ultimate guide to sports betting

What is Sports Betting?

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Imagine sitting in the pub together with your buddies, enjoying a keg of Guinness and a Premier League match on the telly.

Everybody’s eyes are glued to the screen in anticipation.

And after more than an hour of watching, your favourite team finally scores the winning goal. You cheer your lungs out. You couldn’t be happier! So, you celebrate with even more kegs with your buds and come home with spirits over the moon.

Sounds like a fun night, ain’t it? But don’t you think it would’ve been even more fun if you actually won something more than just a hammered night? Something like, let’s say… actual money?

That’s where the beauty of sports betting comes in.

Sports Betting: Defined

Simply put, sports betting is the act of placing wagers on any sporting event. It involves predicting the result of a game and placing a bet on the outcome that you see as most likely to occur. Some of the most popular sports events with the largest betting volume include English football (or soccer), American football and horse racing.

Now, while it may seem like a modern-day form of betting, you probably didn’t know that sports betting has been around since the dawn of the ancient Romans. They placed bets on gladiator fighting, chariot races, and even animal fights.

Consequently, when they invaded Britain in 55 BC, the Romans brought their fondness of sports betting in the country where it flourished for thousands of years.

These days, sports betting found its way throughout Europe, the Americas and as far away as Australia — creating a culture as diverse as the people who enjoy it.

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How Does Sports Betting Work?

If you’re still new to the whole betting scene, sports betting can seem complicated — with all the numbers, teams and markets. However, it’s not as difficult to understand once you’ve gotten the hang of it.

So, how does sports betting work? Allow us to explain it to you through an example.

Let’s take one of the matches from the Premier League last 18th August 2019, Chelsea vs Leicester City. Based on last season’s results (2018-19), Chelsea stands at 3rd and Leicester at 9th. Hence, we can assume that Chelsea is the stronger team and has a better chance of winning.

Therefore, the odds of the game may have gone like this:

Chelsea Win = 1.73
Draw = 3.84
Leicester Win = 5.14

The odds serve as the multiplier for the amount of money you’re willing to bet. Thus, suppose you place a bet worth £100 on Chelsea and they win, you get £73 in profit. If you place a bet on a draw, then you get to win £284 in profit. Meanwhile, if you chose to bet on Leicester, you get to win £414 in profit.

This type of betting is called 1×2 betting, and it’s one of the simplest types of betting markets. Now, to make things more challenging, bookies or bookmakers (those who are responsible for accepting bets) modify the odds into handicaps, totals, money lines and more.

We shall tell you more about the other betting types in the next section of this article. For now, you need to know that the odds of the match can change depending on the following factors:

  1. Team stats
  2. Home and away
  3. Head to head records and recent team forms
  4. News (including injuries, suspensions, etc)
  5. Market confidence

Analysing these factors can help you choose the best odds to place your money in. Therefore, sports betting isn’t just winning by chance. It involves critical thinking, analogy and, of course, a little bit of luck.

Must Read: Labouchere Sports Betting System

Different Types of Sports Betting

Now that you know what sports betting is and how it works, the next thing that you need to know about is the types of sports betting.

1. 1X2 Betting

Since we’ve already given you an insight about 1×2 betting and how it works, we shan’t dive-in too deep on this one.

Basically, in 1×2 betting, 1 represents the home team, the x for a draw, and 2 for the away team.

However, aside from what you already know, 1×2 betting has a strategy called Double Chance bet wherein you combine two of three possible results of the game. Hence, you have the choice of betting between home-draw, draw-away or home-away (1X, X2, 12).

Through this strategy, you can get a higher chance of winning a bet. Unfortunately, not all betting platforms offer the option of double chance betting. On top of that, the odds in Double Chance bets are lower compared to choosing just 1, X or 2.

2. Handicap Betting

Handicap betting is best used when one team is greatly favoured over their opponents. To counter the apparent partiality in a team’s capability, Asian sportsbooks offer a handicap to equal the playing field.

In handicap betting, points or goals are added and deducted from teams for betting purposes. The handicap is based on the final score to conclude the game’s result for the betting purpose, which might differ from the actual outcome.

