Casinos can have a lot of bright lights and moving parts. Sportsbooks display a myriad of numbers with plus and minus signs galore that can confuse the heck out of people. This all comes with betting real money. Available now for iOS and Android , the SharpSide app allows you to make free picks for a wide variety of sports and bets, track results, compete on leaderboards, and win great prizes. Get your feet wet, try out new strategies, and hone your skills with the free SharpSide sports betting app today.
A favorite is a team or competitor that oddsmakers expect to win, and it is often displayed with a minus sign in front of the odds. This is the team or competitor that is favored over the opposition, hence being called a favorite.
When betting a point spread , the favorite will often be laying or giving points to the opposition to make the wager evener. When wagering on the money line, the favorite will have a lesser return on the money that is bet. Opposite to a favorite, an underdog is the team or competitor oddsmakers expect to lose. Underdogs are often displayed with a plus sign in front of the odds. Underdogs operate in similar fashion to favorites when it comes to a point spread or a moneyline, just opposite.
When betting a point spread, the underdog will often be receiving extra points versus the opposition to make the wager evener. When wagering on the money line, the underdog will have a greater return on the money that is bet. A point spread is used to even a betting matchup between two sides. The favorite will be giving points to the other side, and the underdog will be receiving points. To win against the point spread, the favorite must overcome the number of points given to the underdog.
For the underdog to win against the point spread, the underdog can use the points given to overcome the opposition. Likewise, if the final score was in favor of the Celtics, the Celtics would lose a point-spread bet and the Lakers would win. Because the point spread is used to even the matchup, the odds you receive on a point-spread bet are much closer to even in terms of your return. For more on the point spread, check out our point spread betting page. Betting on the money line means you are betting on the two sides straight up, without the added or subtracted points that a point spread provides.
If the Dallas Cowboys played the New York Giants, you pick which team you would want to win and the odds factor in who is the favorite and who is the underdog. This shows us that the Cowboys are the favorite to win the game and the Giants are the underdog note the minus and plus signs, as mentioned before. This same game may be listed using a point spread, too, and that can help you determine where you want to make your bet. In a game, a total is the number of points scored.
Oddsmakers and sportsbooks will often release lines for the total amount of points scored between both teams in a game, and bettors can wager on if they think the total will be over or under the listed amount. Oddsmakers and sportsbooks can also put up totals for each side separately. 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. They are unique to the team, sport and league, and universal across most sportsbooks.
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. They are unique to the team, sport and league, and universal across most sportsbooks.
Much like stocks on Wall Street, the sports betting market is fluid. Lines can vary based on the sportsbook, because different books have different clienteles. As a result, one book may post the Cavs -8 while another has Having access to more than one sportsbook allows you to shop for the best line. Getting an extra half-point might not seem like a huge deal, but it adds up over the long haul and increases your chances of winning. Our live odds pages will automatically surface the best line for every game.
These are all a good thing to know, and it can allow you to maximize your winnings. Check it out for free here. Sports Betting. Best Books. Action Network Staff. Download App. Read now. Action's Preferred Sportsbook. Bet Now. BetSync book. Get refunded in free bets if it loses. Top Offers.
Bet Over 0 in Lakers-Nuggets. Follow Us On Social. It can also be intimidating, especially for beginners. Casinos can have a lot of bright lights and moving parts. Sportsbooks display a myriad of numbers with plus and minus signs galore that can confuse the heck out of people. This all comes with betting real money. Available now for iOS and Android , the SharpSide app allows you to make free picks for a wide variety of sports and bets, track results, compete on leaderboards, and win great prizes.
Get your feet wet, try out new strategies, and hone your skills with the free SharpSide sports betting app today. A favorite is a team or competitor that oddsmakers expect to win, and it is often displayed with a minus sign in front of the odds.
This is the team or competitor that is favored over the opposition, hence being called a favorite. When betting a point spread , the favorite will often be laying or giving points to the opposition to make the wager evener. When wagering on the money line, the favorite will have a lesser return on the money that is bet. Opposite to a favorite, an underdog is the team or competitor oddsmakers expect to lose.
Underdogs are often displayed with a plus sign in front of the odds. Underdogs operate in similar fashion to favorites when it comes to a point spread or a moneyline, just opposite. When betting a point spread, the underdog will often be receiving extra points versus the opposition to make the wager evener. When wagering on the money line, the underdog will have a greater return on the money that is bet. A point spread is used to even a betting matchup between two sides.
