How Sports Betting Works: Learn How to Bet

Welcome to the exciting world of sports betting in 2023! With sports betting becoming increasingly popular and accessible, now is the perfect time to dive into this thrilling pastime. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know, including how to bet on sports, make informed bets, and maximize your chances of winning.

Short Summary

  • Learn how to make a sports bet, different wagers, terminology, and bet types.
  • Master understanding odds & calculating payouts to maximize your chances of success.
  • Bet responsibly for an exciting experience without worry – research & utilize tools to become a successful sports bettor.

How Does Sports Betting Work?

Sports betting is a form of gambling that involves placing a wager, also known as a bet, on the outcome of a sporting event. The primary goal of sports betting is to win additional money. But you probably knew that. So let’s dive into more understanding how to bet on sports and where to make a sports wager.

The Basics of Sports Betting

football, quarterback, sport

Imagine the adrenaline rush as you place a wager on your favorite team or predict a specific outcome in a nail-biting game. That’s the essence of sports betting – the act of placing a wager on the outcome of a sporting event. From team vs. team matchups to yes vs. no propositions, sports betting offers a world of thrilling possibilities. With a rapidly growing sports betting industry, there’s never been a better time to join the action.

However, before you start placing bets, it’s essential to understand the terminology and legalities surrounding sports betting. In the following sections, we’ll discuss the various types of sports bets, the language used in the betting world, and the legal landscape of sports betting in the US.

Sports Betting Terminology

  • Action: A general term for the amount of money bet on a game or event.
  • Against the Spread (ATS): A term used to describe a bet made on a point spread.
  • Bookmaker/Bookie: A person or organization that accepts bets.
  • Chalk: The favorite in a game or event.
  • Cover: When a team wins or loses by the required number of points in the point spread.
  • Dog: Short for underdog, the team or individual expected to lose.
  • Edge: The advantage a bettor has before a bet is placed.
  • Futures Bet: A bet on an event that will take place in the future, such as who will win the Super Bowl at the end of the season.
  • Handicap: Another term for point spread.
  • Juice: The commission that bookmakers charge on bets, also known as vig.
  • Moneyline Bet: A bet on who will win the game or event outright.
  • Over/Under Bet: A bet on whether the total number of points scored by both teams will be over or under a number set by the bookmaker.
  • Parlay: A single bet that combines two or more bets. All bets must win for the parlay to win.
  • Prop Bet: A bet on a specific outcome within the event, not necessarily related to the final score.
  • Push: When a game or event ends right on the point spread, neither the bettor nor the bookmaker wins or loses.
  • Sharp: A professional or skilled bettor.
  • Spread: The number of points by which a favorite is expected to beat the underdog.
  • Total: The predicted combined score of both teams.
  • Underdog: The team or individual expected to lose a game or event.
  • Vig: Short for vigorish, it’s the commission that bookmakers charge on bets, also known as juice.

Legalities and Regulations

Sports betting has come a long way in recent years, with many states in the US now allowing legal betting on sports events. Thanks to this expanded accessibility, sports fans in states like Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Virginia can enjoy the thrill of placing bets on their favorite teams and events.

In addition to online sportsbooks, retail betting operators have also sprung up across the country, offering comfortable lounge areas and big-screen TVs for customers to enjoy the games while placing their bets.

With the ever-growing popularity of sports betting, it’s important to stay informed about the legalities and regulations in your area, ensuring a safe and enjoyable betting experience.

Types of Sports Bets

money, dollars, success

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into the exciting world of sports betting! From moneyline bets to point spreads, there’s a multitude of options to explore, each offering unique opportunities and challenges. Understanding the different types of bets is crucial to making informed decisions and maximizing your chances of winning.

Whether you’re a fan of baseball, basketball, football, or any other sport, knowing the various bet types can help you find the perfect wager for your interests and expertise. So let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular sports bets and how they work.

Moneyline Bets

Moneyline bets are the simplest and most straightforward form of sports betting, where you simply choose the winner of a game based on their implied probability. With American-style odds, you’ll see a positive or negative number representing the potential payout for a winning bet. For example, a -200 favorite requires a $200 bet to win $100, while a +200 underdog can win you $200 on a $100 bet.

This simplicity makes moneyline bets an excellent starting point for beginners, as well as a popular choice for seasoned bettors looking for a quick and easy wager. Just remember that higher-risk bets typically offer higher potential rewards, so choose wisely and enjoy the thrill of the game.

