. So, winning means that you can end up with big underdog profits in your account balance.

And the minus sign next to the Patriots means that you need to bet $405 to win $100. This is because New England is the favorite, and likely to win the game.

So, this means that the sportsbooks will challenge you in terms of how much you are willing to risk to get this “safe win.”

Sports Betting Explained - Common Bets

Sports Betting Explained: Common Bets

All bookies will offer you a wide variety of regular season and NFL playoff games.

Sports Betting Explained: What Are NFL Point Spreads?

Sports Betting Explained: Pro Football Point Spreads

Although virtual betting, fantasy football, and props are getting a lot of attention lately, NFL Point Spreads is still the favorite way to get action for most fans out there.

The reason is that these are easy to understand by bettors, and they are also very simple to handicap. Plus, if you did your homework, simple to beat.

When you bet NFL Point Spreads you are betting sides. This means that you’re picking one team as your favorite to win the game.

This is known as winning ATS or against the spread. But, as not all squads are equal, the books must be balanced. This is the function of the spread: to provide you with a competitive edge, allowing you to pick either a strong or weak team, and still have the chance to beat the sportsbook.

Here is an example line: Jets +7.5 / Patriots -7.5

The numbers next to the teams are the NFL Point Spreads. Here, New England is a strong team. And for this reason, they are given a slight point disadvantage, making it just a bit more difficult for you as a bettor to win.

Here’s why: That -7.5 means that the Pats must beat New York by 7.5 points or more. If they fail to do this, even though they win the game, the bettor losses the bet.

On the other hand, the Jets have a +7.5 next to them. This means that they can lose the game but for no more than 7.5 points. If they do this, you win your wager. Now, how does a bookie comes up with these numbers for the teams?

Such figures are the result of a study on current stats, injuries, and trends. This includes offensive and defensive stats, head-to-head, and last but not least, public opinion.

So, according to this line, most believe New England is 7.5 points better than New York. As you can see, betting NFL Point Spreads is quite simple, so give them a try with your favorite sportsbook or bookie! Good luck!

Sports Betting Explained: What Is A Parlay?

Sports Betting Explained: The Parlay or Multi Bet

Let’s start with a simple Parlay Definition: A multi-bet, containing two or more single bet predictions, all of which must-win for the player to get paid. Just imagine a scenario where you don’t have that much cash, and you find two NFL Point Spreads you want to bet on.

Betting on each separately can give you little returns. But, if you combine the two wagers into a single multi-bet, then your profit margin increases considerably.

With that said, all the selections in your parlay for you to win the full wager. If you fail to cover for one of the NFL Point Spreads, then the full bet loses.

On the other hand, if there’s a push in your bet predictions, but the rest are winners, you can still get paid, but with adjusted NFL odds.

Here’s a quick example: Seahawks -7 / NY Jets 47

On this particular two-team parlay, you are betting Seattle to win for more than seven points, and the Jets game to go over 47 points total. If either of these two results fails to cover, your parlay loses.

But, if both cover, you win! And, let’s say that you placed such a bet for $10. So, as there’s no money showing, we automatically assume that these are -110 wagers.

And, for a two-teams, the parlay odds are 2.6-to-1. This equals to +260, and so, if you wagered $10, you will obtain $36 if the parlays win.

Here are 3 interesting parlay factors:

  • Most agents or sportsbooks will allow you to create multi bets up to a dozen or even more bet predictions.
  • As you saw in the example, you’re allowed to match and mix different kinds of bet selections. This includes totals, NFL point spreads, and also Moneylines.
  • You can add bet predictions from different dates within the same multi-bet. If a given NFL game is canceled, or it pushes, the sportsbook will treat the bet as one size smaller, and the NFL Point Spread will be adjusted accordingly.

Sports Betting Explained: What Are Futures?

Sports Betting Explained: Future Bets

When off-season hits bookies are ready with a set of great futures for bettors to get their action on. These are the most common ones:

  • The total wins for the team during the regular season over or under.
  • Team to make it to the postseason yes or no.
  • Division champion
  • Conference champion
  • Super Bowl champion
  • Stat totals for individual players over or under

Sports Betting Explained - How to Bet on Football

Sports Betting Explained: How To Bet on Football and Win

Sports Betting Explained: Betting NFL Football

Now in this easy Sports Betting Explained guide, let’s learn how you can bet on NFL football and win. It’s clear that NFL rules sports betting.

Sure hoops betting is on the rise, but what all those bettors in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are focusing on since 2018 is football and nothing but football.