The favorite will be giving points to the other side, and the underdog will be receiving points. To win against the point spread, the favorite must overcome the number of points given to the underdog. For the underdog to win against the point spread, the underdog can use the points given to overcome the opposition.
Likewise, if the final score was in favor of the Celtics, the Celtics would lose a point-spread bet and the Lakers would win. Because the point spread is used to even the matchup, the odds you receive on a point-spread bet are much closer to even in terms of your return.
For more on the point spread, check out our point spread betting page. Betting on the money line means you are betting on the two sides straight up, without the added or subtracted points that a point spread provides. If the Dallas Cowboys played the New York Giants, you pick which team you would want to win and the odds factor in who is the favorite and who is the underdog. This shows us that the Cowboys are the favorite to win the game and the Giants are the underdog note the minus and plus signs, as mentioned before.
This same game may be listed using a point spread, too, and that can help you determine where you want to make your bet. In a game, a total is the number of points scored. Oddsmakers and sportsbooks will often release lines for the total amount of points scored between both teams in a game, and bettors can wager on if they think the total will be over or under the listed amount.
How about a How do you interpret American odds versus decimal and fractional lines? These are legitimate questions even for those who may have dipped their feet in the sports-betting pool before. After consuming this overview of how odds work throughout the sports gambling industry, though, you'll never have to pose any of these inquiries again.
This isn't your average betting-type explainer. But we also get into more granular, equally useful details, covering everything from parlay and future wagers to round-robin and arbitrage bets. Though moneyline wagers are the most fundamental of all wager types, they do present an element of nuance. You need to be able to distinguish between favorites and underdogs. You also should have the ability to spot a heavy favorite or long-shot underdog.
And most important of all, you must have a grasp of how much money you stand to make when working certain lines. This guide gets deep into the meaning of these lines while also providing a synopsis of how much money you can stand to make using point spreads. Some people have trouble remembering the differences between moneyline and point spread betting. We've taken the guesswork out of the equation by showing you how to choose.
Your job instead is to decide whether two teams will combine to exceed the over or fail to meet the under a predetermined final score. Futures are exactly what they sound like. These bets can be harder to hit, because you're wagering against fields that span anywhere between four and plus teams, but they can also be highly profitable.
Allow us to show you how by visiting the page linked above. Parlays mandate that every one of your predictions hit, otherwise you'll be left with a bad beat. We go into hyper detail about this topic, identifying the pros and cons depending on the wager types you're melding together. Prop betting continues to be an under-explored sector of the sports gambling world.
You needn't fear them. They're fun. Consider props a means to bet on the game within a game, mainly player and team accomplishments. This page breaks down everything for you, including strategies, to the point you'll be a props expert by the time you finish it.
There is no such thing as a foolproof betting strategy. We've put together a list of all the most popular gambling philosophies, outlining not only how they work, but also the situations in which they figure to be the most effective. Arbitrage betting is among the most popular strategies amongst long-time gamblers.
It covers everything you need to know about arbitrage, which entails identifying odds inefficiencies at separate sportsbooks and capitalizing on them by investing in both sides of the same game. It sounds weird on the surface, but it can work when implemented properly. We have explained why within our guide. The matched betting strategy is a lot easier to digest than arbitrage betting. Round robin bets should be more popular, but people tend to think they're overly complicated.
Just look at them as a series of mini parlays. Let's say there are three moneylines you wish to bet on. Rather than build a single parlay with all of them, you can choose to place a round robin bet, which would construct three different two-outcome combinations all for one lump sum that's spread evenly across them.
Still not sold? Check out the guide. You'll leave satisfied. Betting odds calculators are a godsend. Parlay odds calculators are musts. You won't be able to calculate your potential return just by line of sight. These wagers are combining a bunch of single-bet odds and folding them into one giant wager with a fatter possible payout.
Let an odds calculator do the work for you, so you can know just how much you're playing for. There are other benefits to this tool, as well—all of which are broken down within. Most people don't give a second thought to their betting slip. It has so many functions. The most obvious one: keeping track of your wagers as you browse your sportsbook.
