The Supreme Court turned the entire gaming world on its head in May, when it ruled that the federal government could not tell states whether or not they could allow sports gaming. This ruling opened up the notion of sports gaming as entertainment and revenue opportunities for states. As more and more states work towards sports gaming legalization, many people want to gamble on sports that have never placed a sports bet before. Not sure what to do or what certain terms mean? Here is a quick guide to help you make the most of sports betting.
The Beginning Terms
When you place a bet on a sports team, you have to place it with someone or something. If you place your bet with a person, they can be called a bookie or a bookmaker. There are also sportsbooks. Either the bookie or the sportsbook is responsible for taking bets and paying off winners. The chances that something will happen (a given outcome) are called odds or lines. Usually, odds are represented as a moneyline, which shows you how much each bet will pay. If the moneyline is negative, that team is favored to win. If the moneyline is positive, it means the team is considered the underdog, and should lose. For example, if you are a Saints fan, and you see that the moneyline for the Saints-Cowboys game looks something like this: Saints (-110) at Cowboys (+150). These numbers mean that on a $100 bet, you would make $110 by betting on the Saints, and $150 on the Cowboys. In other words, betting on the underdog can bring you more money, if your underdog wins.
Favorites, Underdogs, and Longshots
Speaking of favorites and underdogs, the term favorite means simply that your particular team is favored to win. If a favorite is expected to win by a lot, the favorite may be called a lock. The underdog is the team expected to lose. The longshot’s chances of winning are –well—long. Handicappers are people who analyze sports and discuss the odds of a particular team winning or losing.
Placing a Bet
Usually, sports gamblers are playing the moneyline, which means they are playing the odds a team will win or lose. However, a lot of gamblers also play the spread. The points spread means that gamblers will be betting on whether or not a team can get to a particular number of points. For example, if the points spread for the Saints-Cowboys game is 7, and the Saints win by 8, that is called covering the spread.
If you bet on a favorite in the spread, you are laying the points, if you bet on the underdog, you are taking the points. Bet spreads are popular in football and basketball, because they usually have higher point totals.
There are other types of sports bets. If you play a totals bet, you are betting on the combined points that are scored by two teams in a game. You are not actually betting on the winners and losers of a game, instead you are betting on whether the combined score of the two teams will be higher than the value the sportsbook sets (betting the over) or lower than the sportsbook sets (betting the under). You may also enjoy placing prop bets, which means you are betting on something that is not directly related to the game. Many people enjoy placing prop bets during the Super Bowl, such as how long it takes to sing the National Anthem.
If you’re willing to take a larger risk, you may want to become a parlay bettor. Parlay betting means that you bet using more than one wager, which means you win all—or nothing. While parlay bets are popular because the payouts are bigger, you need to make sure you understand there is no partial win before you start wagering.
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