How to Bet on Sports: Complete Beginners Guide

How to Bet on Sports.

Betting has grown past the shunned taboo it was several decades ago. Today, it’s a billion-dollar legal industry that gives millions of sports fans a shot at making decent money.

However, if you’re new to sports betting, or even your first time to bet on sports you might want to take a step back and learn the fundamentals before you join the party.

This beginners betting guide on how to bet on sports will help you understand the different types of sports bets as well as;

  • Know how to read betting odds
  • Know how to read betting lines
  • Understand sports betting terminology
  • Understand the concept of bankroll management.
  • Which sportsbooks to choose when betting on sports.

What is a sportsbook and do I need one to bet on sports?

Sportsbooks are companies that take bets on sporting events.

Sportsbooks can be used to place bets on games such as football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, tennis, golf, boxing, motorsports, horse racing and many other types. Most legal sportsbooks also have websites and apps to allow people to wager money on other things such as fantasy leagues, daily contests, and even casino games.

They also tend to provide information regarding your favourite teams’ performance and the odds of winning based on a variety of factors.

Some of the factors include: location, weather conditions, player performance, and various other factors which can help you make a smart bet that’s right for you.

What are the most common types of sports bets?

There are many different types of of sports bets including parlays, teasers, and prop bets. In this beginners guide to sports betting, we will briefly explain the most common types.

Straight Bets

Straight bets are single bets on single games. These are as basic as bets get and include;


This is the most straightforward of all straight bets, i.e., a bet on which team wins the game. It has no conditions or point spread. For instance, in a game between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears, a money line bet will involve selecting which of the two teams you think will win the game.

Point spreads

A point spread is a margin of victory. In this bet, oddsmakers determine a point spread which the favorite has to win by more than. The underdog can also lose by less than that amount or win the game.


An over/under in sports betting is a wager on the total combined number of points from both teams in a game. It’s also called “the total.”

For this bet, you can either bet over or under.

For over, the bet is won if the combined score exceeds the points total and lost if it is less than the points total. On the other hand, under is won if the combined score is less than the points total and lost if it is more.

For instance, in a game between the Raptors and the Bulls, you may have a point total of 215. Over will be a bet that more points will be scored than the total, while under wagers that there will be fewer points than the total. If the total score is 215, then a push occurs. In this case, there is no win or loss, and your money is refunded.

Futures Bets

These are high-risk bets that wager on a season’s outcome. You can bet on who will win the Championship, individual award winners, how many games an NFL team will win this season, etc. For instance, a wager on who will be the MLS top scorer is considered a future bet. Similarly, a wager on LA FC winning the league is also a future bet.

Parlay Bets

These are a string of bets that need to come true where all the individual bets must win in order for the parlay to win. For example, a bet that the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, and Milwaukee Bucks will all win their weekend games is a parlay bet. All teams have to win for the wager to be won. If, say, the Nets and Miami win but the Bucks lose, the bet is lost.

Prop Bets

A prop bet is a wager on a something to occur (or not occur) during the game, and unlike some of the previous types of bets, the final score isn’t often a deciding factor in if you win or lose. There are too many to list but you can bet on how many rebounds an individual basketball player will have in a game, who will score the first touchdown in a football game, or even if there will be a hole in one or not during a golf tournament.

What is a bankroll and why is it important in sports betting?

Before you start betting on sports, you need to figure out how much money you’re willing to lose before putting it into your betting account. This amount will be your bankroll.

Managing your Bankroll

Once you have your bankroll, you need to determine the size of your individual bets. This is important because you shouldn’t wager all your money in one bet. Instead, you want to divide your bankroll into smaller amounts and allocate them to each wager.

There are three bet sizing strategies;

Risk-averse: Typically wager 1-2% of their bankroll per bet

Risk-neutral: Wager 3% of their bankroll per bet

Risk loving: An aggressive wager of between 4% and 5% of their bankroll

As the season wears on, your bankroll will change, either by winning or losing bets. This change will necessitate a recalibration of your betting strategy.

For instance, if you had an initial bankroll of $1,000 that has grown to $1500 after a month or two of placing $50 wagers, you generally have several options at your disposal. You can either keep betting $50 per wager since it seems to be working pretty well, or change your sizing strategy to reflect the size of your current bankroll.