Moneyline Bet Example:

FootballNew York Giants vs. Dallas CowboysGiants +200, Cowboys -150Bet $100 on Giants to win $200, or bet $150 on Cowboys to win $100

Point Spreads

In games with uneven matchups, point spreads come into play to level the playing field. Oddsmakers assign a handicap to the favorite, requiring them to win by a certain number of points, while the underdog can either win outright or lose by a certain number and still win the bet.

Point spreads are an integral part of sports betting, particularly in games like football and basketball, where scoring can vary greatly. By understanding how point spreads work and how they’re adjusted for factors like team ability, you can make more informed decisions and increase your chances of success.

Point Spread Bet Example:

BasketballLos Angeles Lakers vs. Boston CelticsLakers -7.5Lakers need to win by 8 points or more for the bet to win

Over/Under Bets

Over/Under bets, also known as totals bets, are based on the total points scored in a game. Oddsmakers set a predetermined total, and bettors wager on whether the actual combined points will be over or under that number. For example, if the over/under for an NFL game is set at 45 points, you can bet on the total points scored being either above or below that threshold.

These bets offer a unique challenge, as they require bettors to consider not only the teams’ offensive capabilities but also their defensive strengths. By analyzing past performances, trends, and other factors, you can make educated predictions and potentially profit from Over/Under bets.

Over/Under Bet Example:

BaseballBoston Red Sox vs. New York YankeesOver/Under 7.5Bet on whether the total runs scored by both teams will be over or under 7.5

Prop Bets

Prop bets, short for proposition bets, are unique wagers based on specific conditions or events within a game. These bets can range from who will score the first touchdown in a football game to how many strikeouts a pitcher will throw in a baseball game. The possibilities are vast and can add an extra layer of excitement to your sports betting experience.

While prop bets can be a fun way to diversify your betting portfolio, they also require a strong understanding of the game and its participants. To maximize your chances of winning prop bets, be sure to research the teams, players, and specific conditions involved in the wager.

Sure, here are the examples separated into different tables for each type of bet:

Prop Bet Example:

SoccerManchester United vs. LiverpoolFirst Goal Scorer: Ronaldo +500Bet $100 on Ronaldo to score the first goal to win $500

Remember, betting odds are a reflection of the perceived probability of an outcome, but they are not a precise prediction. They also include a margin for the sportsbook to ensure they make a profit over time. Understanding how to read and interpret odds is a crucial skill for successful sports betting.

Parlays and Accumulators

Parlays and accumulators combine two or more bets into a single wager, offering a larger potential payout if all bets are correct. These bets can include moneylines, point spreads, prop bets, and more, allowing you to mix and match your favorite wagers for a customized betting experience.

However, the risk of parlays and accumulators lies in the requirement that all bets must be correct to win. Even one incorrect bet will result in a loss, so it’s essential to carefully consider the odds and probabilities of each wager before combining them.

When approached with caution and strategic analysis, parlays and accumulators can offer an exciting and potentially lucrative betting opportunity.

Parlay bet example:

GameBet TypeSelectionOdds
Game 1: New York Giants vs. Dallas CowboysMoneylineNew York Giants+200
Game 2: Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay PackersPoint SpreadChicago Bears +7.5-110
Game 3: New England Patriots vs. Miami DolphinsOver/UnderOver 45.5-110

In this example, all three bets must win for the parlay to win. If the Giants win their game, the Bears cover the spread, and the combined score in the Patriots-Dolphins game is over 45.5, the parlay bet wins. If any of these bets lose, the entire parlay loses. The potential payout for a parlay is higher than if you placed each of these bets individually, reflecting the increased risk.

Understanding Sports Betting Odds

math, blackboard, education

Sports betting odds are the heart and soul of sports gambling, as they determine your potential winnings and the likelihood of specific outcomes. There are three main types of odds used to bet on sports: American, Decimal, and Fractional. Each format represents the same probability but is displayed differently, so it’s essential to understand how they work and how to convert between them.

By mastering the art of reading and interpreting odds, you can make more informed decisions and identify valuable betting opportunities. In the following sections, we’ll delve into the specifics of calculating payouts and probabilities, as well as finding value in odds.

Calculating Payouts and Probabilities

Calculating payouts and probabilities is a crucial skill in sports betting, as it allows you to determine your potential winnings and the likelihood of specific outcomes. To calculate payouts, you simply multiply the amount of money wagered by the odds of the bet. For example, if you bet $100 on a team with odds of 2.5, your payout would be $250 (100 x 2.5).

To calculate probabilities, you divide the amount of money wagered by the odds of the bet. For instance, if you bet $100 on a team with odds of 2.5, the probability of winning would be 40% (100/2.5). By understanding these calculations, you can make strategic decisions and maximize your chances of success in sports betting.

