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A guide to betting on sports

If you are a lover of competitive sports or watch a lot of them, then you may have stumbled across terms such as ‘sportsbook’ or ‘sports betting’. While it used to only be legal to bet on sports in the states of Oregon, Nevada, Delaware, and Montana, in 2018 the Supreme Court allowed individual states to make sports betting legal at their discretion. In fact, over the past four years, despite the anti-gambling stigma, sports betting has now become pretty mainstream in America. Betting services have even expanded online, as a result of technology becoming more advanced. When highly competitive sports competitions such as the NFL season are happening, people may even see sportsbooks offer customers a chance to gamble on the games. Some sportsbooks that are pretty popular with bettors include BonusFinder in Ohio.

But how does this industry work? Here, we discuss what sports betting is, how the odds work, and the kinds of sports bets that a gambler can place on a sportsbook.

What is sports betting?

Much like its name implies, sports betting is when two or more people wager money on how a sporting event will go. It does not matter what the monetary value of the wager is – it could be $1 to $100 – so long as money exchanges hands, it is considered sports betting.

There are many different ways someone can bet on sports. The most common (and obvious) is that a gambler bets on which team wins or loses the competition or event. Another way may be how many goals or points a certain team will score in an event. People have even been known to bet on an individual athlete’s performance too.

With so many ways to bet on sports, there are plenty of different ways gamblers can win. For example, the winning factor could be how much money is risked or earned. Another factor that can determine somebody’s chances is the event’s odds (generally established by sportsbooks), or which sportsbook someone chooses to gamble with.

Much like sports fans, sports bettors are very similar. Both of these people are interested in sports and emotionally invested in the event’s outcome. The only difference is that sports bettors tend to put their finances on the line.

How sports betting works

Much like most things that deal with chance and probability, sports betting revolves around the odds of an outcome occurring.

Most US-based sportsbooks tend to go for American odds. This system uses positive odds (+) to indicate how much a bettor could win with each successful $100 bet. Whereas a negative odd (-) indicates how much a gambler has to bet to win $100.

For example, if a sportsbook says that a team has +700 odds to win a sporting event, then if a gambler bets $100, they would gain $700 if that team won. On the other hand, if a team has -150 odds, a gambler has to bet $150 to win back $100. Of course, this ratio will scale with the amount a gambler wagers.

Interestingly, teams that have a negative amount for their odds tend to be the favorite of a sportsbook. Essentially, they show that the sportsbook is highly likely to believe that they are more likely to win the event. For example, if team A has -200 whereas team B has +190, then this indicates that team A is the favorite of this matchup, whereas team B is the underdog.

However, if both teams come with a positive symbol for their odds, then the smaller number showcases the sportsbook’s favorite, while the large number is the underdog. Vice versa, if both teams have a negative number, then the one with the largest number is the favorite.

Types of sports bets

While sports betting is very accessible now, there is still a slight learning curve for them, especially for those who are new to sports betting. Here are a few explanations of the most popular types of bets a customer can put down.

Straight Bets

This is the most common type of wager you will see in sports betting. It is sometimes referred to as a ‘single bet’. This means that a person is simply wagering on the result of a single game. For instance, you can bet on team A if you believe they will win the game. Or you can bet on an individual athlete if you believe they will win the game.

Parlay bets

This is where a bettor combines two or more wagers into a single bet. This is a popular option because they open the door to bigger rewards while having less risk. The number of bets in a parlay, in addition to the odds attached, determines how much someone can win. Of course, the bigger the parlay and the bigger the bet – the bigger any potential rewards are.

That being said, it can be difficult to hit a parlay. This is because the more bets you add, the more difficulty increases. Often exponentially too. All it takes is for one bet to miss and the whole thing falls. There are generally two types of parlay bets – a same-game and a multi-game one.

A same-game parlay is where a parlay is made of many bets from a single game. On the other hand, a multi-game parlay is where a parlay is built of many bets from multiple games. (Do note that these bets do not have to be the same sport).

Spread bets

A spread bet tends to be related to the margins of victory, which involves giving away or taking a certain number of points or goals. As such, bettors will choose whether they will take a spread (so betting on the underdog of a match) or give the spread (betting on the favorite of a match). For example, if you believe Team A will win by at least 5 points, you will bet on them. For this kind of bet, they all have odds attached. So, before you take them, be sure to understand how odds work in sports betting!