Online Sports Betting

Interested in online sports betting? That’s awesome. We share something in common! Betting on sports is already a popular pastime for many. Interest will only continue to grow as more and more states jump into the fray and stop letting Las Vegas have all of the fun.

If you’re new to online sports betting and ready to get started, you’ll find that getting started is really a breeze. Before officially taking the leap, it’s always a good idea to have an idea of where you’ll be landing.

We’ll help you get figure that out. Before doing that, let’s take a look at where things stand in the world of online sports betting.

History of Online Sports Betting

It wasn’t that long ago that betting on sports was relegated to Vegas, offshore sportsbooks, and enterprising bookmakers who operated under the radar. Fast forward to 2018, and the Supreme Court of the United States finally weighed in on the topic.

Rather than bore you with the details, here’s the bottom line. The state of New Jersey didn’t like that the folks in Vegas had all of the fun and wanted to make sports gambling legal. That led to a suit which dragged out for awhile.

In 2017, the case made its way to the highest court in the land. The following year, the ruling finally dropped. The court sided with NJ and agreed that they should be allowed to play reindeer games as well. That led to a flurry of action.   

Where Things Stand Today with Online Sports Betting

States including New Jersey, Delaware, and West Virginia quickly threw their hats into the ring. Sports betting was offered in these states soon thereafter, both in person and online.

Mississippi, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island would soon follow with laws of their own. Only in-person bets are available in some locales with mobile betting expected to follow, while others gave the green light to online betting right away.

What the Future Holds for Online Sports Betting

Beyond the above seven states, a whopping 35 more - plus the District of Columbia - are at least in the talking stages of legalizing sports betting. Some are further along than others, but this train has left the station.

States want a piece of the revenue that sports betting generates, and very few of them are acting like sticks in the mud. It’ll be awhile before all states are on board, but the momentum seems to be trending in that direction.

Dare we say that the sky’s the limit? 

We’ll patiently wait and see. In the meantime, let’s get to the fun stuff.

How to Bet on Sports

Ok, so you’ve taken the time to figure out what’s what in your neck of the woods. As best as you can tell, law enforcement won’t be breaking down your door if you place a bet online.

So now what? For starters, you need to make sure you have the basics down. Let’s say that there’s a game you’re interested in having a little action on. In simple terms, you pick a side and slap some money down.

You kick back and watch the game with the beverage of your choice and hope for the best. 

Man, this stuff is easy! Am I right? Not so fast. Sports betting can absolutely be fun and enjoyable, but you need to understand exactly how you’re putting your stacks of cash to work for you.

When you bet on a game, you have a few basic options; spread, moneyline, and total. We’ll go through these and other types of bets in detail down below. For now, let’s walk through some examples.

For NFL, NBA, College Football, and College Basketball games, standard bets have to do with a spread. Also known as the line, the spread is a point differential number that the oddsmakers place on a game. If you hear someone say, “Hey, I like New York plus 7 this week,” they’re talking about the spread.

When you head to the online sportsbook of your choice to place bets, you’ll find something that looks like this for the spread-based sports.

In this example, the Bucks are favored by 6.5 points. If the final score of the game is 108-100 in favor of Milwaukee, then the spread has been covered. If you took the Bucks minus the points, you’re a winner. If you didn’t, then you may feel like this.

Better luck next time. Point spreads can be tricky. If just picking winners without worrying about points sounds more appealing, then you may find that moneyline bets are more up your alley. For moneyline bets, you simply need to pick the winner. That’s it. The catch is that the odds will vary depending on which side you choose.

While moneyline bets are offered for all sports, they’re most popular for MLB and NHL. Spreads aren’t used for these sports, but there are standard run lines and goal differentials offered. That said, moneyline betting is the most popular for these two sports. Here’s what you’ll see if you click around and find an MLB game that tickles your fancy.

In this case, the Yankees are favored. If you bet on them and they take care of business, you’re a winner and probably feeling pretty good about things.

Last but not least, you can also bet on the totals for games. Let’s use NHL as an example this time. Oddsmakers will set a benchmark for each game on the total number of goals that will be scored in the game. All you have to do is decide if you like the total to go over or under.

As always, there are odds attached to each choice.

If you have a hunch that this game is going to be a flatout street fight that doesn’t have a lot of scoring, then you would bet the under. If the Blues win by a score of 3-2, the total has gone under and you have won. If the Sharks win 7-1, then your hunch was way off the mark.

That takes care of the basic types of bets, but we have a lot more to learn. 

What Sports can I bet on? Where's the Action at?

Any sportsbook worth its weight is going to offer action on all of the major team and individual sports. If it’s on the tube and available to watch, you’ll have little trouble finding a spot to place bets.

Some sports are incredibly popular and attract a ton of action, while others fall into more of a niche category. Here’s a brief lay of the land.

NFL: Pro football is the engine that makes sports betting go. It’s the most popular professional sport in the US in terms of viewership and interest, and that carries over into the betting world as well. Football season is the busiest time of the year for sportsbooks, and you will have plenty of wagering opportunities at your disposal.

NBA and MLB: Pro basketball and baseball attract plenty of eyeballs to the tube, and the same goes for betting action. In season, you’ll find games available every day without issue. Although not the cash cow that the NFL is, there’s a big market for betting on these sports.

College Sports: College football is right behind the NFL in the fall when it comes to sports betting. Once football season is over, College Basketball attracts a ton of action from big time sports bettors. In fact, there are pro bettors out there who focus exclusively on college sports on the belief that they have more of an edge.

NHL: Hockey batting lags behind the other major team sports, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not a loyal following. It’s a sport which tends to attract passion from fans and scorns from those who don’t get it. Either way, you’ll find games every day during hockey season.

