Betting Basics

How To Bet On Sports

August 22, 2023

Sports fandom is a spectacle unto itself. Few experiences in life are as unforgettable as watching your team overcome the odds to claw its way to victory. And to make the match even more engaging and the triumph more exhilarating, true fans make sure to have some skin in the game.

Because, let’s be honest, what’s better than making money from your couch?

Whether you’re a fan of baseball, tennis, golf, basketball, soccer, football, or the UFC, learning how to bet on sports can enhance your excitement—not to mention, potentially fatten your wallet. By mastering the art of sports betting, you can turn your passion into profits.

If you’re a beginner, the idea of online sports betting may be overwhelming. Where do you even begin? This primer will provide you with the essential information you need to begin your sports betting journey.

Before we get into the actual betting, it’s important to set some ground rules to avoid developing a gambling problem. Remember to only bet what you can afford to lose, also known as your bankroll. Betting with just your bankroll or the money specifically for wagering purposes should hopefully ensure safe gambling practices.

If you’re a beginner, the idea of sports betting may be overwhelming. Where do you even begin? This primer will provide you with the essential sports betting basics you need to become a seasoned sports bettor.


What is Sports Betting?

Like any type of wager, sports betting is a form of gambling where you place a bet on the outcome of a specific sporting event. With a vast array of options offered by sportsbooks, you can make a sports bet on an extensive range of events, from premier global competitions like the PGA Tour’s Masters Championship to niche sports like South Korean amateur women’s badminton. It all depends on what each particular sportsbook offers.

What Types Of Bets Can Be Placed?

With a multitude of betting options available, crafting a well-informed sports betting strategy becomes crucial for success. Whether you’re a veteran bettor or a newcomer, navigating the world of online sports betting offers a thrilling array of choices and opportunities to test your sports knowledge and prediction skills.

Bets can vary from straightforward predictions, such as guessing the Super Bowl winner, to more unconventional and entertaining wagers, like speculating whether Travis Scott would propose to Kylie Jenner during his halftime performance at the Super Bowl.

The diverse nature of sports betting caters to fans with varying interests and adds a unique, making sure there is always a betting option suitable to your wants.

And which sports are the most popular to bet on in the US? According to Statista, the most popular sports include:

  • NFL – 61% of sports bettors frequently bet on football.
  • NBA – 58% of sports bettors frequently bet on basketball.
  • MLB – 53% of sports bettors frequently bet on baseball.
  • Boxing and MMA – 42% of sports bettors frequently bet on fighting.
  • Horse racing – 35% of sports bettors frequently bet on horse racing.
  • NHL – 32% of sports bettors frequently bet on hockey.
  • NASCAR – 28% of sports bettors frequently bet on racing.
  • eSports – 23% of sports bettors frequently bet on gaming.

Ready to try your hand at NFL betting? Let’s go!

With the growing movement to legalize online sports gambling, sports betting has become increasingly popular every year. Furthermore, according to Variety, “CRG Global found there’s a direct link between placing a bet and watching, with two-thirds of mobile gamblers saying they watch the NFL more often when they bet on a game.”

How Does Sports Gambling Work?

In most cases, a sportsbook will provide the public with available bets. The potential earnings a gambler would stand to win are determined by the odds of the outcome occurring, as given by the sportsbook.

In the past, these bets were only offered at casinos in Las Vegas or by illegal bookies. But with the legalization of online gambling in multiple states, there are now several convenient ways a prospective sports gambler can place a wager on the game.

Moreover, with the advent of mobile betting apps, bettors can now place their bets wherever and whenever they want, creating a seamless and engaging user experience.

How Do You Find The Right Sportsbook?

So, how do you select the right book? Typically, there will be several factors you must consider, including:

Reputation and reliability – Before you ever transfer funds, first read user reviews on the book’s reputation. Some books—especially those that aren’t registered in the U.S.—are shady and may refuse to payout a large wager or close your account if you hit a big parlay. You should only trust a legally established and legitimate sportsbook.

Location – This is often one of the biggest obstacles in finding the best book for you because different states have different laws and regulations regarding online gambling. You need to find a book that is licensed and regulated to legally operate in your state of residence.

Sports betting options – Not every book will offer the same variety of bets in terms of both scope and depth. Some may offer basic bets for all sports but limit the available player props. Others may only focus on a few sports while ignoring the less popular ones.

Lines – Some books offer more favorable lines than others. Compare betting odds and live odds and lines offered by various sportsbooks to find the bookmaker that consistently provides the most competitive odds to maximize potential returns.