For example, in football betting, the handicap for the supposed example might be (0.5, 2.020) and (-0.5, 1.917) for Barcelona and Tottenham, respectively. If the end result was 1-0 for Tottenham, the bets on this team would win since the odds (0.5) is insufficient to change the result, which is often called covering the handicap.

barcelona fc

However, if the match finished in a 1-1 draw, the bets on Barcelona would win since the odds (0.5) added to the team’s final score is sufficient to point the match in their favour. The handicap can also vary by seeming as a split, such as +0.5 & +1 or -0.5 & -1. This takes your stake and successfully places two handicap wagers, one in each option.

Consequently, you can win both bets, just one, or you can lose both.

The same thing can be explained when betting on tennis. However, handicap betting on tennis differs depending on whether it is a Set Handicap or a Game Handicap.

Set Handicap and Game Handicap

In a Set Handicap, it changes the betting odds significantly since it is now based on added sets.

For example, Maria Sharapova -2.5 sets vs Shuai Peng +2.5

Here, punters are given 2.5 sets. Hence, at +2.5, you win if she comes out victorious or loses the match by just 2 sets.

Game Handicap, on the other hand, works almost the same procedure as the Set Handicap. However, it is based on the individual scores of each set in a match.

Related: In-Play Asian Handicap Explained

3. Totals or Over/Under Betting

A totals bet, or over/under betting, is also a common form of betting. It can be an alternative to 1X2 and handicap betting. However, the focus in this type of bet is not on finding the winner of a specific match, but predicting the end result of game variables such as the total goals, runs, points, or any other measurable variable.

Some sports trading platforms like VOdds provide bettors with a number of bookies that offer the option of whether the total goals or points be either over or under their evaluation of the match.

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For example, in a match between Liverpool and Chelsea, the total goal is set at Over 2.50, 2.0800, and Under 2.50, 1.9090. If you placed a £10 bet on the game to have over 2.5 goals, the final score was 2-1, a total of three goals, you will earn £20.80, initial stake included. If you bet on the total goals to be under 2.5, you would earn nothing.

A totals bet is basically the same for tennis betting, but also depends on whether it is a total games over/under and total sets over/under.

A totals game is close to a 50/50 wagering proposition. Bookies predict how many games shall be played in a particular match. For example, a set is predicted to have 2.5 games, punters can now bet that there will be over 2.5 games, or under 2.5 games.

Unlike the Over/Under total games, a totals set is not a 50/50 wagering proposition as one of them is much more likely to happen than the other. It also depends on how many total sets will be played in the match.

4. Proposition Bets or Specials

Proposition bets (also called “prop bets”) or specials is a type of wager that is done mostly to add a little more thrill into the whole betting scene. It involves placing bets on specific points or occurrences in a sports event that doesn’t have anything to do with the result of the match.

For example, “Will Cristiano Ronaldo score the first goal?” “Will Stephen Curry score more than 33.5 points?” and so on.

man's hand grabbing a chip out of an orange bowl

Because of the casual vibe of prop bets, some people aren’t huge fans of this betting type. Hence, you may only see this in a handful of betting platforms. However, despite this, you can still make good money from props.

What most people probably don’t notice is that props involve more than just guessing and luck. It also requires a ton of analysis and knowledge that you can only acquire if you’re truly familiar with the sport and its elements.

In a props bet between two players, say LeBron and Curry, you can ask a few questions to help your decision making. Did one of them suffer any injuries in the past few years? How did each of them play in the last season? Which one of them has scored more than the other on average?

Thus, being informed can help you gain more than just money from betting. You can also acquire additional knowledge that you can use to boost your profits by wagering on other sports betting types.

5. Point Spread

Point spreads involve odds that provide an advantage or disadvantage to a given team based on their history of wins and loses. Basically, the favourite team (-) are set to win the game by a number of points and are therefore the disadvantage. On the other hand, the underdog team (+) shouldn’t lose the game by a number of points, hence they’re at an advantage.

Sounds a little confusing, right? Here’s an example to make it easier to understand.

