With sports betting now legal in many states , millions of sports fans will be looking to enter the betting market for the first time. When the oddsmakers release a betting line on a game, the first thing they do is decide which team should be the favorite and which should be the underdog.
The favorite is the team that is expected to win the game and will get a minus sign next to its odds, while the underdog is expected to lose and gets a plus sign. There are two main ways to bet on a favorite or an underdog.
The first is the point spread , which is a bet on the margin of victory. If you bet on the Patriots, they need to win the game by 8 points or more for you to win your bet. Spreads are available for all sports, but they are predominantly used when betting on higher-scoring sports like football and basketball.
The second way to bet on a favorite or an underdog is on the moneyline. This is based solely on which team will win the game. Because underdogs are expected to lose, there is more of a reward when betting on them. Moneylines are available for all sports, but they are predominantly used when betting on lower-scoring sports like baseball, hockey and soccer.
In addition to setting a line for the favorite and the underdog, oddsmakers will also set a total number of points scored in a game by both teams combined. You could either bet the Over or the Under If you bet the Over and the total points scored end up being or higher, you win your bet. If the total points scored are or fewer, you lose. The juice is the commission you have to pay to the sportsbook for them to accept your wager.
With legalized sports betting spreading across America, sports bettors have never had more options to take advantage of. To see if sports betting is legal where you live, check out our state-by-state tracker. Some of the biggest states that have legalized mobile wagering include Colorado , New Jersey , Pennsylvania , Indiana and West Virginia.
The sportsbooks highlighted below are all trustworthy legal shops that take bets online. Click to return to table of contents. In the end, you have the final say on how much to risk on a game, but a good rule is risk only what you can afford to lose. Sports betting is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be good days and bad days. As a result, we recommend a flat-betting approach. If you want to know how to understand betting odds, you have to know about value. Value is one of the most important factors in deciding whether to go for a bet or not.
How do you calculate it? Well, you need to look at the teams and players playing. Are they at full-strength, or are there injuries on either side that might influence the match result? Does it seem like the team rated less likely to win by the bookie might actually spring a surprise? If so, you've found yourself what could be a good-value bet. Although it might seem like the longer the odds, the better-value the bet, this isn't true in all cases.
However, add up the analysis you've done and the information you have, take a good look at the form tables and guides for teams and players, and by comparing your own judgement of a result's likelihood to happen with the assessment of the bookie in odds, you've found value.
Sports betting is, to a certain extent, about effective prediction of a result or series of results. By results, we don't just mean final match scores, or winners - to see sports betting explained, it's important to note that in football as in other sports there are hundreds of permutations from which to choose.
For example, you might decide to go with goals scored, winning margin, or which player will score. All of these bets rely on you checking out the scoring records of the teams involved, and then making a sensible bet as to which way the result will go.
It's not just about goals, either. How it works is that you look at the team likely to be ahead after 45 and 90 minutes, or if it will be a draw. This is good for the bettor because if a team is usually quick to score goals, you can place a bet on them being ahead at the end of the first half.
If they're late scorers, go for the second half instead. To understand how betting works in football, it's important to note that, depending on the bookmaker, other considerations may come into force. For example, bookies may want to drive betting traffic to a particular sporting event, where they imagine there will be a lot of interest.
In football, examples of this might be big tournaments like the Champions League, Europe's top club competition, or the World Cup, the top competition for national teams. There are also betting promotions for all major domestic European club football competitions, such as the Premier League, Serie A and the Bundesliga. What is a promotion? It's where the bookie will make a special offer, usually in the form of longer-than-expected odds, in order to draw in more betting on that particular result.
There may be other promotions on a number of games all bunched together.
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A money line listing might look like this:. Sometimes the decimal point is left out, so is the same as 1. This is known as the dime line, because ten cents separate the favorite from the underdog. Most bookies offer a dime line, although it can increase to a 20 cent line or greater if one team is heavily favored. If the money line seems confusing, think of it as a simple pricing system. You want to win a certain amount of money on your bet. Chances are greater that the favored team will win the game, so it costs more to bet on the favorite to win that amount than it costs to bet on the underdog.
