Whether you’re new to the world of sports betting or a seasoned pro, understanding how wagering works can help you make more informed decisions and get better odds. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the basics of sports betting, the different types of bets, the odds involved, and some tips for winning big.
To better answer the question “How does sports betting work?“, we’ll dig deeper into the nitty-gritty of placing a bet. So whether you’re looking to fill in your first betting slip or improve your existing strategies, read on to learn more about the ins and outs of sports betting.
Betting on Sports: The Basics
Sports betting is the process of placing a bet on the outcome of a sporting event. It can be done through a brick-and-mortar bookmaker or an online sportsbook and can involve betting on individual games or on the results of entire tournaments or leagues. Sports betting can be a fun and exciting way to add an extra dimension to your favorite sports or even fantasy sports teams. On top of that, with more and more US states legalizing sports betting, it can be a lucrative way to make some money if you know what you’re doing.
But what is sports betting without an adrenaline boost? When you place a bet, you’re essentially making a risky prediction about what will happen during the event. Of course, different types of bets involve different levels of risk and reward, which is why it’s important to consider your options carefully and weigh up all the factors that could affect the outcome of your bets. Carefully calculate the odds, assess the different types of bets available, and determine the amount you’re willing and able to risk before you start.
Favorites vs. Underdogs
Before we delve deeper into explaining sports betting types, it’s crucial to understand the concept of favorites and underdogs. A favorite is a team or player that is expected to win a particular sporting event, while an underdog is expected to lose. The odds of winning a bet on a favorite will therefore be lower than the odds of winning a bet on an underdog, since there is less risk associated with placing a bet on the favorite.
Some factors that can influence whether a team or player will be considered a favorite or an underdog include overall performance, recent losses or wins, historical performance in similar situations, and home-field advantage. Any sports betting tutorial will also advise you to take into consideration any other bets that have been placed on the same event, as this can impact the odds and payouts associated with your bet.
How Do Odds Work in Sports Betting?
The first thing to understand is the odds. The odds represent the probability of an event occurring and are usually expressed as a fraction or decimal. For example, if the odds of an event occurring are 2/1, this means that for every $1 you bet, you will receive $2 back if the event occurs. The higher the odds, the less likely the event is to happen, and vice-versa.
There are all sorts of odds when it comes to sports betting. Decimal odds are the most common, but you might also see American or fractional odds. So, how do sports betting odds work?
Decimal odds are the easiest to understand – they represent the amount of money you’ll get back for every dollar you bet, including your original stake. So, if the decimal odds are 3.00 and you bet $100, you will get $300 back (your original $100 plus $200 profit). Decimal odds are popular in Europe, Australia and Canada.
American odds (also referred to as Moneyline Odds) can be positive or negative and are usually written as a whole number preceded by a plus or minus sign. A positive number indicates how much profit you would make on a $100 bet, while a negative number means how much you would need to bet to win $100.
So, placing bets on sports using the American odds goes like this: the odds are +150, then you would need to bet $100 to win $150. Conversely, if the odds are -150, you would need to bet $150 to win $100. American odds are popular in the United States.
Fractional odds focus on how much profit you’ll make in relation to your original stake. So, if the fractional odds are 2/1 (pronounced “2-to-1”) and you bet $100, you’ll get $200 back if you win (your original stake plus 100% profit). Fractional odds are standard in the UK.
|British odds||European odds||American odds|
|Way of representation||In fractions||In decimals||In whole numbers with minus or plus|
|Winning||$1,100 ($1,000+your wager)||$1,000||1. $200 (winning $100 + wager $100)
2. $400 (winning $100 + wager $300)
Point Spread Betting Odds
The point spread is one of the two most common numbers you may see on the betting sites. The money won is decided by the Moneyline odds that usually stand next to the point spread. However, the point spread allows you more mobility than just deciding on the winner or loser.
But what is the point spread? A simple point spread sports betting odds explanation is that it is a number that shows the expected difference in points.