Let’s take Chelsea and Leicester again. Based on their history, Chelsea would be the favourite team and Leicester shall be the underdog. Hence, the odds of the point spread may look something like this:

Chelsea -2 (-110)
Leicester +2 (-110)

Betting on Chelsea would mean that they must win the match by two points or more in order for you to win the bet. On the other hand, betting on Leicester would mean that they must win or not lose the game by more than two points for you to win the bet.

Therefore, if Chelsea wins the match by 4-1, then they would have covered the 2-point requirement of the bet and you’d win. At the same time, a bet on Leicester would’ve been a loss because they lost the game by more than the 2-point requirement.

Aside from all the betting types that we’ve tackled above, there are still a lot of sports betting types out there — most of which depend on the sport. Hence, if you want to be a successful bettor someday, the best way for you to become profitable is to study the type of betting commonly used for the sport of your liking.

Which Sports Can You Bet On?

soccer balls on a field

Now, since we’ve already mentioned about betting on other sports, we took the liberty of showing you a handful of the most popular sports than you can bet on. Additionally, we sprinkled the type of betting that fits well with the sport.

1. European Football

European football is one of the most popular sports that a lot of punters place their bets on. More often than not, it’s because it’s easy to bet on a football match because it can only end in either a home win, a draw or an away win.

However, just as we told you about other betting types, you can also have a little fun and place bets on handicaps or totals. Just make sure that you pile up your knowledge about the teams by reading match previews and news.

2. Tennis

While tennis may not be as thrilling as watching a basketball game or a boxing match, it’s still quite popular among punters.

However, if you’re thinking about betting on tennis, we highly recommend that you focus on one area — men’s or women’s, Challenger circuit or Grand Slam — because you can’t effectively analyse every match.

The best betting types that fit well with tennis include:

  • Handicaps
  • Over/unders
  • Outright winner
  • Sets

3. Basketball

This one’s pretty obvious as basketball is, undoubtedly, one of the most popular sports in the world. We wouldn’t even be surprised if you’re one of millions of fans that enjoy the playoffs.

Anyway, as popular as it is, it’s also one of the favourite sports that punters love to bet on. Some of the most commonly used betting types for basketball bets include:

betting on football, basketball, and tennis

4. Cricket

Quite the popular sport in the Indian subcontinent, it has also caught the eyes of professional punters all over the globe. The main reason behind this is because the sport has games all throughout the year.

Some of the cricket leagues that you can follow include: Indian Premier League, Twenty20 Cricket Leagues, ICC World Cricket League, and many more. Also, how can we forget to give you the best betting types that go with cricket? Here they are:

  • Match outcome
  • Game score
  • Man of the match
  • Top batsman

5. Boxing

When a major fight is about to come, you can expect that there will be oddsmakers and bookmakers who will take advantage of it. You can owe that to the millions of fans all over the world who love contact sports.

Since a match can go up to 12 rounds for huge championship fights, there are a ton of ways that you can enjoy betting on boxing. Some of the most popular betting types include:

  • Outright winner
  • 1×2
  • Total round or over/under
  • Winning method
  • Round betting

Where Can You Place Your Bets?

hand placing a piece of puzzle

At this point, you’re now stocked with all the knowledge that you need about sports betting. So, the next thing that you’re probably itching to know is where can you place your bets.

Now, the easiest way to go is to bet online. It just all comes down to which bookmakers or aggregators you choose to use.

Bookies and Aggregators

In terms of choosing a bookmaker, we have an entire article that can help you with that. However, just to give you some insight, bookmakers or bookies are people or groups that collect your bets.

Meanwhile, an aggregator such us VOdds shows you a list of bookies together with the odds that they offer for that specific game. So, basically, you get to compare which odds can give you the highest profits should you win a bet.

Check out these related articles about betting methods:

Ready… Get Set… Bet!

Now that you have everything you need to know about sports betting, you’re now ready to become a professional punter. Just don’t forget that betting requires tactful thinking, a ton of patience, and, of course, luck.

So, don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it the first time, just make sure that you’re more ready the next time around. Happy punting!

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