UFC and Boxing: From the perspective of the sportsbooks, major fights - think Pay-Per-View and Live TV events - bring in most of the action. However, there are plenty of fight fans out there who love to have skin in the game whenever fists start flying.

Soccer: In many other countries, it’s soccer by a country mile in terms of interest. Here in the US, that’s just not the case. That said, there’s still an engaged fan base for the major organizations around the world such as the Premier League.

Golf and Tennis: If there’s a tournament going on, you’ll be able to bet on it. You can pick the winner and call it a day, but there are also bets for things like Top 10 finishers and head-to-head matches.  

Other Sports: The above list covers the most popular events, but you’ll be able to find wagering opportunities on plenty of other sports. This includes sports such as Cricket and Racing. Options will vary at the various sportsbooks, so you’ll just need to make sure the one you want is offered at your preferred spot.  

Types of Bets

We briefly touched on the basics of sports betting up above. Now it’s time to take a closer look at the various types of bets.

Spread: If you’re making a spread bet, points are factored into the equation. The favorite must win by a certain amount, while the points can be added on the underdog side.

Moneyline: This is the most simple and straightforward bet you can make. You’re simply picking the winner of the game, but there are naturally odds attached to the selection.

Totals: This is simply the estimated total number of points that will be scored in a game. For betting purposes, you would place a bet on over or under the total.

Futures: Just like the name implies, you’re betting on a future event in this case. It could be the winner of this year’s Super Bowl, or the outright winner of an upcoming golf tournament.

In-game: These are bets which you can place while the games themselves are going on. Offerings will vary depending on the sportsbook, but this area continues to grow.

Parlay: This is a single bet which links together multiple events on one ticket. There’s potential for greater returns, but also more risk involved.

Prop Bet: These are unique bets offered in addition to the standard choices. Also known as exotics, these bets cover things such as player performance or team accomplishments. 

Understanding Odds

For each of the bets you can place, there will be odds attached. That being the case, it’s a good idea to understand what they mean. Odds are established by the bookmakers and essentially tell you the value attached to each betting opportunity.

For example, on a standard point spread bet, you’ll see odds in the range of -110. So what the heck does that mean? Using round numbers, this means that you would need to bet $110 to receive a return of $100.

Said another way, you would place a bet for $110. If all goes your way, you’ll have $210 available to withdraw once the game is settled. That number represents your initial stake of $110 and your return of $100.

 This works in the opposite direction as well. On moneyline bets, you may find an underdog that you think will win the game. Let’s look at an example.

For this game, the Indians are favored while the Orioles are the underdogs. If you like the Orioles to win, you could bet $100 to receive a return of $160. If the Orioles win, you’ll have $260 available - your initial bet of $100 plus your return of $160.

Odds may look confusing at first glance, but it gets easier to understand what you are looking at as you gain more experience. If you want to quickly figure out what your return would be without actually placing a bet, simply open up a ticket and place in your desired wager amount.

Be sure to cancel the bet out when you’re done, and be extra careful that you don’t accidentally pull the trigger and place the wager. You’ll have the option to cancel it out, but you may lose a bit of your initial stake for doing so.

Basic Handicapping Tips

We could write a book about handicapping tips, but there are already thousands and thousands out there. There are no foolproof ways to break down games and events. Things happen. That’s true in life and in sports.

No matter how sure of a thing you think something may be, that doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to happen. In fact, there are plenty of times you’ll experience that firsthand in the world of sports betting.

There are last-second shots that can change the point total in an instant, as well as completely unexpected things such as injuries in the middle of a game. You simply can’t plan all of that out. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t research to make the best decisions possible.

For each sport, there are certain things you’ll want to look at. Using football as an example, you’ll want to consider things like the strengths of the offense and defense for the respective teams. If a lights out offense is playing a defense that resembles swiss cheese, then you may have a situation which requires further investigation.

In baseball, starting pitchers and bullpens are great places to look and begin your research. For basketball, things like true shooting percentage and defensive efficiency can help you sift through the contenders and pretenders in a hurry.     

Regardless of sport, there are plenty of statistics out there to dig into. For the time pressed among us, there are a countless number of blogs and websites which break down the games. There are even services you can subscribe to which pick games for you, but that naturally comes with a caveat.

As with all things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. If you come across a person or service which claims 100 percent success, then run for the hills and hold onto your wallet. It’s simply not possible.

Know What Kind of Bettor You Are

One of the cool things about sports betting is that there’s always something going on. Your participation level can vary, but you can rest assured that there will be something to wager on when you feel the need.

One of the cool things about sports betting is that there’s always something going on. Your participation level can vary, but you can rest assured that there will be something to wager on when you feel the need.

For some recreational bettors, placing a bet on a big game or fight is more than enough for them. Others get more involved at particular times of the year. There are plenty of folks out there who spend a lot of time handicapping football and take the rest of the year off.

There also those who live and breathe sports 24/7 that participate regularly in betting, as well as pro sports bettors who make a living breaking down games. Where you fall on the spectrum is ultimately up to you.

You could start as a novice and work your way up. However, some find that their interest level wanes as the pressure rises. They then scale back a bit to find their comfort level. Others who take the plunge find that they absolutely love it and go on to consume all of the information they can to improve their skills.

The choice is yours. First things first, simply understand the type of bettor that you are and don’t try to force it. If you like the casual aspect, then that’s awesome. Stay in your lane and keep on chugging. If you want to kick things up a notch, that’s fine too. Just understand that there will be plenty of work involved to get your skills to a top notch level. 

The Bottom Line

As sports betting is legalized in more states, interest will only continue to grow. You will have plenty of options at your disposal as a result, both for playing and further educating yourself. Best of luck as you enter the world of online sports betting!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *