With sports betting now legal in many countries, millions of sports fans are now looking to enter the betting market for the first time. Here are useful tips on how to start betting on sports.
1. Favorites and Underdogs
The first thing the oddsmakers do when they release a betting line on a game is to decide which team should be the favorite and which team should be the underdog.
The favorite is expected to win the game and gets a minus sign next to its odds. The underdog is expected to lose and gets a plus sign. If the game is a toss-up, sportbooks will open it as a “pick” or “pick’em.”
There are two different ways to make a bet on a favorite or an underdog. The first is the point spread, which is a wager on the margin of victory. While a favorite gives points, an underdog gets points.
Spreads are available for all sports, especially football and basketball.
Besides spreads, the second way to bet on a favorite or an underdog is the moneyline, which is solely based on which team will win the game. Favorites are given a minus designation like -150, -200 or -500. A favorite is -200 means that you have to risk $200 to win $100. If the favorite wins, you get $100. If the favorite loses, you are out $200. Since favorites are expected to win, you assume more risk as betting on them.
Underdogs are given a plus designation like +150, +200 or +500. An underdog is +200 means that if you bet $100 on them and they win the game, you get $200. If they lose the game, you lose the $100 that you risked. Since underdogs are expected to lose, there is more of a reward as betting on them.
Moneylines are available for all sports, but they are predominantly used when betting on baseball, hockey and soccer.