How Sports Betting Works

Wagering is almost as old as man. You can find places in the Bible where it talks about casting lots, which is a form of gambling.

No one knows for sure when the first bet was made on a sporting event, but the odds are that it was made soon after sports were invented.

If you want to learn how sports betting works and how to get started placing bets you’ve come to the right place.

1 – What Is Sports Betting?

Sports betting is what it sounds like. You place a bet on a sporting event and win a set amount of money if the team or player you bet on wins. If the team or player you bet on doesn’t win you lose your bet.

You can place a wide range of different bets and find many different places to bet and ways to make the bets.

Placing bets on sports is a way for some people to make money and a way for many to enjoy watching a contest more than if they didn’t have money riding on the outcome. Only a few people are able to make money in the long run betting on sports, but millions of people bet on events every year.

According to the Daily Mail, the global sports betting market may be as high as three trillion a year.

The article states that the majority of that amount is made in illegal ways. You’ll learn more about legal and illegal betting later on this page. The important thing to do is learn if what you want to do is legal or illegal so you stay out of trouble.

2 – Plus and Minus Lines

Plus and minus line bets are the most common wagers in sports betting. This is also called spread betting.

Most contests are listed with a favorite and an underdog. The favorite gives points or runs and the underdog receives points or runs.

Here’s an example:

In this game, Miami is playing at Dallas and Dallas is the favorite and Miami is the underdog. The home team is usually listed second.

If you bet on Dallas you give 3 points. This means that for you to win Dallas has to win by 4 or more points.

If you bet on Miami you get 3 points. This means you win if Miami wins the game outright or if they lose by 1 or 2 points. You also win if the game ends in a tie.

If Dallas wins by exactly 3 points you don’t win or lose.

Lines aren’t always whole numbers. Half points are often part of a plus or minus line wager. This makes a tie or push impossible.

Here’s an example:

In this example, if you bet on Philadelphia you win the bet if they win the game outright or lose by 4 or fewer points.

When you bet on New York they have to win by at least 5 points for you to win.

3 – Money Lines

Money lines are a type of bet where you bet on who you think is going to win the contest. On a money line bet you don’t need to worry about how many runs or points a team wins by.

The money line is still listed with a plus or minus number, but they signify how much you need to bet or can win.

Favorites are listed with a minus number and underdogs are listed with a positive number. At first, it can be confusing to understand how to read money lines but once you get the hang of it, you’ll quickly be able to see the possible bets.

On a money line for a favorite with a negative number it means you have to bet this much to win 100.

Here’s an example:

  • Baltimore (-200)

This means that you have to risk 200 for the chance to win 100.

On a money line with a positive number for an underdog, the number is the amount you win if you bet 100.

Here’s an example:

  • San Diego (+180)

This means that if you bet 100 you win 180 when San Diego wins.

In evenly matched games or contests you might see a money line with both teams at – 105 or – 110. This means you can bet on either team by betting 105 to win 100 or betting 110 to win 100.

You don’t have to bet 100 on the plus lines or the total amount on the minus lines. You can bet any amount between the minimum and maximum amount the sports book will accept. The numbers are adjusted to fit your wager.

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