If the point spread is -1.5 for Team A and +1.5 for Team B, Team A is expected to win by at least 1.5 points.
To understand how to win at sports betting with a point spread, let’s look at an example. With the odds of -1.5 for Team A and +1.5 for Team B, the person that bets on Team B wins the money if team B either wins or loses by less than 1.5 points.
The person that places a bet on Team A will win if Team A wins with more than 1.5 points. If the teams win or lose by exactly 1.5 points, the bet is void, and the wager gets returned.
Parlay Betting Odds
This type of betting allows you to bet on different games and different sports with just one ticket. How sports odds work in parlay betting is that if you bet on 5 teams and all of them win, your ticket passes, and you win money.
The advantage of this ticket is that it earns you more money for the same wager.
Calculating parlay odds
The problem with parlay tickets is that they are often represented in decimals (European odds), so the conversion from the American system is necessary.
|American odds||Decimal odds|
|-130 ($130 wager + $100 earning = $230 total winnings)||Total winnings/wager=decimal odd
The first step to learning how to win sports betting parlays is to calculate the decimal odds for each item on your parlay ticket. If your ticket has a -130 wager for each item, your decimal odd for the whole ticket is 5,538006 (decimal odds multiplied with each other)
1.769231*1.769231*1.769231 = 5.538006
Your decimal odds multiplied with your wager give you the total winning of your bet. 5.538006*130=719.94078. This means that for $130 with a triple parlay ticket, you earn almost $720 as opposed to $100 for a single wager.
If this parley conversion sports odds explanation seems too complicated or exhausting, some odds calculators can help you.
Total or Over/Under Betting Odds
Over/under odds represent another type of betting that allows you more freedom than straight Moneyline bets. In over/under, you are given points for the complete game. You have an option to choose either over or under.
To get a gist on how to win at sports betting with over/under odds, let’s look at the example.
50.5 OVER -110
50.5 UNDER -115
If the game has 51 points or more, the person that wagered “over” wins, while the person who wagered “under” wins if the match has 50 or fewer points.
In the case that the total odds are an even number, the push (returning all wagers) may also happen if the number of points is equal to the total odds number.
What is a sportsbook without teaser bets to boost the adrenaline? Teasers involve placing bets on multiple games simultaneously and adjusting the point spread to give yourself more favourable odds. For example, if you’re betting on both a football game and a basketball game, you might place a teaser that adjusts the point spreads in both games to increase your odds of winning.
Teaser bets are typically made on multiple games and can involve both point spreads and totals. While they give the bettor juicy odds, they also come with increased risk because all of the bets must be successful for the bettor to win.
Finally, here’s how betting on sports works when savvy punters are involved. That’s where round robins come in. This betting type is similar to parlays but involves placing multiple bets on different outcomes within a single event. For example, you might bet on the winner of each quarter or half of a football match rather than betting on the overall winner of the event. Alternatively, a bettor might place four separate bets on four different horses in a race. If any of the horses wins, the bettor will win.
Typically, round robins are set up as a series of nested parlays, with each leg of the bet affecting the others and potentially increasing payout amounts for correct predictions. Due to their complex nature and significant risk exposure, round robins are typically the domain of more advanced bettors.
Odds in Different Sports
Even though the odds mentioned before are considered to be universal, each sport follows its own rules. How does sports betting work in different sports? — is the question answered in this part.
NFL Betting Odds Explained
Football is America’s favorite sport, which is why many need football betting odds explained if they are just starting out. It is also the most popular sport to bet on, with 70% of Americans betting on football at least once in their lifetime.
So, it is not unusual for the question — how do odds work in football? — to arise when talking about betting.
To better understand NFL sports betting odds, it is crucial to understand that there are a few types used in NFL:
- Traditional Moneyline odds, meaning that you bet only on the team that will win the game.
- Point spread odds, which give you the option to bet on the points the teams will have (more or less than the given number) — the most popular type of betting in sports odds history in the US.
