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.
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We’ve all been in the position of learning something new. Please don’t be embarrassed if you don’t grasp these concepts right away. 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. If you have any of the following questions, this article is for you!
- How do you read sports odds?
- What does over/under mean?
- What does minus/plus or giving/taking points mean?
- What is a parlay?
- What is a round robin?
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WHAT DOES IT ALL 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!
Sports Betting For Dummies 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
“What does -5 mean in sports betting?”
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 bet.
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 exactly on the number (San Francisco wins by exactly 5 points), the bet is declared a “Push” and your original stake amount gets refunded – no matter which team you picked.
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!
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How to Read and Bet Over/Under
No Sports Betting For Dummies would be complete without a simple explanation of betting on the total. 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.
When looking at sports betting statistics, you may see a team’s record referred to as ATS (Against The Spread)
Sports Betting For Dummies 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 an even greater win amount due to the higher risk.
When looking at sports betting stats or records, you may see a team’s record with the initials SU beside it. “Straight Up”
Sports Betting For Dummies 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.
Fraction and Decimal Odds
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! Also, you will receive your initial bet amount of $100 as well, for a total of $275 in your hand.
American Style Odds
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.
Sports Betting For Dummies Topic #4 Now What?
Now that you have the basics down, there is something left to discuss – where to bet online that is safe. 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, BookMaker, 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.
Sports Betting For Dummies Topic #5 Parlays
What is a parlay in sports betting?
You can place individual wagers on just one team or total. Another option is to package 2-12 of them together with a single wager amount. That is known as a parlay bet!
The advantage of a parlay wager is the compounding of the odds. Say you choose 3 bets to parlay and they all have decimal odds of 2.00. You generally multiply them all together to get your potential win. In this case, it would be 8X your risked amount!
Note that some sites have a set odds amount for a particular number of selections in a parlay. This is typically when they’re all in the same sport.
Betting parlays is much more lucrative…but every selection must be correct for you to get paid. If you have a parlay wager with 5 different selections, all 5 must win or you lose your wager amount.
I recommend betting parlays only as a recreational long-shot, rather than making it part of your regular betting. There are too many variables to account for and profiting regularly with parlay bets isn’t very easy.
Sports Betting For Dummies Topic #6 Round Robin
What is a ROUND ROBIN in sports betting?
A “Round Robin”, simply put, is a series of parlay wagers.
ROUND ROBIN – a short cut of sorts. Say you have 3 picks you want to bet on. You can do a Round Robin (RR) and it will essentially give you 3 separate parlay wagers. Each with 2 selections…every possible 2-team winning parlay from your three picks.
If one of your 3 doesn’t come through, you’ll still win one parlay in your Round Robin. If all 3 of your picks come through, then you cash in on all three of your 2-team parlays! Nice
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!