How to Bet Sports


How To Bet on Sports Online

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Sports Betting For Dummies
How to Read Sports Odds and Betting Lines

I’ve titled this Sports Betting For Dummies. It’s a tutorial for those who want to start betting on sports or those who want to gain a better understanding of some of the terminology and theory behind it. We’ve all been in the position of learning something new, so please don’t be embarrassed if you don’t grasp these concepts. Instead, contact me via the form at the bottom of this page and I’ll help you in any way I can.

You want to put a few coins on this weekend’s games, or perhaps you just want to be able to decode all of that jibberish you see in the sports section every week. How do you read those sports odds, and what does over/under, minus/plus, giving points, taking points mean?


I will painlessly explain all of the mysteries of sports betting 101 aka “Sports Betting for Dummies.” First of all, you have nothing to be ashamed of, you have taken the first and most important step of all – learning! Why waste money on a game that you don’t fully understand? You shouldn’t! That is why you are here now, to learn how it works and how to win!

Topic #1 The Point Spread and Totals

Okay, you look at the games for Sunday and you see the betting lines displayed something similar to;

San Francisco -5 vs. St. Louis 41

You may look at that and be intimidated and feel helpless, but I’m going to decode this little bugger for you. This is the betting line – not the odds. The odds are what you are to be paid (covered later).

How to Read and Bet Point Spreads

Whenever you see a team with a (-) negative number next to them, (-5 in this case) it means that team is favored to win by that number of points.

The number after the matchup (41) is the projected total points to be scored by both teams added together. There are two options here. A player can choose to bet on the matchup, either San Fran -5 points or St. Louis +5 points.

For the player who wagers on San Francisco -5, San Fran must win by more than 5 points for this to be a winning wager. For the player who wagers on St. Louis +5, they must either win the game or lose by less than 5 points for this to be a winning bet. If the outcome falls on the number, the bet is declared a “Push” and your original stake amount gets refunded.

See, that wasn’t too difficult, was it?

Sometimes you will see the points displayed as half numbers like San Fran -5.5. If you bet on San Fran, and they win by 6, you win the bet. If they win by 5 or less, you lose. Clear? If not, submit your question in the form at the bottom of the page and ask me. I’m here to help.

How to Bet Over/Under

Okay, so the other betting option available to you is the total or ‘Over/Under’. You can choose to bet that the total points between the two teams will either be greater (OVER) or less than (UNDER) the projected total. Again, if you bet either way and the game ends up being 20-21, for a total of 41 points, then you will receive a refund of your wager amount.

Topic # 2 The Moneyline or Straight-Up wager

This is where you simply wager on which team will win the game outright, no point spreads, no BS…just the straight up winner. Although this may appear to be easier, you will pay for it as the odds (payout) will reflect the lack of a point spread. If you wager on a favorite, then you will win less than with a point spread, but if you wager on the underdog…and win…you will receive and even greater win amount based on the higher risk taken.

Topic # 3 How to Read Sports Betting Odds

Okay, so you have made your selection, now what? How much do I bet, and how much will I win? Standard questions, and great questions for new sports bettors to ask! There are three ways that you will typically see odds displayed, as a fraction 2/1 (or 2 to 1), as a decimal 2.00, or “American Style Betting Odds” +100.

For reading the fraction odds, I strongly recommend converting them to a decimal. This will make figuring out your potential win much much easier! To do this, just like in 2nd grade, you take the first number and divide it by the second. So if your odds read 7/4, you simply divide (7) by (4), which equals 1.75. That is the decimal form odds, now you simply multiply (1.75) by whatever your wager amount is to figure out your potential profit. In this case, if you were to risk $100, then your potential win would be $175 profit if you are correct! In addition, you will receive your initial bet amount of $100 as well, for a total of $275 in your hand.

Now for American Style Sports Odds. Typically, when you are betting on the point spread, as in topic #1 above, the odds are displayed or implied to be (-110), which is known as American Style odds. The American Style odds format is based on $100. When the number, is displayed as a negative number (-110), it indicates how much money you must risk to realize a profit of $100. In our scenario, you must wager $110 to win $100 profit. If you do, you will receive $210 when you cash in…the winning amount PLUS your initial wager amount.

When you see the number displayed as a positive number such as (+150), it indicates how much money you will profit if you RISK $100. So, if you wager $100 on a team that pays (+150), and you win, you will receive $250. That is the $150 that you won, plus your $100 original stake returned.

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Topic #4 Now What?

Now that you have the basics down, there is only one thing left to discuss – where to bet that is safely. I strongly recommend that you start by wagering on only one pick per day. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin and have your hand in every match available. If you bet that way, you will surely get nickel and dimed out of your bankroll. Spend time studying the teams and choose your best selection available. Decide on a budget of how much you are willing to risk. Now you need a reputable online sportsbook (online sports betting site) to do business.

There are millions of sites out there, but only a handful that will treat you right. I deal with a few main sites in my personal online sports betting, Bovada, BetOnline, and MyBookie.

Check these sites out and see which one fits you best. Maybe you will take advantage of the bonuses at those sites and then decide which one you want to continue to use. I prefer to use multiple sites, so I have a selection of lines to choose from to get the best available payout! Whether you want to bet $1 or $500, any of these sites will work just fine for you and pay you quickly when you win. If you want more details and options, just go to the sportsbook reviews and ratings page.

I hope that I have answered some of the nagging questions about sports betting and how it works. Feel free to use the form below to contact me directly with any question you may have. I’m here to help you understand and win! Good luck!

Also, be sure to check out my free sports picks!