- Totals or over/under, where you have to bet on the total number of points in a game. The number of points is presented as a number. For example, 45, and you have the option to choose whether the final number of points will be over or under 45.
In the NFL, you can bet on individual games or the outcome of the whole season. The most popular types of odds concerning the NFL are the Superbowl gambling odds, which is not a surprise since Superbowl is the most-watched sports event in the US.
Baseball Betting Odds Explained
Moneyline and total odds are a part of both baseball and the NFL sports betting odds. But unlike the NFL, baseball doesn’t have traditional point spread odds. The run line is something similar, but it is specific to baseball.
The run line has two options, like point spread, but instead of points, it deals with runs. For example, the odds can show -2.5 runs +2.5 runs.
To understand how to win at sports betting with the run line, you need to know the following — if you bet on the favorite with -2.5 odds and they win with more than 3 runs, you win. If you bet on the underdog, and they win or lose with no more than 2 runs, your bet passes.
Like with the NFL, it is possible to bet on just one game, more games, or the season finale (so-called future odds).
MMA and UFC Betting Odds Explained
“How do betting odds work in the UFC?” and “how do betting odds work in MMA?” are the questions that often arise when talking about betting odds.
UFC and MMA bets normally use Moneyline odds. You can bet on the winner of the match, or you can also choose the way the match will end — by knockout, submission, or decision.
If you choose the winner and the knockout ending, and that happens, your ticket passes. Understanding how to read sports odds and their UFC and MMA variations is essential because these odds are likely to bring you more money.
Besides these odds, there are also round odds. These odds are similar to total odds, but instead of total points, you bet on the total rounds they will have.
If you need boxing betting odds explained, it’s enough to apply everything you learned for MMA and UFC.
Soccer Betting Odds Explained
Most popular soccer clubs come from Europe. Thus, most of the odds you can see connected to it are presented in either fractional or decimal odds. However, most sites allow you to see all the odds in the Moneyline style, as well.
Unlike American football odds, where you can have just a winner and loser, soccer can also have a draw.
In Moneyline odds, you may have two options where you only get – odd for the favorite and + odd for the underdog. If the team you betted on wins, you win, and if it’s a draw, you get a refund. Moneyline can also have three options with two odds for the teams and one with the draw.
Other options are point spreads — for the whole game or half a game, totals (over/under), and parlays.
Horse Racing Betting Odds Explained
Horse racing odds are rarely shown in the American system. British or fractional system is the way to go in horse racing. Fractional odds show how much you win on the left side with your wager on the right side.
Fractional sports betting odds explained in an approachable way are pretty simple to understand with some practice.
Now, horse betting odds explained in an example. If you see an odd like 8/1, this means that for each $1 you wager, you get 8 times more. If you bet the most standard bet of $100, you will get $800 + the $100 you wagered.
The odds change depending on the type of bet you choose. For a single bet where you guess just the winning horse, the odds are the smallest.
If you decide on exacta (first two horses), trifecta (first three horses), or superfecta (first four horses), the odds become larger, but the possibility becomes smaller.
Among these, trifecta bets statistically bring the most money with the least risk.
Live Sports Betting
How does a sportsbook work in real time? Live sports betting is a form of gambling that allows you to bet on the outcome of a sporting event as it is happening. This type of wagering can be fascinating, as it will enable you to place bets on real-time action and watch the results unfold before your eyes.
Unlike traditional sports betting, which takes place before a game begins, in-play betting gives bettors the option to adjust their wagers and even take advantage of changing odds as the action unfolds. This makes in-play betting exciting and fast-paced, allowing for more opportunities for engagement and profit and letting viewers feel more involved in the action on the field.
What is a sports bookie without a diverse selection of live sports markets and esports betting? At most venues, live betting is available for a wide variety of popular sporting events, including football, basketball, baseball, hockey, golf, and tennis. And thanks to advances in technology and the growth of online betting sites, in-play betting has become increasingly popular over the past few years.