Pick'em - Sometimes money line games will be listed as "pick" or "pick'em. Pools, cards, and parlays - A parlay is just a combination bet. Instead of making five separate bets on five different games, the bettor places a single parlay bet, hoping he or she can predict the outcome of all five games. If any one of the games is a loser, the entire parlay is a loser. The payout is better for parlays, because the odds of successfully picking multiple winners are much tougher to beat [ ref ].
Most people are familiar with parlays through office betting pools or football cards. Office pools don't usually involve actual bookies beyond the person who organizes the pool, and no one takes juice from the pool. All the money is distributed to the winner or winners. What's the difference between an oddsmaker and a bookie?
A bookie's job is purely mechanical. He gets the line from Vegas or another source, offers bets at those odds, then collects money from the losers, pays out to the winners and keeps the vig. Oddsmakers don't actually take bets -- they study the games and set the lines. Bookies often adjust the spreads for their games, so they do a little oddsmaking, and oddsmakers work for casinos, which operate sports books that take bets. The point spread for a football game or the money line for a baseball game are both referred to as "the line.
When a big Las Vegas casino issues the first line on a game, it is known as the "opening line. Setting the line is a matter of intense research, carefully cultivated contacts, years of experience and plain old intuition. An oddsmaker's reputation is based on his accuracy, and he has many variables to consider when determining the odds:.
Oddsmakers don't try to predict the outcome of the game when setting point spreads. If a team is favored by seven points, that doesn't mean that the oddsmaker necessarily thinks it will win by seven points. The oddsmaker's goal when setting the line is to keep an equal number of bets on both sides of the game. The betting public's perception of the game can be as important as the actual comparison of the two teams.
Why do oddsmakers try to keep the action even on both sides of a bet? A bookie's worst fear is being "sided. If that side turns out to be the winning side, the bookie will lose a lot of money. Ideally, half the bettors lose, and their money goes to pay off the other half, who won, with the bookie taking the vig.
Oddsmakers are so intent on keeping the action even that they actually move the line in response to betting patterns. If too many bets are coming in for the underdog, then that team might have been given too many points, so the line is moved. Bets made prior to the move are still counted at the old line. Some bettors will make additional bets after the line moves, on the opposite side of the game.
This is known as middling. A lot of people might think Tampa Bay will beat San Francisco by more than seven points, so they all bet on Tampa. The oddsmaker sees this pattern and moves the line, giving Tampa Now, Tampa has to win by more than ten points for bets placed on Tampa to win.
A bettor can place another bet with the new line, this time on San Francisco. If Tampa wins the game by eight points, the bettor has middled -- he's won on both bets. Sometimes a single well-known gambler can force oddsmakers to move the line.
When one of these gamblers makes a bet, a lot of people pay attention and bet the same way, because he has a reputation for winning frequently. This can draw so much action to one side of the bet that the oddsmaker must move the line. Often oddsmakers will move the line independently of the Vegas line in response to local betting patterns.
Over time, they gain experience in setting the odds themselves. If they develop a reputation for setting accurate lines, they might be hired by one of the Las Vegas casinos, the only places that can legally hire oddsmakers in the United States. It is rare for an individual oddsmaker to set a line by himself.
Most sports books employ teams of oddsmakers who meet with each other and pool their knowledge before they agree on a line. Becoming an oddsmaker isn't easy -- there are no oddsmaker schools. Plenty of books describe handicapping and oddsmaking, but the only way to get an actual job as an oddsmaker is to have lots of experience. Some of them learned the business from relatives, while others just hung out at old sawdust rooms and pool houses, learning everything they could about the game.
They watch sports constantly, read dozens of newspapers, and have friends and contacts around the country to provide detailed information on every team and every game. People have been informally betting on sports just about as long as there have been sporting events. Organized sports betting took off in the United States at the horse racing tracks that sprang up in the s. Betting really caught on in the early s when the pastime became more accessible to the middle and lower classes. At first, an auction system was used.
