Placing bets or wagering on an outcome of an activity is inherent in our DNA. In fact, it originating in ancient times, even before recorded history, The earliest 6 sided dice was discovered in Mesopotamia and dates back to 3000 BC!
This article on how does sports betting work and where to bet online is an indication of how one of our favourite pastimes has evolved to its present-day form!
Betting on sports has evolved since the time of simply betting on which gladiator would win the fight. Modern sports betting requires some knowledge of how the process works, and that is what we are here to teach you!
There are a couple of basics we are going to cover, and they include:
- Defining sports betting
- Types of sports betting
- How sports betting companies (or bookmakers) make their money
- How to place your bets
- Where to place your bets
What is Sports Betting
Sports betting is placing a wager on a sporting event or tournament. If the aspect you placed your bet on comes about, you win, if it doesn’t, you lose the bet. It sounds like a fairly simple affair, but as you will see, it can have a bit of a learning curve.
Bets placed on sporting events can be as simple as wagering on the winner or loser of the game. There are however many nuances of the game that you can place a bet on. For example, most betting platforms will allow you to bet on which team drawn first blood by scoring first.
The types of bets that can be placed are as varied as the number of betting platforms out there.
Why is betting so popular? For many people, it adds a level of excitement to the game that would otherwise be missing. To others, it is a way to make a little extra cash. Millions of people place bets on sports events but very few get rich doing it. The overriding factor seems to be the adrenalin rush that humans constantly seek for their recreation!
Global sports betting is currently one of the largest worldwide industries, rivalling other global market industries.
Much of the global sports betting is illegal, and you need to be aware of this and be able to protect yourself from a legal standpoint when placing a wager. We will get into the legalities a little later, but suffice it to say, you need to know what is legal and what is not to stay out of trouble.
Types of Sport Betting
Plus and Minus Lines Or Spread Betting
Sometimes also called spread betting, plus and minus line bets are generally the most common types of wagers in sports betting.
Most sporting events will have a favourite and an underdog. The plus (+) sign normally indicates the underdog in the event and the minus (-) sign the favourite.
The away team is usually listed on the left (or first), and the home team on the right (or last).
This point spread, sometimes known as an equalizer for sportsbook operators, is a way to level the playing field for both teams (a type of handicap). This means you can potentially win your bet, even if your team does not win the game . It gives a reason for the betting public to risk money on both teams.
Let’s use an example to explain:
Away Team(Chicago) vs Home Team (Houston)
Away Team (Chicago): +3
while Home Team (Houston): -3
In this game, Chicago is playing at Houston. Houston is the favourite team for the game, while Chicago is considered the underdog.
If you bet on Houston you give 3 points. This means that for you to win Houston has to win the game by 4 or more points.
If you bet on Chicago you get 3 points. With this bet, you win if Chicago wins the game outright or even if they lose by 1 or 2 points. You also win the bet if the game ends in a draw.
If Houston wins by exactly 3 points you don’t win or lose.
There is a twist to this type of betting though. Lines don’t necessarily have to be whole numbers. Half points are often part of this type of wager. This makes a draw or a tie, almost impossible.
Here is another example to illustrate:
Away Team(Pittsburgh) vs Home Team (Atlanta)
Away Team: +4½ Home Team: -4½
With this point spread, if you bet on Pittsburgh you will win the bet if they win the game outright or lose by 4 or points or less.
When betting on Atlanta, they would have to win by at least 5 points for you to win the bet.
Money lines are probably the simplest bet you can make. In its simplest form, you just pick the side or team you think will win and place a bet on the outcome. With this type of bet, you don’t need to concern yourself with the margin of victory. A win is a win and if your team loses, you lose the bet. That’s pretty much how simple it is!
You will notice, however, that the teams for a money line bet are still listed with a plus or minus number. These numbers differ in that they signify how much you need to bet, or how much you stand to win.
Once again, favourites are listed with a minus number and underdogs with a positive number. On a money line bet, the negative or minus number next to the favourite indicates how much you have to bet to win 100.
On a money line for a favourite with a negative number it means you have to bet this much to win 100.
When you make a money line bet on the underdog team or player, the number listed with the plus (+) sign indicates how much you will win if you wager 100.
The minus side will pay less than original wager while the plus side will pay more than the original wager.
Here are examples of each bet.
The listing Dallas (-200) means that you will have to risk or bet 200 to win 100.
The money line listing Pittsburgh (+180) means that if you bet 100 you win 180 when Pittsburgh wins.
In evenly matched games or contests you might see a money line with both teams at – 105 or – 110. This means you can bet on either team by betting 105 to win 100 or betting 110 to win 100.
This does not mean you have to bet 100 on the plus lines or the total amount on the minus lines. You can bet any amount between the minimum and maximum amount the sports book will accept. The numbers will be adjusted to relate to the amount you.
Here’s an example of how this works:
If you want to bet on Dallas (+180) but you only want to put down 50, the payout will work as follows: Since you can win 180 if you bet 100, you can win 90 if you bet 50. Likewise, if you bet 25 you can win 45.