And there are a few elements to the modern game that has led American football to become the most-watched sport in the United States, and has turned it into the best target of chance for gamblers.

There is great parity in the NFL, and that is the result of great management of the best player salary cap in the globe. What this means is that teams are able to rise from the depths very fast, allowing fans of any franchise to always retain some hope.

And of course, this also means that you’re getting outstanding games week by week every season with just enough surprise events that allow keeping every single event interesting.

But beyond that, this weekly cadence of football allows it for perfect betting. The days that go without action allows the fans to digest what happened last week.

Bettors can check out enough injury reports, all the rooster moves, the midweek analysis from all the possible sources, and last but not least, check out what their friends have to say about it.

It’s also important to notice that fantasy football has been around for a while, and this has primed a great group of potential gamblers.

And it’s precisely fantasy football that has led to the new age of betting analytics. And this is where we see a great number of companies emerging that are offering advanced stats to fans and bettors so that they can actually have a chance to beat the bookies.

The is great because each and every single game matters, there’s drama, and it will stick in your memory.

Sports Betting Explained: Today’s National Football League

Sports Betting Explained: The NFL Briefly Explained

The NFL is definitely different than what it was 10 years ago. It all started with college teams convincing NFL franchises during the late 2000s that they could win games using multifaceted players as their quarterbacks. Then, the league created a series of rules that were precisely designed to make sure that the quarterback was protected at all times.

And with such rules, scoring rose from a little below 40 points per game during the early 90s, to almost 50 points during the mid-2010s.

It’s also of notice that during the 2019 season road teams scored more points than home teams. And this is important as this is a first for the NFL.

When it comes to quarter-to-quarter action, the second quarter is where most offenses do the most damage to their rivals. Let’s also add to that that different overtime rules had an impact on OT scoring leading to an increase in points and this is definitely a factor to be considered by any bettor.

Sports Betting Explained: NFL Preseason

Sports Betting Explained: Betting The NFL Preseason

Preseason takes place between August and early September, and it’s made up of four games in what it’s an excruciating mini-season.

This includes two home games and two away games. And, these games are basically testing games. So some of the stars of the team remain benched, allowing for new players, or rookie players, or just players that haven’t had enough time to get some time and get ready in case they’re needed.

But, just because you don’t get to see the superstars on the field, that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun with your betting. And it’s important to notice that sharps do get action during the preseason, so it means it’s worth it.

In fact, it is not uncommon for sharp action to outweigh public action on individual games, and what this means is that you will see bigger odd moves.

Sports Betting Explained: Preseason Lines and Limits

If you bet a high dollar, you probably have noticed that limits for the preseason are way lower than regular season limits.

Some bookies will put a limit of 20% or even 10% of a max wager they might take during the regular season. Bookies regularly try to balance chances for increasing the handle versus the risk of getting beaten.

And they carry extra risk in high variance matches. Bookies like contests between two franchises that put victories above nearly everything else.

And because preseason matches are meaningless in terms of points earned, franchise and coaching motivation can be tough to pin down.

That means that outcomes are tougher to model. Indeed, preseason games are more difficult to determine, and there’s nothing that sportsbooks hate more than losing the data battle versus the bettors.

Now, when it comes to how hard preseason games versus regular-season games are to win, the answer is that the tighter spread margin difference between regular and preseason games is related directly to swings in points scored.

And let’s also notice that a golden rule of bookies is that they will always lower their wages and limits when they feel vulnerable. All in all, it seems that betting the preseason is actually favorable.

Preseason As A Predictor of What’s to Come

There’s a very important question to make: do teams that win during the preseason keep on winning during the regular season?

According to statistics, the answer to the question appears to be no. In fact, according to a recent study of 10 NFL seasons, such data found little correlation between the percentage of the preseason and regular-season victories by the same team during the same season.

Preseason Wagering Factors

Here are 2 preseason betting factors you should consider when trying to make a wager:

  • How long will the starters be playing: Check out for those games where the coach is planning to leave the starters longer. And consider making a first half, or a first-quarter bet.
  • How good are the reserve players: There’s a lot of testing during the preseason. So chances are that the most winning team is the one with the best bench. And that includes the best second-string quarterback.

Sports Betting Explained: NFL Fundamentals

Sports Betting Explained: National Football League Betting Fundamentals

As the NFL is a league with a lot of parity in terms of talent level from top to bottom, teams with deeper pockets spend more money on coaching and preparation, on technology, and so on.