User interface – Does a prospective sportsbook offer a user-friendly website and mobile sports betting app? Top books will make it easy to bet online, find available betting options and place a wager, whether you’re at home, in the crowd, or on the go.

Payment options and withdrawal speed – After a big bet, you may want to take out your winnings rather than letting them ride. Some books make it easy to withdraw funds, whereas others require you to jump through several hoops to do so.

Bonuses, promos, and rewards – Many sportsbooks will offer juicy bonuses and promos to attract new customers or retain existing ones. That said, even if a book is offering an enticing incentive to join, be sure to read the fine print so that you fully understand the terms and conditions associated with the promo. For instance, some books will have a rollover figure that requires you to bet a multiple of a deposit to cash out any winnings. If you deposit $100 and claim a bonus with a 10x rollover bonus, you would need to make $1,000 worth of bets to ever see that money.

Customer support – Some books are infamous for having awful customer support, making it practically impossible to address an issue with an account. Look for a bookmaker that has established a reputation for customer service and which provides several contact methods, such as live chat, email, phone, etc.

By considering factors such as these when the best sports betting site for you, ensure a more convenient and hassle-free inaugural betting experience—one that’s tailored to your specific needs and preferences.

Reading Odds And Lines

Let’s say you’re a Laker fan and you want to throw some cash on their first playoff game, what would that entail? Here’s what the current sports betting odds look like according to CBS:

To bet on sports, you need to be able to read the available wagers. This simple slip provides 6 basic betting options:

  • Lakers to win (moneyline)
  • Lakers +1.5 (spread)
  • Over 224 points (total)
  • Grizzlies to win (moneyline)
  • Grizzlies -1.5 (spread)
  • Under 224 points (total)

Key components of online sports betting include understanding the point spread, which levels the playing field, and the money line, offering straightforward win-lose bets. Additionally, prop bets add an extra layer of excitement, allowing punters to wager on specific outcomes within a game, while totals involve predicting whether the combined score of a sporting event.

Moneyline Bets

A moneyline bet is a straight-up bet on which team will win the game. In this case, the Lakers have a +100 moneyline, meaning that if you bet $100 on the Lakers to win, you would win $100 if they are victorious. On the other hand, the Grizzlies have a -120 moneyline, meaning that you would need to bet $120 on the Grizzlies to win in order to win $100.

This is a bet on whether a team will win by a certain number of points or not. In this case, the Grizzlies are favored by 1.5 points, which means that they need to win by at least 2 points in order for a bet on them to be successful. The Lakers, on the other hand, can either win the game outright or lose by no more than 1 point in order for a bet on them to be successful. The odds for the spread bet are -110 for both teams, meaning that you would need to bet $110 to win $100 on either side.

Totals (Over/Under)

This is a bet on the total number of points scored by both teams in the game. In this case, the over/under is set at 224 points, and you can bet on whether the total number of points scored will be over or under that number. The odds for the total bet are also -110 for both options.

Advanced Bets

Depending on the book, a betting slip can break down even further by providing additional betting options beyond the basic options discussed above, including:

First half and second half bets – These are bets on the outcome of just the first half or second half of the game. For example, you could bet on the Lakers winning the first half, and the Grizzlies winning the second half.

  • Player props – These are bets on specific individual player performances. For example, you could bet on LeBron James to score over/under 25 points in the game, or on Ja Morant to record a double-double (such as 10+ points and 10+ assists).
  • Team props – These are bets on specific team performances. For example, you could bet on the Lakers to hit less than 10 three-pointers.
  • Alternate point spread and totals – Some books offer different point spread or totals for a higher or lower payout. For instance, you may be able to bet on the Grizzlies at a -5.5 spread, which might cause the odds to shift more favorably from +110 to +130, resulting in a larger payout.
  • Live betting – This is betting that occurs while the game is in progress, allowing you to take advantage of shifting odds as the game unfolds.

Sports Betting With Tipico

Now that we have covered the basics, you’re ready to win big on your own sports bets.

Looking for a sportsbook? Tipico’s platform allows fans access to sports betting in Iowa, Ohio, Colorado, and New Jersey to enjoy year-round gambling. No matter what sport is currently in season, Tipico offers an array of online betting options on teams and individual players.

To concoct a winning sports betting strategy with your team, download the sportsbook app today.

Tipico Sportsbook supports responsible gaming year-round; learn more and find resources at the AGA’s “Have a Game Plan“.

Tipico staff contributions