Finding Value in Odds

Finding value in odds is all about assessing the probability of an event occurring and comparing it to the odds offered by the bookmaker. If the likelihood of an outcome is higher than what the odds reflect, you’ve found a value bet. To identify these valuable betting opportunities, it’s vital to compare different sportsbooks and lines, as odds can vary between providers.

By shopping around and analyzing the betting market, you can uncover hidden gems and potentially increase your winnings. But remember, sports betting is never a guaranteed win, and even the most carefully researched bets can result in losses. So, always bet responsibly and enjoy the thrill of the game!

Most Popular Sports to Bet on in the US

Sports betting has become a significant part of American culture, with several sports attracting a considerable amount of betting action. Here’s a summary of the most popular sports to bet on in the US:

American Football

American Football, particularly the National Football League (NFL), is the most popular sport to bet on in the US. The Super Bowl, in particular, attracts the most betting action of any single event in American sports.


Basketball, especially the National Basketball Association (NBA), draws a lot of betting interest. The NBA Finals, March Madness (NCAA college basketball tournament), and regular-season games are all popular events to bet on.


Major League Baseball (MLB) also has a dedicated following among sports bettors. The World Series is a highlight, but the long season provides numerous betting opportunities.


While not as traditionally popular as other sports, soccer betting has been on the rise in recent years, particularly on Major League Soccer (MLS) games and international events like the FIFA World Cup.

Horse Racing

Horse racing has a long history of betting in the US. The Triple Crown races – the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes – are the most popular events to bet on.

Other Sports

Other sports like hockey (NHL), auto racing (NASCAR), and golf (PGA) also attract a fair amount of betting action. The popularity of these sports can vary regionally and based on the timing of major events.

How Sports Betting Works at a Vegas (or any other) Casino

Sports betting in a Vegas casino operates in a similar way to other forms of sports betting but with the added atmosphere and excitement of the casino environment. Here’s a basic rundown:

Visit the Sportsbook

In a Vegas casino, the place where you make sports bets is called the sportsbook. It’s usually a designated area with multiple television screens displaying various sports events, betting odds, and information. There are also betting windows where you can place your bets with a cashier, and often self-service betting kiosks as well.

Understand the Betting Board

The betting board displays all the games and events you can bet on. It includes the teams playing, the odds for each team, and the over/under. The board will also display the point spread for games where it’s relevant.

Choose Your Bet

Decide on the type of bet you want to place. This could be a moneyline bet (betting on who will win), a point spread bet (betting on the margin of victory), an over/under bet (betting on the total points scored), or a variety of other bet types.

Place Your Bet

Once you’ve decided on your bet, you go to the betting window and tell the cashier the bet you want to make. You’ll need to provide the specific game (usually identified by a number on the betting board), the type of bet, and the amount you want to wager. The cashier will then give you a betting slip that confirms your wager.

Watch the Game

After placing your bet, you can watch the game either in the sportsbook (if it’s being shown there), elsewhere in the casino, or outside the casino. Many sportsbooks in Vegas offer comfortable seating and food and drink service.

How to Bet on Sports Online

telework, technology, laptop

With the rise of online sportsbooks, betting on your favorite sports has never been more accessible or convenient. You can place wagers from the comfort of your own home or on-the-go using your smartphone or tablet.

But how do you get started with online sports betting? In this section, we’ll guide you through the process of choosing an online sportsbook, depositing and withdrawing funds, and implementing betting strategies to maximize your chances of success.

Whether you’re a seasoned sports bettor or a newcomer to the world of sports gambling, these tips will help you navigate the online betting landscape with confidence.

Choosing an Online Sportsbook

Selecting the right online sportsbook is a critical step in your sports betting journey. To find the perfect platform for your needs, consider factors such as reputation, security, available sports and betting options, user experience, promotions and bonuses, payment options, and customer service. Reading reviews and comparing different sportsbooks can also help you identify the best odds and promotions for your favorite sports and events.

Once you’ve found an online sportsbook that meets your criteria, you can register for an account and start exploring the exciting world of sports betting. Remember to take advantage of any bonuses or promotions available, as these can provide a valuable boost to your betting bankroll.

Depositing and Withdrawing Funds

To start betting on sports online, you’ll need to deposit funds into your sportsbook account. Most online sportsbooks offer a variety of payment methods, including credit cards, debit cards, e-wallets, and bank transfers. Simply choose the method that works best for you and follow the on-screen instructions to add funds to your account.

