How to Bet on Sports: A Guide for Beginners
About $8.5 billion was bet on the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament in 2019. Everyone seemed to be in an office pool or bet on at least one major upset to happen.
Did you miss out on the fun? It’s time to learn how to bet on sports!
Betting on sports is a great way to learn about a sport and take your enjoyment to another level. You’re rooting for a team not because you like them, but because you can win, too.
It’s not just basketball that you can bet on. You can bet on anything from Formula 1 racing to hockey. You can even bet on golf.
Read on to learn the top sports betting tips and the basics of sports betting.
Sports Betting Is Legal, Right?
There’s one big question you probably have about sports betting. Is it legal to bet on sports in the United States? Here’s a quick rundown on the legalities of sports betting.
At the federal level, sports betting is legal. You can thank the State of New Jersey for that. Sports betting used to be legal until 1992, when the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was passed.
This law made it illegal for states to license bets on professional and amateur sports. The only exceptions were horse racing, dog racing, and jai alai.
For states that already had sports betting in place, they could be grandfathered in to continue sports betting. Nevada was the only state where sports betting remained legal. A few other states had extremely limited forms of sports betting.
New Jersey first sought to overturn the law in 2011, when voters approved a referendum to allow sports betting. Sports leagues fought this change, and a court battle ensued for the next 7 years.
The case reached the United States Supreme Court in 2018, where the Court ruled 6-3 that the law was unconstitutional.
That paved the way for legal sports betting. So, that makes it legal in all 50 states, right?
Not so fast.
It’s up to states to pass laws to legalize sports betting. To date, 18 states, plus the District of Columbia legalized sports betting.
If you want to legally bet on sports, even online, you have to physically be in a state where sports betting is legal.
How to Bet on Sports
Once you get how the sports betting laws work (it’s complicated), you can start betting on sports. The first thing you need to do is have a bankroll. This is your betting budget.
Gambling can turn into a serious problem if you’re not careful. A sports betting budget keeps you in check.
Find a Sports Betting Site
Your next step is to find a bookie. Ok, you don’t need to find some random guy to place your bets. There are plenty of options for you.
DraftKings, William Hill, FanDuel, Bet365, and UniBet are some of the options. Casinos have online betting sites, too. Keep in mind that these sites might not be licensed to operate in your state.
After you learn which sites are in your state, you should take a look at the sign-up bonuses and see which ones have the best offers available.
Pick Your Sport
You’ll want to figure out which sports you want to bet on first. It’s best to start out with a sport that you’re familiar with.
If you already follow soccer and know the teams, bet on a match or two. Follow football? Then, bet on football.
Understanding Football Bets
There are a few types of football bets. The most familiar way to bet is by betting on the point spread. This is where one team is favored to win. The underdog is given points to make the bet more challenging.
You add the point spread to the underdog’s score. If that number is higher than the favorite’s score, the underdog wins.
Another bet that you might know is the money line. This is the most basic sports bet, where you bet on a team to win. There’s no handicap or point spread. If your team wins, you win the bet.
As you start betting on sports, you might get a notification to place a bet while a game is taking place. This is called an in-game bet. These bets happen in all sports.
For instance, if the New England Patriots are behind by a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, there could be an in-game bet for New England to tie the game or win.
What Are Those Random Bets?
Have you seen bets where you can bet on the coin toss or the first person to score a touchdown? That’s a prop bet. This is a bet on anything that can happen during a game.
There are also future bets. You need to guess the score in a given quarter at halftime.
Betting on the Ponies
Do you want to watch The Kentucky Derby and really want to understand what’s going on? If so, you need to learn the basics of betting on horse racing.
Horses race for win, place, or show. These are the first three horses that finish. There’s an exacta bet, where you bet on the first two horses to finish.
A trifecta bet is on the top three horses to finish, and a superfecta is the first four horses to finish. If you want to increase your odds, box the bet. The horses can finish in any order.
Are You Ready to Bet on Sports?
Now that you learned how to bet on sports, do you feel ready to get started? It’s a fun way to get involved in sports and learn about sports like horse racing.
The best part is that with online betting, you can sit at home all day, watch sports, and make money with smart bets. Of course, you still have to manage your bankroll and bet responsibly.
Want to stay informed about sports before you place your bets? Head over to the Sports section of this site.