How to read betting odds

Successful sports betting depends on your ability to read odds accurately. Fortunately, betting odds aren’t a complicated affair and not just language for the experienced sports bettors. Here are the most common types of betting odds to understand as a beginner.

American odds

These are also known as Moneyline odds and are typically used in the United States and Canada. They typically reference $100 to show how much a wager is worth.

For instance, in an NFL match between the Rams and Bengals where the latter are the underdogs, the odds may look like this:

Rams -145
Bengals +120

This means you as the sports bettor needs to wager $110 on Rams to make $100 in profit if they win. On the other hand, a wager of $100 on Bengals will make you $120 if they win the game.

Fractional odds

Fractional odds are written as 3/2, 8/1, 5/4, etc. So, if a team has 3/2 winning odds and you bet $100 on them, the wager will bring back $150.

Decimal odds

Decimal odds represent the amount one wins for every $1 wagered. For example, your initial stake is 1.00, and odds begin from 1.10 onwards. To calculate your payout, multiply your stake with the odds. So, if the odds of a particular team are rated at 2.0, then betting $100 will give you a payout worth $200.

Live odds

Many of the previous types of bets can also be bet after the game begins. Live betting will give you constantly updating moneyline, spread, and total prices as the action is going.

Numerous states have legalized online sports betting. So, if you want to get started, all you need do is find a legal sportsbook, verify that you’re inside such a state, and register a new account before making your first deposit. The whole process is relatively straightforward.

Which sportsbooks are the best to start betting on sports online?

When starting to bet on sports, the Internet is full of betting sites to choose from. You could spend countless hours researching the hundreds of sportsbook options by reading reviews, pricing information and detailed information about each sportsbook.

However, here at Betsperts, the home of the #1 social network for sports bettors, our betting experts have spent countless hours searching for the very best online sportsbooks in the United States.

To help you filter through all the noise and get to the best sportsbook for you. We’ve curated a list of the top promotions from around the industry, including free bets, cash back offers. Here are our top 5 favorites.

1. Caesars Sportsbook

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The Caesars Sportsbook promo code is the perfect way to find betting opportunities on your favourite sports. With this promo code, you can bet on a variety of markets, including NBA, NHL, soccer and college basketball NCAA Tournament action. Get started today with our Caesars Sportsbook promo code.

2. BetRivers Sportsbook

BetRivers Online Sportsbook is a well-known leader in the online sports betting industry and betting market. This sportsbook offers a wide range of games and sports betting options.

BetRivers sign up bonus is one of the easiest ways to get started with BetRivers. With a first deposit match up of $250, there’s plenty of money to bet with. Free bets are also available, giving new customers an excellent chance to learn how to bet.

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3. BetMGM Sportsbook

MGM takes its famous brand to the world of sports betting, and the results are a solid sportsbook with risk free bets as a welcome bonus.

New customers can use the BetMGM bonus codes to receive an incredible risk-free first sports wager up to $1000. If your wager wins, then you keep all of the money, but even if it losses, you will get your whole stack back as free bets!

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4. FanDuel Sportsbook

FanDuel Sportsbook provides new online sportsbook customers with a risk-free bet worth up to $1,000 for signing up for a FanDuel account.

This offer is a great way to try out FanDuel without risking real money. You can play for fun or use it to gamble on sports events. There is also a risk-free bet option for the casino, racebook, and daily fantasy sports products.

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5. Draftkings Sportsbook

Draftkings is a popular brand for daily Fantasy Sports. It offers a wide variety of betting options for both Popular and Less-Popular sports. Draftkings offers a secure platform and mobile betting app that allows sports bettors to remain connected no mater where they may be.

DraftKings offers a special promotion for new players of up to $1,050. A $50 free bet is offered with a $5 minimum bet size. Players also qualify for a 20% bonus up to $1,000.

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This guide on how to bet on sports is intended for entertainment purposes and adult users only. Call 1-800-GAMBLER if you have a gambling problem


Dan Weiner

Hailing from Atlanta and attending college at the University of Texas, Dan is passionate about sports, particularly college football and soccer. He's a diehard Atlanta pro sports and Texas Longhorns fan. He likes every sport and will watch anything and everything the weirder the better. He joined Betsperts after an 11 year career in television production at ESPN.

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