How to Get Started with Sports Betting
Now that you’re familiar with the ins and outs of everyone’s favorite pastime, it’s time to walk you through the steps you need to take towards your first wager. You’ll need to find a reputable sportsbook that accepts bets on your chosen sport. Once you’ve registered an account, it’s time to learn about different bet types at your disposal.
There are many different types of bets that you can place, each with its own set of odds and risk/reward profiles. These include moneylines, where you are only required to make one prediction about the outcome of an event, and parlays, where you need to predict multiple outcomes in order to win your bet.
Once you pick the sport and the bet type, the next step is to choose the side you want to bet on. This is where your research comes in handy, as you’ll need to understand the odds of each outcome and the different factors that can affect the result of the event. Sports betting operators are also an important factor to consider.
Finally, you’ll need to place your bet and track its progress over the course of the event. This may involve adjusting your wager or making follow-up bets based on how the event unfolds. With proper research and attention to detail, you can win big from sports betting!
With all this information in tow, it should be easier for you to journey into the betting world.
To better understand sports betting and start winning big, the only thing left for you to do is get some practice and have a little bit of good luck.
Why do I need to understand sports betting odds?
Understanding how sports odds work is important because they give you all the information you need.
The odds show you the amount of money you need to wager and how much you will get if you win. When you know how to read sports odds, you also know who the favorite is and the probability of the teams winning or losing.
Who sets the odds for sports betting?
Linemakers or odd compilers set the odds for sports betting. Linemakers or odd compilers are people employed by the bookkeepers to calculate all the variables concerning the event and the money expected to be wagered on a match.
The odd compilers might have to change some odds last minute if many people bet on only one team/competitor.
What is the easiest sport to bet on?
Soccer is the easiest sport to bet on, according to statistics. There are a small number of points in each game. Clubs with international superstars such as Messi and Ronaldo, who can always be expected to score a goal, are usually a safe bet.
Even for beginners, betting on soccer can be pretty safe and easy if you are not looking for big profits. Soccer betting can also be profitable, but a lot of knowledge and research needs to go into it.
What is the biggest sports bet ever?
The biggest known sports bet win was $1.2M. James Adducci placed an $85K wager on Tiger Woods’ Masters in 2019 and won.
However, the biggest wager ever placed was $5.9 million. This bet was placed by none other than Floyd Mayweather — a famous boxing star. He betted on the win of the Miami Heats in 2013 and won around $590,000.
To learn how do betting odds work in boxing, check out our boxing section above.
What are the odds of winning a sports bet?
Odds for a professional to win a sports bet go between 53% and 60%, but they don’t stay above 55% for long. The odds of winning a sports bet for others go around 50%.
Moreover, the main difference between professionals and rookies is in the number of bets they place per day and the money they earn.
What do odds of +200 mean?
When odds are expressed with a + or a – followed by a number, they are American moneyline odds: +200 signifies the amount a bettor could win if wagering $100. If the bet works out, the player will receive a total payout of $300 ($200 net profit + $100 initial stake).
What is minus 1.5 in betting?
What is sports betting and how does it work are questions we’ve already answered. But what does it mean in real life? For example, minus 1.5 in betting is when you place a bet that the total number of points scored in a game will be higher than the number specified, but by less than 1.5 points. This gives you more favorable odds and increases your chances of winning the bet.
In football, the bettor will win if the team they backed wins the match with a difference of two or more goals. On the contrary, if the chosen team wins by just one goal or fails to win at all, the bet is considered a loss.
How do you play sports betting?
How does sports betting work? First, you’ll first need to find a reputable online sportsbook or bookmaker where you can place your bets. Once you’ve registered an account with the sportsbook, you’ll typically be able to browse the range of betting options and place your wager. You may also need to make follow-up bets or adjust your wager based on how the event unfolds, so it’s important to pay close attention to all relevant details and stay up-to-date on any changes or developments.