Withdrawing your winnings is just as easy. Navigate to the withdrawal section of your sportsbook account, select your preferred payment method, and enter the amount you’d like to withdraw. Keep in mind that processing times and fees may vary depending on the sportsbook and payment method, so be sure to review the terms and conditions before initiating a withdrawal.

Betting Strategies and Bankroll Management

Implementing effective betting strategies and practicing responsible bankroll management are key components of a successful sports betting experience. Some popular strategies include flat-betting (betting the same amount on every game), arbitrage betting (taking advantage of different odds between sportsbooks), and hedging (placing multiple bets on the same event to minimize risk).

Effective bankroll management is an important step in any gambling activity. This involves setting a budget for oneself and betting accordingly to ensure that losses are minimized. By setting limits and sticking to them, you can prevent sports betting from negatively impacting your finances and enjoy the excitement of the game without unnecessary stress.

Tips for Successful Sports Betting

So, you’ve learned the basics, explored various bet types, and discovered how to bet on sports online. But how can you maximize your chances of success? The key lies in research and analysis, betting responsibly, and utilizing sports betting tools to make informed decisions.

In the following sections, we’ll provide tips and advice on how to approach these crucial aspects of sports betting, helping you become a more confident and successful bettor. With dedication, patience, and the right strategies, you can enjoy the thrill of sports betting while improving your skills and knowledge.

Research and Analysis

A solid foundation in research and analysis is essential for successful sports betting. This involves studying team and player stats, trends, and news to make informed predictions about game outcomes. Utilize resources such as sports websites, podcasts, and expert opinions to gather information and gain insights into the teams and players you’re betting on.

By analyzing past games and trends, you can identify patterns and factors that may influence future events. This knowledge can help you make more accurate predictions and increase your chances of winning your sports bets.

Betting Responsibly

Sports betting should be an enjoyable pastime, not a source of stress or financial hardship. To bet responsibly, set limits on how much you’re willing to lose and never bet more than you can afford. This approach not only protects your finances but also allows you to enjoy the excitement of sports betting without the worry of potential losses.

When placing bets, remember that there are no guarantees in sports betting, and even the most carefully researched bets can result in losses. By betting within your means and staying disciplined, you can enjoy the thrill of the game and make the most of your sports betting experience.

Utilizing Sports Betting Tools

In today’s digital age, a wealth of sports betting tools are available to help you make more informed decisions and gain an edge in your research. These tools include calculators, tracking software, and comparison sites that can assist with everything from calculating odds and payouts to monitoring line movements and finding the best odds.

By incorporating these tools into your sports betting routine, you can streamline your research process and make more accurate predictions. As you gain experience and develop your skills, these tools can become invaluable assets in your quest for sports betting success.

Sports Betting and Taxes

In many jurisdictions, including the United States, sports betting winnings are considered taxable income. This means that if you win money from betting on sports, you are required to report that income on your taxes. Here’s a basic rundown of how sports betting taxes work:

Reporting Winnings

All gambling winnings, including sports betting, must be reported on your tax return. This includes both cash and non-cash winnings. Even if you don’t receive a tax form, you are still required to report all your winnings.

Form W-2G

In the U.S., a sportsbook (or other gambling institution) will provide you with a Form W-2G if you win a certain amount of money or if you win a bet with very high odds. This form reports the amount of your winnings to you and the IRS.

Tax Rate

The tax rate on gambling winnings depends on your total income. The federal tax rate can range from 10% to 37%. However, you should check the current tax brackets because they can change.

Deducting Losses

You can deduct your gambling losses, but only up to the amount of your winnings. You cannot deduct more than you won. To do this, you need to itemize your deductions instead of taking the standard deduction. You should keep accurate records of your gambling activities to substantiate your losses.

State Taxes

In addition to federal taxes, you may also be required to pay state taxes on your gambling winnings. The rate will depend on the state in which you live.

Professional Gamblers

If you are a professional gambler, the rules are slightly different. You can deduct more expenses, like travel and research expenses, but you also may be subject to self-employment tax.

Remember, tax laws can be complex and vary from country to country, and even state to state. It’s always a good idea to consult with a tax professional if you have significant gambling winnings.

Sports Gambling FAQs

How to make $100 a day sports betting?

Are you ready to make $100 a day from sports betting? Follow the strategies above and you’ll be well on your way! From betting on big moneyline favorites to using gambling systems, there’s something for everyone.

How do you make money from sports betting?

Become a profitable sports bettor by seeking out betting advantages, tracking your bets and taking advantage of the best lines available.

Utilize multiple sportsbooks, focus on smaller markets, establish a bankroll and stay disciplined to maximize your profits from sports betting.