And some of the best handicappers out there will tell you that to win wagers is to actually master these elements of the sport.


Traveling is a fundamental element of the National Football League. West Coast teams enjoy a circadian advantage by playing night games on the East Coast as their body clocks are set to the afternoon. On the other hand, the East Coast teams’ body clocks are set to go to bed.


Bye weeks are definitely built into sportsbook betting models. And all the rest is very positive in terms of how much quality time players are getting.

It also allows coaches to improve their game-planning routines. But there’s also a lot of value in focusing on routine, so sometimes that can be at odds with resting time.


An injury can create a lot of uncertainty around a game. And by uncertainty what we mean is a lot of possible variables for results.

Now, a recent study found that when a player is listed as probable, the chance that they play is 95%. And, if the player is listed as questionable, the chance for the player to perform is 32%.

But the truth is that general managers and coaches from different teams have different approaches as to how they report injuries.

So if there’s a player that you believe is key to your handicap listed as probable, it’s always a good idea to check the team’s history about reporting injuries.


When it comes to the weather and its involvement in NFL betting, what we’re interested in are these factors:

  • Temperature
  • Precipitation
  • Wind

It’s also interesting that every single player will react differently to weather conditions. For example, we can go back to Troy Aikman, who was vocal about not being able to grip a wet ball comfortably.

And, when it comes to quarterback play in bad weather, there are two interesting factors:

  • Those high-wind games, which are 20 miles per hour or more, have a great negative impact on the production of the quarterback.
  • The efficiency of the quarterback will not change that much during bad conditions. But when it comes to production metrics such as yards passing and touchdown passes, these do take a hit.

Of course, a clear advantage for the home team is a rainy or snowy day. Also, teams that are playing inside a dome have a better home-field advantage than a franchise that plays at home in the open.

A team that’s run-heavy will get less of an advantage during a game dominated by bad weather than a franchise that is pass-heavy in the offense.

But wind equalizes the field when it comes to weather, as this is a factor that switches offensive expectations for any franchise. If you want to bet a game and there’s going to be wind, go ahead and bet the under the total on the game.

It’s also important to mention that when it comes to history cold weather has never limited total points in a game. In fact, some stories have found that hot weather has a more negative impact than cold weather.

Sports Betting Explained - Contrarian Sports Betting

Sports Betting Explained: Wagering Versus The Public

To make sports betting sustainable for you, pick a strategy, and stick with it. And the best way to win in the long run is to start embracing contrarian betting.

You’ll be wagering versus the average Joe who’s just picking games based on gut instinct and losing more than he wins as a consequence.

If you choose to go with contrarian betting, you can make a profit by taking advantage of public bias and inflated lines. What’s best, you’re placing yourself on the side of the house, and that means you win because the house always wins.

Contrarian Sports Betting Explained

Sports Betting Explained: Contrarian Wagering

Also known as fading the public and betting against the public, contrarian sports betting is a great strategy for one particular reason: the public loses more often than not.

As a result of this, the team that gets the least bets can get you a lot more value than the franchise getting the most wagers.

Now, it’s a real misconception that the average Joe never ever wins. In reality, the public does win from time to time. In fact, you may say that wagering goes in cycles, including lots of ups and downs.

There will be periods, from days to weeks, to months, where the average player actually wins and turns a profit.

But, at the end of the day, the sportsbook always wins, and the average Joe does end up with long-term red figures in his bank account. This is the big reason you should bet against what they’re betting on.

Before going with more in-depth contrarian sports betting info, we should define who the average Joe is: This is the player that places bets for fun. Because he’s a fan of a certain team and wants to make the game more interesting by risking some dollars. He even bets with friends, and as part of the office betting pool.

What this means is that betting, for the public, is pure entertainment. And it also means that the public largely ignores analytics data.

In reality, the average bettor will spend just a couple of minutes choosing who to place a bet on. To dissect line movement, analyze wagering percentages, and to study historical trends have no place in the choices most bettors make.

Emotion and gut instinct rules instead. And, the majority, if not all of their cash is spent on betting their favorite team. Within the sports betting community, the public is referred to in different ways, including:

  • Casual bettor
  • Recreational bettor
  • Novice bettor
  • Square bettor
  • Average Joe

And let’s not forget that although they bet small, the public makes up the majority of players in the wagering market.

Contrarian Sports Betting Explained: Favorites

Sports Betting Explained: Contrarian Wagering And Favs

As the casual bettor wagers based on emotion, he tends to gravitate toward certain bet types, including favorites, the home team, and the over. A recreational player loves to bet on favorites because it’s just human nature to root for the favorite or the one with the most chances of winning.

