Sports Betting Guide for Dummies: Learning the Art to Bet on Sports

sports betting guide
Image source: Flickr

Sports betting for most people hold a certain allure which is both exciting and tempting. Anyone who is acquainted with sports betting will concur to this statement. Sports betting is not just exhilarating for newcomers but also for old participants. Every day is a new day to bet on a different game with different odds. Therefore, anyone who comes across sports betting immediately wants to learn more. If you fall under this category, this sports betting guide will help you encompass all the various terminologies in sports betting, so you can make an informed decision.

There are several ways to get to know the game. However, it is generally a good idea to get an overview of how sports betting works.

Bet on sports online at the 888sport Sportsbook

How sports betting works

In this world and era betting comes naturally to most people. Whether someone is a full-grown adult or simply a teenager, everyone at one point has made a bet. The ground rules are the same when it comes to making a bet in any capacity. A person betting on an outcome wins money (or anything in regards to which the bet is placed), they win if the desired result is achieved and vice versa.

This is how sports betting works as well. Essentially, sports betting is the act of placing a wager on the outcome of a sports event. A person can not only bet on a sports event but also players and scores of each team. If they win the bet they collect their winnings and if they lose the bet, they lose the money. Sports betting always has a winning side and a losing side. Therefore it makes for outcomes to come out immediately determining whether the bet is won or lost.

sports betting guide
Betting is a good way to earn money online

What are betting odds and how to read them

Odds is a mathematical term which determines the likelihood of a specific outcome. In sports betting, these outcomes are relevant to sports events which take place. In gambling, odds derive the payoff for a wager. However, it is important to keep in mind that payoffs are not on true odds and may vary from sportsbooks or bookmakers. There are different ways to read odds depending on the location and betting organization.

Moneyline odds: 

Moneyline odds are under use by the American sportsbooks which have either a negative or positive value. A negative value is most common in relation to favourites who are likely to win. For instance, if the Los Angeles Lakers are favourites to win at a basketball game and have odds of -150, it translates to wagering an amount of $150 to win $100. In case the Lakers do win, the person will get back the original bet of $150 along with the winning amount of $100, a total of $250.

Meanwhile, the money line odds for an underdog team are in positive value. An underdog team is usually the one which does not have any expectation to win the game. Therefore the payoff on underdog bets is higher than on favourites, due to the likelihood of them losing. For example, if the Boston Celtics have odds of +250 that means anyone betting on them with a $100 bet will win $250. Which is $350 in total along with the original bet.

In case there are no favourites or underdogs, the betting options are always offered in negative value with the payoffs differing according to the strengths of each team.

Fractional odds:

Fractional odds are most commonly favoured by the UK sportsbooks. This way of reading odds is easier in comparison to money line odds which have an added numerical symbol along with the payoff value. However, these odds require a little use of mathematics to calculate how much a person can win or lose.

If a team has an odds of 5/1 it would simply mean that for a bet of £10 the person will win £50. If the numbers are reversed in the fraction and are 1/5 the person will win £2 for a bet of £10. The fractional odds containing numerator and denominator are always integers which are in simple forms to make the calculations easier even for a layman.

The fraction symbol ‘/’ is widely in use when it comes to representation of odds in the UK. Although there are some bookmakers who prefer to represent the odds with the hyphen symbol ‘-’. In these cases, the 5/1 odds will be 5-1.

sports betting guide
There are countless betting options since the very beginnings – Image source: Flickr

Decimal odds:

These odds are typically are in use in more than just one region of the world. These regions include Europe, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Similar to the above-mentioned styles, decimal odds also represent the ratio of the payout on a single bet. Depending on the value of the payout, the odds will translate from the fractional odds result, plus 1. For instance, odds of 5/1 are 6.00 and 9/1 are 10.00. While the odds for inverse fractions such as 1/5 are 1.20 and 1/4 are 1.25.

Decimal odds are by far the easiest way to represent odds and is the exact amount at which the bettor will be paid.

You can find the best odds at the 888sport Sportsbook

Basic sports betting guide terminologies you should know

Before diving into the explanations it is necessary to know of a few betting terminologies to not get confused when hearing words like point spread or over and under. This is a brief glossary explaining the many phrases and words in use by gamblers all over the world.

Buying or selling: 

Buying or selling is a concept similar to what the name suggests. It is most commonly in use in relationships to spread betting. This works in such a way that if the bettor believes the result will be higher than the buying points than they will buy. On the other hand, if they believe that the result will be lower than the selling point than they will sell.

Betting limit:

Each sportsbook will have limits set for the minimum or maximum amount for each bet. The wagering amount can vary depending on the type of bet.

