How to bet on sports
The rules of how all of this works initially may seem complex but once looked into it’s actually pretty simple. This guide will help if you want to know how to bet on sports online. What sites to look for, an understanding of how betting works and how it all differs between sports. With the basic rules down anyone can bet like a pro.
Top legal sportsbooks
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How to bet on sports in the US
For tips on how to bet on sports, we must first know which US online gambling sites to choose. Secondly, we need to look at the different types of betting and their pros and cons. Here’s a list of all sportsbooks in the US.
Time needed: 10 minutes.
How to bet on sports and understand different types of betting
- Find a good and reputable sportsbook
The first thing you need to know is where to go and how to place a sports bet. Most will probably start with an online sportsbook where you can place bets on various games. Some notable ones include BETMGM or PointsBET. People who like fantasy sports can look into Fanduel and Draftkings for their sportsbooks which tie into their fantasy leagues. Learn more about the pros and cons of each site to find the one that is right for you. When looking, consider their terms, payouts and what sports and teams they have available.
- Find a local sportsbook
If for whatever reason you don’t feel comfortable using an online sportsbook then consider using a local sportsbook. When choosing this path make sure that they’re someone that you can trust; maybe they’re someone that you already know or have a good reputation as a sportsbook. A good option could be to check a local sports bar, there’s potentially a sportsbook there that works with customers. A sportsbook will collect money for bets from multiple people and then payout after the game is over. Remember though that the smaller group can mean less potential money than at an online sports book. Once again, it can’t be stated enough to make sure that this person is reputable.
- Consider Casinos
Another option if you don’t like online gambling is a casino with a sportsbook. Depending on which state you live in gambling might be illegal but if possible you could consider taking a trip to somewhere where it’s legal. Doing this also gets around the question of how to bet on sports online legally, which can also be dependent on local laws. A physical sportsbook has the advantage of you being able to choose how active the location is. If you want a smaller crowd simply go to a smaller casino and vice versa for a larger one. Learn how to gamble online for the best results at our dedicated guide.
- Points Spread
First consider betting on points spread where you bet not just on that a team will win or lose but how much they win or lose by. For example, let’s say the odds going into a game are Yankees (-2) and Twins (+2). By betting for the Yankees to cover the spread you’re not just saying they’ll win but that they win by at least two runs, if they win by one you lose. Betting over the spread is great for matchups where there is seemingly little chance of one team winning. You can still bet on the underdog and have a chance at winning if they simply do better than expected. The downside is you care less about the result of the game than you do the score.
- Money Spread
The simplest option is the money spread or who will outright win the game regardless of the score. This option is better if you think the point spread is too narrow, just place a bet on whom you think will win and get a payout based on that.
The over/under bet looks at what the total score will be of the two teams combined. Who wins doesn’t actually matter. All that matters is whether the total points scored are higher or lower than the betting number. For reference, if the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Rangers play and the over/under is 6 you bet on whether the two teams combine for six goals. It doesn’t matter if the Lightning score 7 and the Rangers score 0 that’s still a win for the over just as much if the score was 4-3.
This kind of betting is more concerned with knowledge of the teams and how they score than on which team is better. If you know both teams are high offense teams you might want to go with the over. If they’re more defense-orientated or not good on offense consider the under.
How to bet on different sports
Remember different sports have different advantages and disadvantages for betting. Learn these and familiarize yourself with the sport of your choice. In addition to learning more about the teams, also keep track of injuries to players and weather conditions on game days. Here are ten of the biggest sports to bet on and how they should be approached.
Betting for football splits between the NFL and college football. With games once a week you have the most time to consider your bets and with the popularity of the sport the highest potential payouts especially for large events like the Super Bowl. Some sportsbooks allow you to place bets on individual quarters if you’re daring enough.
Like football, you can bet either for college, the NBA or the WNBA. Some bets have the potential to be huge such as March Madness (albeit very risky). With the NBA you especially want to keep track of star players as sometimes they may sit out games which should heavily impact your bet.
More than any other sport baseball provides you the most options with every team playing most days of the season. It also provides the best opportunity for upsets with even the worst teams winning at least 40 games a season. It’s the ideal league if you want to make a lot of small bets rather than a few big ones.
🏑 Ice Hockey
The NHL is the primary focus for hockey bets, especially with the Stanley Cup playoffs. Like basketball teams play 2-3 times a week generally which should provide many opportunities for regular bets.
When betting for soccer there are a number of leagues and teams to consider between MLS, the leagues throughout Europe and the international games. The good thing about the sport is that it doesn’t really have an off season, so you can always find bets year round.
There are over 200 ITF tournaments annually, but tennis betting focuses primarily on the four grand slam tournaments (US Open, Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon). The star power of the top players makes tennis one of the most popular to bet on point spreads.
Like tennis, golf has many tournaments annually that you can keep track of but most of the focus is on the four majors (The Masters, PGA Championship, US Open and Open Championship). The recent LIV Golf tour is also worth keeping an eye on as a new competitor to the established PGA Tour.
While not as popular as other sports Horse Racing is still a more than viable option for bettors. The main focus is on the main triple crown races headlined by the Kentucky Derby. One of the perks of horse racing is that if you can be in attendance many races allow you to bet in the arena.
Betting in darts often involved betting on aspects more than just the result of the match focusing on the sets within the match. For this you may need to be more knowledgeable about the sport than betting in most other sports.
With boxing, you can bet not just on the fight but the number of rounds in the fight and often times that can be more important. While big fights are increasingly few and far between the potential money from them can still be massive.
Legalized sports betting states:
- Arizona sports betting
- Maryland sports betting
- NY sports betting
- NJ sports betting
- Kansas sports betting
- MA sports betting
- TN sports betting
- Louisiana online sports betting
- Ohio sports betting
- Oklahoma sports betting
- Missouri sports betting
- Iowa online sports betting
- Minnesota sports betting
- NC sports betting
- Florida sports betting
All sign-up bonuses by state:
FAQ How to bet on sports in the US
A push is the result of a score matching the over/under and results in a refund for all involved.
No, if your state bans sports betting then even online it’s not possible though there are some exceptions. Fantasy sports such as DraftKings and Fanduel can still operate in these states and betting on horse racing may still be allowed.
A parlay is when you make two or more bets and have to win all of them to win. By doing this your at more risk but there is also more potential for big earnings
Depending on the bookmaker, yes. If the game goes differently than expected they can change betting lines, and you can make in game bets based on the new betting lines. For example if it’s obvious that the over/under is going over within the first few minutes of the game they can raise the line and start taking new bets.
Every bit of information that you have access to. The team or player’s success recently, their success all year, what’s been going on in the news, your gut feeling, all of it should be considered when making a bet. Use every bit of information before you place your offer.
You can read our full guide on no-risk matched betting here and how it works.