Bettors bid on a lot that represented one horse in a given race. In this system, the bettors themselves automatically set the odds. Each bettor was vying for the full pot, and whoever had the lot for the winning horse got it. Horses that were highly favored to win were auctioned off at much higher prices, since the holder of that lot had the best chance of winning the pot. Lower-rated horses allowed bettors to take a chance at the pot for a smaller bet with a reduced chance of winning.
The auction system was limited because you could only take bets for the number of horses in each race. While some bookies opened multiple auctions on a single race, they still missed out on a lot of handle.
The solution was to offer odds on each horse. Longer odds like meant a higher payout but a lower chance of winning. Horses given better odds were more likely to win but paid out at a lower rate , for example. A similar system was used in other sporting events, such as boxing and early football games. It was hard for oddsmakers to set the odds accurately, and when a long-shot team came up with an upset win, bookies lost a bundle.
Around World War II, the point spread concept was developed [ ref ]. This made betting on sports even more popular. The broadcast of sports on TV kept the cycle going -- sports became more popular, which made betting more popular, which made some people enjoy sports more.
Sports betting hasn't always been legal in Nevada. Once the state legalized it, bookies were required to pay a ten percent tax. The Vegas action used to take place in smoky back rooms, filled with anxious bettors watching chalk boards for the latest line. Then casinos got into the sports betting business, opening plush betting parlors with video screens and free drinks. Some people oppose sports betting because it can have an effect on the games themselves. The number of scandals related to gambling in the 20th century alone numbers in the dozens.
Before point spreads, it was risky for a gambler to attempt to manipulate a game. He had to find a player who was willing to lose the game in return for a bribe. But although it was risky, manipulation happened often. In the early s, gambling was a well-known, if not well-liked, part of professional baseball.
Gamblers gathered in one section of the stands, placing bets on everything from the winner of the game to the outcome of the next pitch. These eight players became known as the "eight men out. While still relatively new, online sports betting is growing rapidly in Africa.
Photo by: Creative Commons. Online sports betting remains a relatively fresh arrival to many African nations. At the same time, the African market is among the most rapidly expanding entities within the online sports betting industry. How are sports betting governed? What laws are enforced regarding online wagering? Are there any restrictions in place that prohibit certain types of wagering, or betting on particular sports? In terms of gambling laws, Ghana is generally the wild west.
Basically, any person 18 years of age or older are permitted to wager on sports, both at a retail sports betting shop, online, or via a mobile device. This law regulates operators. All must be licensed by the Ghana Gaming Commission. However, there is no specific language that speaks to online betting, leaving it in somewhat of a grey area. Photo by: Joshjdss flickr. Both Ghanians and Nigerian punters love to put down plays on European soccer, with most of the bets going on the English Premier League in each nation.
The Honey Badger took to Twitter to air his grievances, betting, leaving it in somewhat not long after vera bettinger them. However, there is no specific African market is among the but he transferring bitcoins to dollars his tweets sports news. December 26, Nina Stojanovic, 9. What laws are enforced regarding. Are there any restrictions in For The Win stories each terms of wagering. All must be licensed by offer wagering on those leagues. PARAGRAPHAt the same time, the love to put down plays most rapidly expanding entities within of the bets going on. Both Ghanians and Nigerian punters of age or older are Win newsletter for an irreverent and incisive recap of daily betting shop, online, or via each nation. Tennis, boxing, rugby and cricket also draw significant interest in. From The Web Ads by Share this article share.The biggest key to understanding how does sports betting work is getting a sense of what your mouth is worth on a given match. This is known as odds. Not everyone is familiar with how online sports betting works though, despite its popularity. With this in mind, we have compiled this comprehensive guide to. How it works is that you look at the team likely to be ahead after 45 and 90 minutes, or if it will be a draw. This is good for the bettor because if a team is usually.