Just think about it: If a novice bettor is going to put his hard-earned cash on a bet, he wants to wager on the “best” team. Why would he want to make a risky bet on a team that’s expected to lose the game?

The average Joe is just following common sense and sees betting the underdog as counterintuitive. The public also loves to bet the home team as they put an extra value on home-field advantage.

They have a strong belief about a team with a supportive home crowd having an advantage over a team that has traveled long hours into hostile territory.

And, let’s also not forget that there’s a psychological bias about betting overs. If the average Joe is betting totals, he wants back-and-forth entertainment, with lots of points, and a high-scoring final result.

It’s just not fun for the public to bet low-scoring games, always expecting missed or blocked shots, double plays, strikeouts, shutouts, etc.

Putting Extra Value on Non-Key Elements

Sports Betting Explained: What To Focus on

The public also tends to select games using criteria that are not as relevant as they believe them to be. For example, they tend to pick the squad with the best record or the higher-ranked team.

The public also puts a big emphasis on recent performance. If there’s a certain team that looked phenomenal during their last game and is currently running a winning streak, the public is likely to want to get some action on such team’s next game.

On the other hand, if a team played terribly during their last game and has lost a few matches in a row, then the public will likely want to bet against that squad.

This is what’s known as recency bias. Another common mistake the public makes is to base their wagers on players.

If there’s a certain team that has more extra stars than the other, they will definitely bet on that squad. The novice bettor is also biased toward franchises with rich histories.

And, let’s not forget that the public also loves to bet on the team with the most famous coach. Also, the public loves to follow the lead of the media.

They immediately fall in love with the teams that are getting the most online and TV attention. If there’s a certain franchise that’s on sports shows and online magazines every day, plus they get mentioned constantly on the radio, then a novice bettor will be definitely persuaded to make a bet on such a team.

The public also has a fantastic memory. If a recreational bettor placed a bet on a given team, and that franchise won, then that player is inclined to continue to make bets on that squad despite any fresh data or head-to-head analysis.

On the other hand, if they bet on a team, and that team loses, chances are that they will never risk a single cent on that team again.

In fact, they will try to bet against the team that made them lose money any chance they can. And, it’s precisely this herd wagering state of mind you want to stay away from.

What you want to do is exactly the opposite, to bet against what the public bets on. You want to exploit these biases, allowing you to increase your own chances of cashing in on such market inefficiencies.

Contrarian Sports Betting Explained: Shaded Lines

Sports Betting Explained: Shaded Wagering Lines

The top reason why Contrarian Sports Betting works is that you’ll always get way better odds when you take the opposite side.

What you need to be clear about is the fact that the bookies are not setting a wagering line in a vacuum. What the sportsbook wants is to maximize its profits as much as possible.

So, as the majority of bets come from novice bettors and not the pros, the sportsbook adjusts wagering lines with public opinion in mind.

This means that those creating the odds clearly know that the public loves wagering on favorites, the home team, and overs.

And for that reason, they will try to cash in on such public biases by shading their sports betting lines accordingly. Shading means to set a betting line that’s more inclined toward the public.

So, this forced the novice bettor to wager assuming an added risk by working with inflated lines.

In baseball, the bookies are clear about how big-market franchises such as the Yankees, Cubs, Red Sox, and Dodgers will obtain the majority of the wagers.

And so, instead of opening these teams as -150 favorites, they shade the line to -160 or even -170. With that said, the public really could care less about this, as they will bet the favorite regardless.

And, as the novice bettor doesn’t pay attention to these details, the public always ends up with bad numbers for big-name franchises.

But, this has a positive side for contrarian sports betting, as the bookies are forced to shade the rivals’ line. So, in this case, the rival might open at +160 instead of +150.

And that means that a $100 wager now pays $160 instead of $150.

And all because public bias drove the wagering line up. Shaded lines are really valuable when it comes to NFL Point Spreads and NBA Point Spreads as half point can really make the difference for the final outcome of a wager.

Here’s an example: Let’s say the Packers are playing the Jaguars. After running all of their computer models, the sportsbook concludes that a fair like is 14 points.

But as they know there will be some heavy betting on Green Bay as favorites, then they shade the line to -14.5 or even -15.

So, this favors you as a contrarian sports bettor, because it allows you to get a line of +14.5 or +15 on Jacksonville instead of a +14 line.

