The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Sports Gambling

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Sports Gambling

Planning to engage in sports betting?

Sports betting is a fun activity that traces back to the ancient Greek Olympics. In our modern age, one of its advantages is its accessibility almost anywhere.

Despite this ease and the prospect of fun, sports gambling is not without its risks. Of course, there are casual sports bettors whose risks are minimal. Whether you plan to be a casual bettor or looking to be a pro, knowing how sports betting works is important.

You may feel overwhelmed by the number of articles on sports gambling. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Read on for a complete beginner’s guide to sports gambling!

Fundamentals of Sports Gambling

Because sports betting is fun and profitable, it’s a large industry with its own set of jargon. These jargon can be intimidating to learn at first. Here are some sports gambling terms to take note of.

Favorites and Underdogs

The first thing oddsmakers do when releasing a betting line is picking favorites and underdogs. The favorite is the team that’s expected to win and favored over the opposition. It’s often indicated by a minus (-) sign in front of the odds.

Meanwhile, the underdog is the team that’s expected to lose and indicated by a plus (+) sign. Often, to even the wager on a point spread, the favorite gives points to the underdog. If the wager is on the money line, the favorite will have a lesser return on the money wagered.

Points Spread

This is one of the two ways to bet on a favorite or an underdog. The favorite gives points while the underdog receives them to even the match.

For a favorite to win, they must surpass the points given to the underdog. Meanwhile, the underdog can use their points to overcome the favorite and win against the spread.

For example, say the Boston Celtics are -8 favorites against the Los Angeles Lakers’ +8. If you bet on the Celtics, they subtract eight points from their total once the final score is out. If you bet on the Lakers, they add eight points. This decides if the bet wins against the spread.

So in a final score of 100-90 in favor of the Celtics, you win a bet on the favorite. If the Celtics’ score was lower, say 96-94, you’d lose a wager on the favorite.

Money Line

With a wager on the money line, you bet on a side without the added or subtracted points in a point spread.

Favorites are still indicated by the minus sign and underdogs the plus sign. A -200 favorite means you need to bet $200 to win $100. For a +200 underdog, you can bet $100 and gain $200 if they win.

In money line odds, betting on favorites is riskier than betting on underdogs.

Totals (Over or Under Bets)

Oddsmakers also set the total points for a game. This is the expected number of points that will occur between the two teams.

Bettors can wager whether the game will go over or under the total. Hence bets on totals are often referred to as over/under bets.

Placing a Sports Bet

Placing a sports bet also depends on your state’s jurisdiction. It’s important to understand the rules and regulations of the market you’re in. However, bettors have the option of placing bets in a sportsbook or online.

Bet365 is a great online sportsbook. Check out this code for Bet365.

How Much Should You Bet

The amount of money you’re willing to risk is up to you. If you want to be a smart gambler, gamble only what you can afford to lose.

The amount of money wagered is usually referred to by sports bettors in units. This is a predetermined bet size used as an average wager.

A recommended approach to betting is flat-betting. You do this by betting the same amount for every game. The risk should be in the range of 1%-5% of your bankroll, or your starting amount.

For example, if you have a bankroll of $1000, risk no more than $50 per game. With flat-betting, you guard yourself against losing your bankroll in a losing streak. If you’re doing well, you’ll have a positive return on investment.

Betting Styles

There are different sports betting styles. Some styles can give you the biggest return, while there are others you should avoid.

Choosing your betting style will be key to how you’ll operate during a bet. Here are three betting styles:


With a fixed bet, you’ll know how much you are wagering every time out regardless of the type of bet. You may be playing it safe with only $10 on every single bet, however, you’ll only be losing a maximum of $10.

This can lead you in the right direction even if it’s small stakes. Once you gain successful momentum, you can adjust your wager to allow for bigger bets.


This is the style you’ll want to avoid. With kamikaze, you’ll be making thoughtless bets for any amount at any time on any game.

You’ll want to make sure that there’s some logic behind your every bet. As such, you need some structure in sports betting. This starts with your bankroll and the amount you wager on each individual bet.


With this method, you bet higher on favorites and lower on underdogs. This is part of the “grind theory” where you can keep winning and playing as long as you’re keeping risk in check.

You’ll only win what you wager, yet you’ll also lose only the same amount. In practice, if you’re winning, turning $10 into $20 in most of your wagers means you’re tripling your money as you go.

The Ultimate Guide to Sports Gambling

Now you know how to bet on sports! Here are the types of wagers for favorites and underdogs and some betting styles to use or avoid. Employing strategy in your bets allows you to be wise in managing your bankroll.

Want to know more about sports gambling? Check out our other guides here to learn more valuable information!


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