Unless you are a long-time veteran of the world of sports betting, chances are good that you still have a lot to learn when it comes to making smart and profitable bets.
This is true for almost everyone, and there are plenty of cases where skilled bettors can still learn something new that will help to improve their game.
Sports betting can be as simple or complex as you would like for it to be, but even if you decide to take it extremely seriously and really learn all of the nuances that go into making the best bets, it can still be a lot of fun.
This guide will be geared toward players who are relatively new to the world of sports betting. It will cover all of the basics so that anyone who is unfamiliar with the terminology or types of bets can feel more confident in placing a good bet in the future.
The Major Bets
A money line bet is probably the most straightforward wager you can make. These are also sometimes called “straight bets.” With this type of bet, you don’t have to factor in things like point spreads or other, more complicated information.
In general, there will be one team that is considered the favorite and one that is considered the underdog. If you bet on the underdog and win, you can make quite a bit of money. Choosing to bet on the favorite is usually less profitable, but it is also usually much safer.
To be successful in money line bets, it’s helpful to have a good understanding of the teams that you’ll be betting on. Knowledge of the teams can help you to decide when you should risk an underdog bet versus when it’s best to bet on the favorite.
One other thing to consider when wagering on sports matches is what is at stake for these teams.
A money line bet on an extremely important match, such as a World Cup finals game, will usually be more difficult to predict. This is because there is a lot at stake, so both teams will be more likely to play hard and take risks.
When you are betting on football, the most common bet that you will see is a point spread. This can appear to be somewhat confusing, but it is not as difficult as it might look upon first glance.
The essence of a point spread bet is that you are wagering on whether your team will win or lose by a certain amount. For football matches, this is usually seen in the form of whether a team will win or lose within a certain number of goals.
Having point spread bets allows for a more interesting and competitive market because it makes both sides of a wager look more appealing. The “points” are basically like a handicap that helps to equalize the teams for betting purposes.
For example, if two teams are playing and one is notoriously better than the other, there would be very little point in anyone betting on the underdog. However, if a sportsbook offers a point spread, there is now a chance for betting on both teams to be interesting and profitable.
In football, an example of this might mean that a sportsbook utilizes a 2-goal spread. In this scenario, the favored team would have to win by more than two goals, and the underdog would have to lose by more than two goals or win the game outright. This shifts the odds around so that there is an opportunity to win a considerable amount of money regardless of which side you bet on.
Offering this kind of betting allows players to place wagers that have the potential to yield high rewards.
A total bet is like a point spread bet in many respects. Instead of betting on a range of goals made or points scored, however, players are wagering on exactly how many points they think will be scored total.
Football is a relatively low-scoring game, so these bets are not as popular as straight bets or point spreads for these types of matches.
If you’re betting on sports like American football or basketball, it is more common to see total bets. These games tend to have higher scores, so players can place bets on whether or not the combined score will be over or under a spread of points that has been determined by the sportsbook.
Parlay bets are an interesting way for players to potentially make quite a bit more money than they would on a straight bet. If you are familiar with sports betting, then you likely know that a parlay bet can be very exciting due to the high risk-high reward nature of it.
A parlay bet allows players to combine two or more wagers into a single prediction. If all of your wagers are correct, then you will win a considerable amount. However, if any one of your predictions turns out to be wrong, then you lose the entire bet.
Football parlays are often considered to be quite risky because of the unpredictable nature of the games, but they are also very rewarding if you can correctly predict the outcomes of matches. The best way to do this is to start by practicing building parlays in leagues that you are most familiar with.
A futures bet means that you are trying to predict who will win a championship when there are still multiple teams left in the tournament. Due to the nature of these bets, they are not always available to make.
They are also wagers that often have a relatively high house advantage compared to other bets, so they are not as lucrative, and most veteran sports bettors will avoid them.
These are usually just called “prop” bets, and they do not pertain to the final score of the game. These types of wagers are usually the most fun or interesting to make.
Examples of prop bets are whether anyone will score a hat trick in a football match or whether there will be a run scored in the first inning of a baseball game.
For big games like the Super Bowl, there will even be bets on things like the color of the musical artist’s hair during halftime or whether or not the National Anthem will be sung correctly.
These bets are usually structured like a point spread bet, and one outcome will be considered more likely than the other.
A Few Basic Strategy Tips For Sports Bets
- Only parlay when you’re confident in the teams.
Parlays are generally risky bets in any sport, but they are particularly high-risk for football matches.
It’s best to only opt for a parlay bet when you are confident in your knowledge of the league and the stats. In addition, keep in mind that the more bets you add to your parlay card, the more you stand to lose if one bet doesn’t go your way.
Parlay cards with several matches on them may boast huge payouts, but they also have the lowest chances of any actual wins.
- Check out all of your options before committing.
Keep track of the lines that all of the major sportsbooks are offering for the matches you want to bet on. It’s smart to compare the most popular sites to see if you can gain an advantage through better odds or additional points.
- Consider late bets.
Believe it or not, sometimes it is more beneficial for you to wait and place your bets as late as you can. This often gives you the best chance of getting a good point spread.
Initially, a point spread is created based on game analysis from experts and the knowledge of the bookers. However, as the time for the game draws nearer, the point spreads will generally undergo some adjustments to make the betting pool a bit more even.
In addition, if you wait to place your bets, you may get important information that changes the odds of your wagers. In football, for example, there could be last-minute changes to the lineup due to injury or player relationships, and this news could be the difference between placing a winning bet or a losing one.
- Look into nontraditional betting markets.
Sometimes, the best way to take advantage of the odds is to branch out into other markets besides the traditional winner ones.
When you’re looking at bets to place, don’t discount markets like draw no bet, both teams to score (BTTS) and “no can lose” parlay.
In most cases, each of these markets offers slightly better odds than straightforward bets on the winners of a match. However, it is still important to compare the lines and make sure that you are placing wagers in a way that gives you the best possible advantage.
Know Your Bets to Come Out Ahead
Sports betting is about more than just a love of the game or trying your luck. Use this guide to make informed wagers, and you’ll be able to experience the excitement of winning more than just the match.