At its very core, contrarian sports betting is all about getting the most value on each wager you place by betting the correct side, not the favorite one.

Contrarian Sports Betting Explained: The Magic Number

Sports Betting Explained: Special Numbers To Work With

Before we can place a bet against the public, we must first figure out where the public is. You can’t just blindly assume that they’re betting the favorite, or the home team, or the over.

There are always extenuating factors that can change everything for the particular outcome of a game, and that’s even truer in times of the current covid 19 pandemic. Maybe there’s a current trendy underdog everybody wants to bet on.

Or they might want to place an under bet because there’s a game featuring two franchises with great defenses. They might also want to bet a road franchise just because they have an ace starting pitcher on the mound. You get the point…

So, in order to bet contrarian sports betting lines, you need to avoid making assumptions. To verify where the public currently is, check out hard data related to current public betting trends.

When you’re able to determine the actual percentage of wagers every franchise is getting, you, as a contrarian bettor, can not only tell which side the novice bettor is on but can also determine the level of public bias. Now, everything below 50% is contrarian sports betting.

With that said, the wagering threshold is lower as not all contrarian value is weighted in an equal way. If the wagers are split 51/49 or 55/45, there’s really not much contrarian value on the franchise that’s getting 49% or 45% as that means the novice bettor is kind of undecided.

The actual key to winning with contrarian sports betting is to take a look at the games that more lopsided for the day.

When you see heavy lopsided wagering percentages, public bias betting is also heavy. And that means that you’ll find a lot of value by placing bets on the other side.

Now, this is very important: Contrarian sports betting sweet spots vary depending on sporting events, but a good benchmark is to wager on franchises that are getting less than 35% of the wagers.

That means that contrarian bettors should consider 35 as their magic number.

So, if there’s a franchise that’s getting less than 35% of the wagering action, then that’s a very good indicator that the average joe is dismissing them.

And, it would be definitely a great idea to bet on a team in such a situation, because they’re not getting the value they deserve and are likely getting the benefit of a shaded wagering line.

Contrarian Sports Betting Explained: Bookies Worry About Unbalanced Action

Sports Betting Explained: What is Balanced Action?

You should also remember that bookmaking operations definitely pay attention to unbalanced action. If the betting percentage is near 50% on both sides, the bookies can sit back and relax knowing that they won’t lose big.

And that’s because all they care about is the juice or vig they get on each bet. So they really don’t care who wins or loses as they are taxing each side.

But, when a game becomes heavily lopsided, with the average joe wagering overwhelmingly just one side, then this turns into a red flag for the oddsmakers.

And the reason is that depending on the outcome, they can lose a lot of cash. But, the bookies are not in the business of losing profits.

They’re smart, and almost never put themselves in a position where they can take massive losses. Instead, they’re able to predict which side will be the most popular one.

And so they set the spread for the game by considering public opinion and perception. For example, let’s say that the Rams are 10-point favorites versus the Bengals, and 80% of the spread wagering is going to LA, the bookies have a big liability problem with the Rams.

If Los Angeles manages to win by eleven points or more, the bookmaking operation will be hit massively because they will be forced to pay large sums of cash to the public who bet on the Rams.

So, the bookies know what they’re doing, and the line they set for the public is not the one you should be looking at. Instead, choose to side with the house and take Cincinnati at +10.

This allows you to take advantage of public bias, and by siding with the house, your chances of winning increase considerably.

Contrarian Sports Betting Explained: Most Popular Wager Types

Sports Betting Explained: Spread, Total, and Moneyline

To wager versus the public, we want to focus on the squads that are receiving less than 35% of the total wagers. And, what you want is to target the most popular bet types for every sport.

To be successful, you need to check out where most public bets are getting placed. And for football and basketball, that’s the spread, and next in importance, the total, and lastly the Moneyline.

So, when it comes to contrarian sports betting, there’s really no value in placing bets on the Moneyline. And the reason is that there’s just not enough public Moneyline wagers that you can bet against.

Actually, if you bet the Moneyline on football or basketball, you might be wagering versus pro players who are risking a ton of cash on the ML.

Contrarian Sports Betting Explained: Wager Against A Popular Underdog

Now, betting versus the public doesn’t really mean that you should bet the underdog time and time again. And that’s because there are times when an underdog will become a favorite of the public.

The novice bettor never wants to wager on an underdog because it’s perceived as the inferior squad. So, when there’s heavy wagering action registered on an underdog, it clearly signals public bias.

And that actually creates rare value on favorites related to contrarian sports betting.