The concept is similar if you want to bet less on a minus money line. If you bet 100 instead of 200 on Dallas (-200), your bet of 100 will only win you 50.
An over/under bet is when you make a wager on the combined score of both teams or players in a game.
An example of an over/under bet listing is Dallas at Chicago 44½. You can bet over If you think the two teams score combined will be over 44½ or you can make an under bet if you think the combined score will be less than this amount.
Over/under bets are an easy way to get your feet wet on sports betting, but the sports books are pretty adept at setting these lines. You may find that picking winners with over/under bets is harder than it looks.
How Sports Betting Houses Make Their Money – Vig
Sports betting houses, or sportsbooks, make their profit by charging a fee when you accept your bet. This fee is termed the vig. This is a shortened version of the word vigorish. You may also hear this fee referred to in some circles as the ‘juice’.
When you place a wager with vig and win, you get your vig back. Therefore you only pay vig when you lose.
The vig is built into money line bets and is represented by the difference in the plus and minus lines. If the favourite is listed at – 200 and the underdog at + 180 the difference between the two creates an area of profit for the sportsbook.
To illustrate this, if you bet 110 to win 100 and you win, you get back 210. If, however, you lose, you lose the entire 110.
When a sportsbook accepts the same amount of bets the plus and minus side of a game, they are guaranteed a profit.
Here is how it could work for a sportsbook. Say a book takes 11,000 to win a total of 10,000 on team X and 11,000 to win a total of 10,000 on team Y. If team X wins the book gives the winners back their 11,000 and 10,000 from the losers. This leaves a profit or vig amount of 1,000 for the book. The same scenario will play out if team Y wins.
It is not often that a sportsbook will receive the exact same amount on each line bet of a game, but throughout hundreds or even thousands of games, they lock in a profit as long as they post good lines.
You will find that sportsbooks will also adjust the line if they see too much betting action on one side of a game. They will move the line to encourage more punters to place wagers on the side that has a lower number of bets. Likewise, when they move the line it discourages additional bets on the top-heavy side.
How to Place Bets
Before placing your bet, you need to look at the posted lines, decide which team you want to bet on and then whether you want to bet on the plus and minus line, the money line, or the over/under line.
When you want to place a bet in the physical world, as opposed to the online world, you go to the betting window of the sports book and verbally tell them how you would like to bet. Some books will give you a form to fill in regarding your bet, but in most cases, the exchange is done verbally.
Once you have paid over your money, the book will give you a betting slip which lists your bet and the amount. You will need to return the betting slip to the window to claim your winnings. So whatever you do, don’t lose that betting slip once you have placed your bet!
When placing bets online, first register at a reputed betting site. Then deposit into your new betting account using one of the payment transactions offered. Find the betting lines on the game you are interested in, then click the bet or team you want. You then enter the amount you would like to wager. You will most likely be taken to a confirmation screen where you will be required to confirm your betting choice. Check the details and one you are sure, click accept or place bet and your transaction will be processed.
Hopefully you win and then withdraw your new profits via the numerous withdrawal methods. If not, start looking for your next betting opportunity.
Where to Place Your Bets
Where you can place your bet will largely be determined by your location and what betting facilities are available.
Many sportsbooks will have a window at locations where sporting events take place or will have offices that you can go to place your bet. Another option is using a bookie to place your bets, or going the online route and placing bets on websites created for that purpose.
The term Bookie refers to an individual who takes sports bets. Beware though – in many places, they’re operating outside the law. Often, the authorities will ignore bookies, but if you place bets with an illegal bookie you need to be aware that you be exposing yourself to potential problems.
Bookies essentially operate exactly like a traditional sports book and charge vig on any bets they take. Small bookies will often steal their lines from large bookmakers.
Some bookies also offer betting cards or parlay cards. On these cards, you pick several games for a bigger possible payout than making straight bets. These cards often make a very large profit for bookies. This is a clear indication that these betting cards should be avoided.
The bottom line is that you need to be careful about the legality of betting in your location. In some parts of the world, gambling online is an illegal activity. In other countries, it is allowed, but you can only place bets in restricted areas, such as in a casino.
Online betting sites are easily available on the internet, but they are also illegal in certain places in the world.
Even in places where betting is illegal, you will find betting taking place. These activities are normally strictly controlled and take place in secret. These types of operations are normally run by organized crime institutions and represent the darker side of betting.
You must learn about the laws regarding sports betting where you live before placing your wager.
List of top Sports Betting Sites
This article is intended to guide the novice of how does sports betting work and gives you inside knowledge on how to make your first bet safely. As with most things in life, you need to understand the risks and have an understanding of how the system works to ensure success.
Following the information detailed here, you will be making safe bets like a pro in no time! Don’t forget to check out the vig for your sportsbook of choice. Making bets without a vig means you break even if you win half the time. When you make bets with a vig, you will need to have more winning bets than losing bets to break even.