The Best Sports Betting Strategies
If you want to know how to bet on sports, you’re in the right place. We have an unrivaled selection of guides to get you started. No matter what you’re looking for, we’ve got you covered.
How to Bet on Sports – The Basics
Our job is to help you find out how to bet on sports and make money. Online sportsbooks can be confusing to newcomers. Homepages of sports betting sites are filled with numbers, signs and strange words. But, with our simple online sports betting guide, you can place wagers in confidence.
Good sports betting strategy begins with understanding how markets are priced. At most US online sportsbooks, they will be displayed in one of three formats.
US/American Odds: This is the most common format for sportsbook odds. The favorite is displayed as a negative number, while the underdog has a positive number.
In an NHL game, the odds on an NHL game are priced up like this:
Detroit Red Wings: +155
New Jersey Devils: -190
The Devils are favorites. You would have to bet $190 in order to win $100. The Red Wings are underdogs. If you bet $100 and they won, you would win $155.
Decimal Odds: Decimal odds show the amount you can win back, including your stake. If you bet $100 on a team to win at 2.15, you would get 2.15 x $100 = $215.
Fractional Odds: Fractional odds are commonly used at bookmakers in the UK and Europe. The price is presented as a fraction that is multiplied by your stake.
If you bet $100 on a team priced at 2/1, you would win $200/1. The fractional odds don’t include the value of your original stake.
Choosing the Correct Bet Type
Moneyline: The moneyline is a straight bet on the winner of a game. In a game with two teams or players, there will usually be a favorite and underdog. The moneyline is the easiest bet to understand.
A good sports betting strategy is hunting out moneyline value. Some bookies will over-price the underdog or under-value the favorite. Look for trends like home form or player injuries that can affect the outcome.
Point Spread: In a spread, the underdog is given a points advantage or the favorite receives a points handicap. The odds are adjusted accordingly.
The point spread is good to learn if you want to understand how to bet on sports. It requires some research into whether the underdog has been over-priced. Strong underdogs might be worth a spread bet if the bookie has given them too much of a points advantage.
Teasers: A teaser is an extension to the point spread. Rather than taking the spread set out by the bookmaker, you can adjust it up or down. If you fancy a hot favorite, for example, you might adjust the spread even further in the underdog’s favor and bet on the increased odds.
Total Points Over/Under: This is a fun market that lets you bet on whether the total points will be over or under the set mark.
In a game of basketball, for example, there will be two sets of odds: one for over 144.5 and one for under 144.5. If the total points are 144 or lower, the under bet wins. The over bet wins if the total is 145 or higher.
Other Markets: Knowing how to bet on sports is about understanding a range of different markets. A typical soccer game in Europe may have over 100 different markets, like first goalscorer, correct score, or Half-Time/Full-Time winner.
Betting the moneyline in basketball is easy, but you might find more value betting the winning margin for the favorites or total team points.
Betting at the Right Time
Our online sports betting guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning in-play or live betting. All good sportsbooks in the US offer in-play markets. These let you place bets on a game as it’s happening. The odds change in real time as the game progresses.
Smart gamblers can take advantage of in-play markets if they’re watching the game live. They might spot trends in the game that makes it easier to judge their next bet.
You can also follow many in-play games via a graphic visualizer or match tracker. This displays the current state of the game, complete with up-to-date statistics.
Good sports betting strategy is also about hunting value months before an event takes place. Outrights, or futures, let you place bets on the winner of the next MLB or Superbowl many months ahead of time.
The odds are always higher for outrights as there is such a long lead time to the start of the competition. This is where you can find value and lock in a profit.
The common version of odds used at US sportsbooks. Negative odds denote a favorite, while positive odds indicate an underdog.
A selection in your parlay bet that MUST win for your parlay to win.
Amount set aside to gamble online.
Wager staked on a game or match.
Area of the sports betting site where your wagers are kept and calculated.
A promotional offer given by the sportsbook. Bonuses can relate to free bets or other offers like a deposit match.
To settle a wager early and take a smaller payout.
To bet against the weight of money. A contrarian bet might be to gamble heavily on a rank outsider who represents value.
A standard odds format used at US sportsbooks. The decimal odds displays the amount you can win for a 1.00 unit stake.
A promotional offer made on some soccer and horse racing markets. Enhanced odds are higher than the normal odds but are usually reserved for new customers.
Set odds on a moneyline market between two or more players or teams.
Format of odds common at UK and US bookmakers. Fractional odds are multiplied by the stake to calculate a payout.
A match tracker used by sportsbooks so that customers can follow a live game or match. The visualizer displays the current score and key stats like possession and shots on target.
The points disadvantage of one team in a spread. The team must overcome the handicap in order to win the bet.
The amount taken from wagers on a particular market.
A strategy used by experienced gamblers looking for value across multiple sportsbooks. By hedging your bets across several betting sites, you can help to guarantee a profit.
Wagers made on games as they happen in real-time. Odds change as the game progresses.
A straight bet on the winner of a game or match. Odds will reflect the favorite and the underdog.
A type of teaser bet which allows for a wider point spread.
The price given by the bookmaker on a game or match. To calculate a payout, multiply your stake by the odds.
Denotes a heavy favorite in a match or game. In an odds-on bet, the payout is smaller than the original stake.
A bet on whether the total points will be over or under the set point. Over/Under bets are popular in high-scoring games like basketball and football.
A combined bet or ‘accumulator’ made up of several individual bets. Every bet must win in order for your parlay to win.
A horse that finishes 2nd-4th in a race. Bookmakers will pay shortened odds on placed horses.
A handicap bet between two teams. Prior to the game, the favorite will be given a handicap, while the underdog is given a points advantage. Also called spread.
The point spread in a hockey game. Typically, the favorite will be given a -1.5 goal handicap, and the underdog a +1.5 goal advantage before the game starts.
A spread bet that ends in a tie. The stake is sometimes returned but it can be classed as a losing bet in some parlays.
A type of parlay covering multiple bets on several different outcomes.
A point spread bet found in baseball.
A type of teaser bet where teams are given an increased advantage or handicap.
Bet combinations including parlays and round robins.
A type of point spread which gives the player control over the spread.
Bet commonly found in basketball, football, and hockey. Odds are given on the size of the winning team margin.