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Sports Betting 101: Everything Beginners Need to Know about Betting

The mainstreaming of sports betting has taken place in the last few years. American popular culture gradually came to terms with its anti-gambling stigma, opening the door for a billion-dollar sports betting industry. And so has the rest of the world. Millions of sports enthusiasts will attempt to bet for the first time now that this type of gambling is becoming increasingly legalized. When you’re unfamiliar with the terminology, where do you begin? Start taking notes, and get ready to learn some basic stuff about sports betting. 

Favorites vs. Underdogs

Oddsmakers release betting lines on games by identifying the favorite and underdog.

Favorites are teams that are expected to win, while underdogs are expected to lose. Betting on favorites means you are risking less but can also win less.

However, betting on underdogs means that the chances of winning are low but the winnings would be much higher. 

Now let’s get into some bet types.


You can place a bet on a favorite or an underdog by one of two methods. As its name implies, a point spread is a wager on the victory margin. All sports offer spreads, but they’re most popular with bettors who follow sports with higher scoring percentages, such as football and basketball.


Secondly, you can bet on a favorite or an underdog by opting for the moneyline. It uses American odds to calculate the payout and is based solely on who wins the game. There are moneylines available for all sports, but they are most commonly used for games with lower scores, such as baseball, hockey, and soccer.


Betting lines set by the oddsmakers include not only the favorites and underdogs but also the combined points for both teams. Typically, this type of bet is called the over/under or total. You can then place a wager on whether or not the total will go over or under the bookmaker’s line.

How to Place a Bet

There has never been a time when sports bettors have more options than now – thanks to the expansion of legalized sports betting throughout the world. There are numerous state-by-state trackers that can tell you if sports betting is legal in your state. 

Several US states, including Colorado, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and West Virginia, have legalized both online and mobile wagering.

Some European countries such as Cyprus, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Iceland, Luxembourg, and Serbia also decided to legalize sports betting. Further, a lot of Asian Belt countries allow online gambling.

How Much Should You Wager?

Risk only what you can afford to lose is a good rule to follow when deciding how much you should bet. It takes time to master sports betting. Bettors will have their ups and downs on a regular basis. Therefore, flat betting is recommended. If you have a set amount of money to play with, then you will only put up 1% to 5% of your bankroll in each game. In other words, if you have $100 at the start, you should no more than risk $5 per game.