How Does Sports Betting Work?

Are you familiar with sports betting? It’s possible that you’ve heard about it or you may have even attempted to make some quick cash while betting, but we’re here to tell you all about the subtleties and the best aspects of it. This activity can be glorious and thrilling!

To start, the two main types of sports betting are online and offline betting. If you pick to bet in land-based sportsbooks and betting venues, you will do so in a physical space. And if you choose online betting, you will place your bets virtually through an app or website. It’s essential to know that sports betting might not be legal in all regions, so it’s crucial to look into some of the laws in your area and ensure that you can legally place wagers online. The activity can be tricky, but it’s completely straightforward to dig up the necessary information.

So if you wish to find out more about sports betting, simply read this quick article. How does it work? You’ll see the answer below!

Sports Betting

Firstly, it’s possible that sports betting began with the first organized races and sports games in history. That was a long time ago!

Some early accounts claim that the first betting venue opened its doors way back at the end of the 1700s in the U.K. That venue offered wagering on races, and after over 200 years, the activity became popular worldwide.

Today, this activity is legal in eight U.S. states, and the law banning it was lifted in 2018. Sports betting was illegal. However, it looks like many states will allow it soon. These states allow online and offline betting within the boundaries of the state. But if the laws of your jurisdiction prohibit sports betting, you can easily use offshore sites. These sites are not banned by the United States law, and thus, are perfectly legal.

Moreover, betting can encompass a wide range of games, including football, hockey, golf, martial arts, basketball, baseball, horse racing, the Super Bowl, and just about any sport you can imagine.

So What Is Sports Betting?

So let us explain a bit about betting or wagering. When you watch sporting events, you can choose to bet on the outcome of the game, and if the team wins or loses. You can pick a sum of money and place it as a wager on a winning team, player, or any type of winning outcome. If the outcome you predicted comes true, you will win a certain sum of money. If not, you will get the short end of the stick.sports-betting-legal

The basic premise is simple. However, things get extremely interesting because sports betting allows a vast choice of bets, bet types, and methods in which you can place them.

This activity is a fantastic way to take part in a risky game that may or may not give you prizes in return. Plus, you get to participate in the game on a whole different level than if you were just a spectator.

Unfortunately, betting is not easy and doesn’t assure that you will win money. Many different things play a crucial role in the outcome, such as odds, betting systems, and more.

Ways to Bet

Among the most typical bet types are minus/plus line wagers, i.e., point spread betting. Mainly, the sportsbook will list the event participant as a favorite (more likely to win) or as the one less likely to win, often called the underdog. Furthermore, the underdog gets points/runs, and the favorite gives them in minus/plus line wagers.

Still with us? We can simplify things — if Miami (underdog) plays against Dallas (favorite and home team), Dallas will be portrayed as the second team (Miami vs. Dallas).


The sportsbook will often show you the name of the teams, like in the previous example. Along with the names, the sportsbook will give you the odds for both of them.

Now, the wagering odds will show you the chances you stand of winning your bet. If the outcome you predicted turns out to be true, you will get paid according to the odds.

There are various types of betting systems, but the main ones include:

  • American odds (moneyline odds and spread betting used in the USA).
  • Decimal odds (expressed as a decimal, popular in Europe).
  • Fractional (expressed as a fraction, popular in the U.K.).
  • Hong Kong odds.

If you bet with moneyline odds, you will see that they show positive (+) and negative (-) numbers. Using the example from earlier, if the bookmaker gives you +180 odds for Miami and -200 for Dallas, it will show you what you can win and how much you need to wager.

If you bet on the favorite, the odds will show you the funds you need to wager in order to win $100. In this example, the sum is $200. And if you choose the underdog, the + symbol will show you the sum you will win for each $100 bet, which is $180 in our example game.

Also, it’s important to note that negative, as well as positive odds, will give you your wager back, including the winnings, if you predict the correct outcome.

Additionally, you don’t have to wager $100, but the sum is almost always used due to the fact that it’s a round number. Thus, you can calculate the prizes easily. The sportsbook will usually include a maximum and a minimum limit of money you can place on a bet.

If, for example, you bet $50 on Miami (+180), you will earn 90 if your bet is successful.

The Spread

You also need to pay attention to the spread, which is another betting type we’ve mentioned earlier.

Let’s say Philadelphia plays against New York. The plus/minus lines that cover the spread are Philly (+3) and New York (-3).

Since the favorite, New York, is -3, it will give points. That means players win only if New York wins the game outright by 4. But if New York finishes the match by 3 points scored, the bettor doesn’t lose or win.

In contrast, players win if the underdog, Miami, loses the game by 1–2 points. Additionally, players also win if the underdog wins in this example. If you’ve bet on the underdog, your wager will win if there is a tie.

What’s more, the money line numbers might not always be whole numbers. If they contain half points, the push or tie will not count.

More Details

Additionally, there many other betting types — some examples are over/under in which players can wager on the combined game score. For example, if Seattle at Austin has a total score of 45 ½ (both teams), you can bet on if the final score can be higher or lower. These are among some of the easiest bets you can make.

Furthermore, another thing to look out for is the vig. Essentially, it’s a fee taken by the sportsbook in case you use moneyline bets.

So How Do You Actually Place a Bet?

Well, the process is quite simple, but it varies a bit in land-based and virtual sportsbooks. When you see the odds and chose the bet type, you can simply go to the betting window in the live venue. Some bookies will give you betting papers and others will ask you and type in your reply into a computer. Then, you will get a betting slip that you have to return to the sportsbook in case you win. That’s how you can pick up your money.

Online, on the other hand, you have to register as a member of a particular sportsbook, type in all your details, and follow the instructions on the website or app. The process can vary depending on the betting site.

However, some essential things you need to pay attention to are the terms and conditions, i.e., the rules of the betting venue or site in question. You have to comply with them and pay attention to the vig.

Now It’s Time to Take Your Chances!

Our guide has explored some of the essentials of sports betting. As you have seen, there are some rules that you have to follow, but they are not difficult. If you get familiar with them, you will be able to know how to bet strategically, and you will have the opportunity to win some big rewards.

So take your chances, and we bet you’ll have tons of fun!

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