Even money:

Even money is a term in use regarding bets which has the same payout as the bet. For instance, a bet of $10 will earn the player $10 in case of a win.

Favourites and Underdogs:

Favourites are those teams or players who are most likely to win the game due to either previous statistics or playing style. Underdogs are the opposite, who are not in the optimal position to win the match. Additionally, players who bet on favourites are called chalk players and ones who bet on underdogs are called dog players.

Fixed odds:

These odds are predetermined which means they will remain consistent even if the price changes.

Point spread:

This is a method which essentially keeps the betting game interesting till the very end. Oddsmakers set a range of points which can provide advantage or disadvantage to the favourite or underdog side based on the margin of a win or loss.


Along with the possibility of a victory or defeat, there is always a chance of a draw. In such an event, where there is no winner, the bet returns to the player and is called a push.

Sure bet:

The phrase ‘sure bet’ is a one which guarantees a win.

Value betting:

This is when the player can identify an advantage against the sportsbook, which is usually when a bet is a price lower than its worth.

What are the different types of bets

There are several ways to make a bet in a sports event. Many sportsbooks offer multiple ways a person can make a bet. Some are specific to that kind of sport while others are common throughout. For instance, horse racing events may offer bettings which football matches can not offer. Therefore, this sports betting guide will further elaborate on the different types of bets.

Straight bets

Straight bets are the most common and simplest bets in the sports betting category. It revolves around the point spread which allows the bettors to bet either on the favourites or the underdogs while giving up the points or availing them respectively. Therefore, a win will count in case the favourites take victory more than the set point spread. In case of a bet on the underdogs, they have to win outrightly or lose below than the point spread for the bettor to cash out.

Moneyline bets

Moneyline bets are for outright wins. In case a team is favored to win the bettor has to risk a required amount to win the bet. For underdogs the case is similar. Since the favorites have a higher chance of winning, the payout is less than that of underdogs and the betting amount is consequently more. Underdogs have lower minimum bets and higher cashout amount due to lower likelihood of them winning.

Head-to-head bets

Another simplistic bet is the head-to-head bet which allows participants to bet on two outcomes of the game. Due to this reason, it is often termed as two-way betting. In case of betting on a team that achieves victory, the bet will be won. On the other hand, if there is a draw or the other team wins, the bet will lose and no push will come into play in this betting style.

Over and Under betting

Easily the most popular bet these days is perhaps the over and under bet which is why online sportsbook guides for beginners are always answering the question ‘what is over and under betting?’. It allows betting on a deeper level than most bets. Most online sportsbooks sites offer these for sports which depend on a scoring system. In a football match over and under bets are available on the total score at half and full-time. For example, a bet placed on the over 3.5 goals scored total will win if there are a total of 4 goals or more at the end of the game. Similarly, with under 2.5 goals scored half-time will win if at half-time the goals are 2 or less.

Over and Under bets do not limit to just the number of goals or football. This type of betting is in use for basketball, baseball, and any sports which require a scoring system. People can also bet on the number of penalties, corners, and even yellow cards given during the length of a game.

Parlay bets

Parlay bets are famous as combo bets since they are first and foremost a combination bet. A parlay bet allows bettors to bet on multiple picks instead of one. To explain further, if someone wishes to place a bet on several sports events, they can head to an online sportsbook and do so. However, there is a downside to this betting style. Choosing multiple bets renders the odds poor due to the accumulation of odds. On the contrary, the cashouts on parlay bets are massive. In order to attain this cashout. All the individual bets placed have to win. Even if one of the teams lose, the entire bet will lose.

sports betting guide
There are lots of parlay bets on basketball

The only reason parlay bets separate from straight bets is the fact that all the individual bets do not have a payoff that big.

Ante-post betting

Ante-post is not that common in sports betting since it is only valid for two kinds of sports: Horse and greyhound racing. Prior to these races, the runner’s names are listed along with odds. This opens the chance to place an ante-post bet which is early betting. The odds in this bet do not remain constant and change as the races draw nearer. Ante-post usually ends a day before the schedule of the race.

How and where to place bets?

Now that sports betting guide have helped you understand the bet types and basic betting terminologies. We can move on to the next step: How to place bets?

Placing bets is becoming easier day by day. Unlike the olden days, where people used to go to bookmakers to place bets; in today’s world, placing a bet is exceptionally convenient. Opening a laptop and going to any sportsbooks website will do the trick. So much so, there are even applications for mobile phones available which will make it further convenient. Each sportsbook displays odds along with payouts for events happening all over the world. Some online sportsbooks deal with regional sports events. Hence, it is wise to check several online sportsbook sites before placing a bet.

This sports betting guide will help you get a headstart into the sports betting market.

Click here to visit the 888sport Sportsbook


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