States across the U.S. are in a hurry to legalize sports gambling. It’s not hard to understand why. Sports gambling is a huge revenue driver, and even politicians with concerns hate to see those tax dollars lost to other states.

If you live in a state where sports betting online is legal, maybe you’ve been bit by the bug. You imagine huge wins, big money, without leaving your house. You can win money, but it’s not that easy.

Online gambling takes skill and a trained eye. Before you make your first bet, read this guide to learn the basics of online sports betting.

Find the Right Sports Book

Big-time professional gamblers, the whales and sharps, will tell you that you need to play multiple sportsbooks. Why? Different books offer different betting lines, and you want to be able to find the best value lines.

While that’s true, that’s an elevated level of an online gambling strategy. You’ll get there eventually. When you begin, it’s best to find and stick to one sportsbook while you get comfortable betting. 

What should you look for in an online sportsbook? There are a few things that make a book perfect for you. Let’s discuss a few of them:

Bonuses and Promo Codes

All of the major online books offer some type of deposit bonus for new players. Free money is great for anyone. With these bonuses, you can learn how to gamble without using your money.

Some bonuses come in the form of a deposit match, meaning the book will match your initial deposit up to a certain amount.

Other bonuses come in the form of risk-free first bets. This means the book covers the potential loss of your first bet with a refund.

Check out this promo code for DraftKings to start gambling with free money.

What Do You Like to Play?

Are you big into fantasy football? Do you enjoy a less popular sport like British darts or pro-bowling? Gambling online is about finding a book to place bets that meets your needs.

Fantasy football is an overwhelmingly popular game. You might be an expert drafter and player. In that case, you need to find a book where you can turn that fantasy expertise into real money.

Easy to Use

The interface of an online gambling book is so important, especially to new gamblers. With all the different numbers associated with sports wagering, a jumbled book leads to confusion.

The easiest sportsbooks to use are also the ones that offer a smooth live betting experience. As you become more comfortable with sports gambling, you will find that in-play betting is a great way to score cash.

The Basics of Sports Betting

Now that you know how to find the best outlet to place online bets, you need to know how to bet. Knowing how to bet means knowing what you’re betting.

Knowing what you’re betting means understanding some basic terminology.

Favorite

A favorite is a team the bookmakers expect to win the game. You’ll see a ‘-‘ in front of the numbers of a favorite. Betting favorites win you less money.

Underdog

An underdog is a team the bookmakers expect to lose. A ‘+’ sign marks the numbers of an underdog. Less likely to win, those teams often yield a more profitable payout.

Line

This is the name for the bets offered on a particular match. You’ll often hear gamblers ask, “What’s the line?”

Vig

Also known as “juice,” this is the percentage the books keep on any given bet. A standard vig is 9% meaning when you bet $100, you win $90. The vig is built into the odds of any game. 

The Three Basic Bets Explained

The majority of sports bets revolve around three rudimentary types of wagers. These three bet types are the basis for the more complicated bets you will build later in your gambling career:

Moneyline

Moneyline bets are the most simple to explain. They are bets to win. Let’s use a football example to demonstrate how betting the moneyline works.

In the upcoming big game, Manchester United plays Southampton. You see the number posted with Manchester United as -200. You know that ‘-‘ indicates the oddsmakers think Man U is likely to win the game.

So do you, so you want to bet on Man U to win. At -200, you bet $200 to score $100 in winnings.

Let’s say you think Southampton will win. You know they’re the underdog, but you have a feeling. At +550, you score $550 in winnings if you bet $100 on Southampton.

Draws or ties are more common in football than other sports. For that reason, you can also bet on the two teams to tie at +330.

Spread

This is where you’ll often hear the terms “giving” and “receiving.” On a spread bet, a favorite gives points to an underdog and an underdog receives points from a favorite.

Betting on the spread means you bet on a favorite’s margin of victory to be over a certain amount of points. The underdog can lose by less than the spread number.

In the big game scenario, Man U is -1/+145. To cash on a Man U spread bet, they must beat Southampton by more than 1 goal. The +145 means you bet $100 to win $145.

Tampa Bay is +1/+160. If you bet on Southampton, you cash if they lose by less than 1 or win the game.

Over/Under

These bets are also known as totals bets. This is a wager on the combined score of a game.

Since football is a low-scoring game, bookmakers offer over/under bets on four different totals. These are 0.5, 1.5, 2.5, and 3.5. These all have corresponding odds.

If you bet over, the two teams must combine to score more than the amount. If you bet the under, the two teams must score less than that amount.

Sports Betting Online Is a Fun Challenge

It takes years to build sports gambling skills. While the fantasy of winning big through sports betting online can become a reality, it’s best to have fun with it first.

Once you find the right online book and get comfortable with the game, you can then expand your strategy. Until then, happy betting!

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