That's great. And in some places where it is legal, there are certain rules regarding what you can and cannot place bets on. Now, since many sportsbooks are online and not situated in one physical location, these rules might be bendable for some. But you ultimately have to figure out whether or not betting is even remotely legal for you, and then decide whether or not you are comfortable with the idea from an ethical standpoint. There are some professional sports bettors out there, people who make a great deal of their income from this hobby alone.
Are you hoping to be one of them? Or are you just in it for the excitement? The answer to this question will likely determine how you go about betting in the first place. You have the option of putting forth very little effort. Those who are in it for the excitement will sometimes lose more than they can afford, whereas those who do not engage themselves in the process will make a bit of money but will not necessarily enjoy it. These next few steps are the building blocks you must put together to become a true sports bettor.
The first of the basics you will have to learn if you want to be a sports bettor is how to read the lines. The most important lines will be determined by the sport upon which you are betting. For instance, in baseball and hockey, most sports betting is done by the money lines. In basketball and football, most bets usually pertain to the point spreads. We will also tell you how to figure out implied win rates and lines no-juice lines.
Lines written in this fashion may seem counterintuitive to many beginners, largely because positive numbers actually indicate which team is expected to lose, whereas negative numbers signify that the team in question is favored by the sportsbook. As you can see, reading decimal lines can actually be faster than reading American lines once you understand the numbers. If you ever want to convert the lines from American to decimal or vice versa, the formula is rather simple.
If you are looking at a favored number, the equation is slightly similar but you reverse the position of the line. So rather than dividing into the line, you divide the negative line number into It actually comes out to 1.
You can also convert lines in the other direction. To convert the 2. Note that you will know when you are doing the conversion for an underdog, because it will always be greater than 2. When numbers are less than 2, you know that they are for favored teams.
In these cases, you want to subtract one from the decimal line and divide the number into Note that this is not actually the exact outcome of the equation, but it can be hard to get precise numbers when converting favored teams. You will usually have to approximate. An implied win rate is a percentage that gives you an idea of just how much the sportsbook has favored one team over the other.
This is the result of the juice that we mentioned earlier, which ensures that the sportsbooks will make a profit. For favored teams, forget that the line is negative. Treat it as a positive number, add it to , and divide that number into the value for the line. It is much easier to figure out implied win rates for decimal lines. All you have to do, whether you are looking at the underdog or the favored team, is divide the line into 1. So, for our example lines of 2.
If you use the approximation of 1. As we have said above, the juice is how sportsbooks ensure that they will profit from sports betting, which means that implied win rates are imperfect as long as juice is factored in. To figure out the no-juice lines, you will first have to follow the steps above to find the implied win rates.
So, using our examples of In other words,. To get the actual no-juice line, you multiply this number by , subtract their sum from , and divide the whole thing by the no-juice percentage. In other words, — [ x. Again, you will be adding the implied win rates, this time dividing them into the win rate for the favored team. This gives you. Then, figure out the revised money line by subtracting this number from 1, and then dividing that into the result of the no-juice percentage multiplied by This gives you x.
If you want to do this with decimal lines, you follow the same first step for each to find no-juice percentages. We have already given you these for our example numbers, at values of As you can see, the decimal lines are still pretty different, but the American lines are almost identical without juice.
This underscores the fact that sportsbooks tend to ensure their income through the money they charge on the juice for bets on favored teams. The following are some of the most common types of wagers. You will especially be betting on money lines if you prefer to bet on baseball or hockey.
In basketball and football, it is generally only common to bet on money lines if you are betting on the underdog, as money lines for each of those two sports tend to be rather high and charge a lot of juice on favored teams. When you bet on the money lines, literally all you are betting on is whether or not a particular team is going to win the game. You will also see money lines on other types of bets, as a means of telling you the payout for each one. These are not the most common type of wager, but they occur with relative frequency in all major sports.
All that matters is the total between them. So in a game between two teams in which the given total is , you might bet under if you expect a low-scoring game in which neither team clears points. You might also bet over if you expect both teams to score well over , or even if you just expect one team to score enough to clear the difference.
If, however, the above game results in a combined score of , the game will result in what is known as a push. This means that nobody wins, and all of the money is refunded. Sometimes, sportsbooks will try to prevent this from happening by setting totals numbers with half-points on the end. The point spread will always be the same number for each team, and again the positive number will denote which team is the underdog while the negative number indicates the favorites.
The money lines for each team, however, may differ slightly. Point spreads are the most common type of bet for basketball and football games. The way point spreads work is that the favored team has to win by more points than indicated by the spread, while the underdog has to either win the game or else simply lose by fewer points than indicated by the spread.
Since there are technically more outcomes that will allow the underdog to beat the spread, you will sometimes see more juice charged on the underdog when you are betting on point spreads. A sportsbook with these odds is expecting Golden State to win, but they are slightly favoring the Cavs to beat the spread and are therefore collecting more juice on those bets. Also note in the above example that the point spread is given a half-point, meaning that Cleveland must lose by 12 or less or else win the game , while the Warriors have to win by 13 or more.
A push in regards to point spreads is when the difference between the two scores is exactly the same number as the number listed for the point spread, similar to its definition in totals play. It is not too difficult to understand why many sportsbooks prefer to use half-points to prevent this from happening. Parlays are similar to betting point spreads, but in this case you are betting on more than one game at the same time. The first thing you need to know is that they are incredibly risky, since losing any one of the games that you add to your parlay results in a loss on the whole thing.
The reason that some people like to bet parlays is that the odds appear to be greater. The money line for a parlay will usually be determined by taking each of the decimal lines for the teams that you have wagered on, multiplying them by one another, and converting them to the appropriate money line. However, they do not always work this way, and each sportsbook may vary in how they arrive at their given payout. Many, for instance, will ignore the money lines for each team in the parlay and simply set their odds according to how many teams are included.
Also note that many sportsbooks will offer teasers , parlays in which the spreads have been altered to make them easier to beat. However, the payout on such bets is usually far less than it would be for a standard parlay, and the odds of winning every bet included in the parlay are still rather low. There are other bets that we have not covered in detail, such as futures , prop bets , and more. However, they may simply lead up to smaller championships, usually with a slightly smaller payout.
Proposition bets, or prop bets, are generally bets on specific stats. There is an immense variation in which prop bets might be offered at various sportsbooks. These bets are not necessarily too common for beginners, although they can certainly be fun in moderation. The odds of winning prop bets will depend upon the nature of the prop bets themselves, so be sure not to overdo them and only make use of prop bets at your utmost discretion.
This covers most major types of bets, and should certainly get you through the basics of what you need to know. Any information you are looking for that is not covered by the above regarding various types of wagers will likely fall far outside the purview of a beginners guide to sports betting such as this one. But who are the people setting these lines in the first place? More importantly, just how do they operate? Well, usually, sportsbooks will open their lines fairly early.
Things start to change, however, as more and more bettors make their plays. As we have mentioned before, the oddsmakers have to make sure that approximately equal numbers of bettors are betting on each side of the line if they want to make sure that they make a solid profit from the juice. As bettors make their plays at the sportsbooks, the bookmakers look to see which side is getting more bets and adjust the lines to try and lure more bettors into betting on the side that has been neglected by comparison.
Once the sportsbooks begin to achieve a balance between bets on each sides of the lines, they will likely start to raise the betting limits. Of course, not every sportsbook will follow this exact same strategy. Some sportsbooks might not alter their lines too much, while some may try to influence bets to lean toward one side rather than trying to strike a balance.
It all depends upon the goals of the bookmakers and how they think they are likely to make more money. Some will also engage in a practice called shading, which is basically inflating the value of the team they expect to be more popular with bettors.
There are a lot of chalk players out there, bettors who will only wager on teams that are favored by the sportsbooks. These types of bettors make it easy for sportsbooks to shade their lines, because they know that these players will pay the extra juice for the promise of reduced winnings, rather than taking a chance on the underdog.
It should be clear by now that the sportsbooks have it figured out in terms of how they can be most profitable. Your profits may start small, but will grow into something bigger over time. We already told you about chalk players in the section above, and you might notice that the way we described them kind of made them sound like fodder for the sportsbooks.
Now, do you think that they would have sounded that way if they were constantly just rolling in the dough? There is no such thing as a set winner, and you may notice that the decimal lines we gave you when we were looking at no-juice lines in the above sections were much closer than the decimal lines we gave before factoring out the vigorish. Some sites that specialize in giving advice to those with an interest in sports betting have suggested tracking your plays for as much as a full year before deciding whether or not you think you have the edge that it takes to be a profitable sports bettor.
To be a truly profitable sports bettor, you have to check a few things when tracking your picks. First of all, you want to see how your picks fare in comparison to the opening lines set by the sportsbooks, not just the closing lines.
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