A Beginners Guide On How To Bet On Sports

October 5, 2021

A Beginners Guide On How To Bet On Sports

Becoming a good sports bettor isn’t as hard as the movies make it out to be. Sure the likelihood of winning hundreds or thousands of dollars is low, but it’s not all about the money. Any beginner should start their bets low until they find their feet. Some people continue to bet low even though they are on a winning streak! It’s all about the rush!

Today, we will walk you through how to bet, what platforms types you can choose from, and the structure of sports betting. This is so you can feel confident in your ability to play when you finally lay the chips down.

What Is Sports Betting?

What Is Sports Betting

Without a doubt, sports betting is one of the largest communities of gamblers around the world. The idea of sports betting is simple: a spectator places a wager (which is more commonly known as a bet) on the outcome of the sport in question. 

Although betting on sports is not anything new, the internet has allowed us to bet on more games, more sporting events, and through more channels. We no longer have to watch the match to make an accurate prediction. All we need are our phones.

Since 2000, classic bookmakers (also known as bookies) have grown their business from the high street to the online world. This means you don’t have to worry about a company taking your money and running with it; these online gambling sites come with history and respect.

If you don’t know what a bookmaker is, let us explain. The bookmaker is the betting agency; they are sometimes known as sportsbooks or simply bookies. They can be a whole company or a single person. 

Their job is to offer you the odds in a game. Once the bookmaker and the bettor have agreed on the wager, it is the bookmaker’s job to follow the sport and contact you if you win or lose. You cannot change the wager once it has been made, but some companies allow you to create multiple wagers on the same game. 

Bookmakers earn their money from your failed bets. To ensure their business doesn’t go under from too many successful bets, they have a “balanced books” system. The balanced books procedure often includes making their punters pay a commission to play, almost like a deposit you cannot get back. 

This means that if you win, you have still paid a small fee to help the business. Don’t think of it as a scam or a trick, though! The money you take home will be larger than what you paid in. 

Now that these bookmakers have grown to an online platform, you can place your bet as soon as you turn on the TV to watch the game. You no longer have to plan in advance what your bet might be; you can wait until the last minute to way up your odds.

The online world has made betting so much more fun. You can bet with your friends as you all join together on the couch, beers in hand! No forethought is needed.

The Benefits Of Sport Betting

The Benefits Of Sport Betting

You might think that betting doesn’t have much thought behind it, but the money you spend can do a world of good to you and the players you support!

Most exciting way to enjoy sports

For many people, betting on sports is the most enjoyable way to participate in the games. There are so many sports games out in the world that you cannot possibly have a passion for them all. Your friends or family might be super interested in a sport that you simply don’t care about. To help you enjoy the game as much as your viewing buddies do, placing a bet can get you invested in the rules, fouls, and skills.

If you already enjoy the sport you want to bet on, then that euphoric feeling of winning will be doubly strong!

Helping the sporting businesses

Okay, so big games like the NFL don’t need more money coming their way, but sports with a smaller demographic will get direct revenue from your bets!

Studies have shown that games which are close in likeness to betting odds are more likely to be viewed by the audience. The gamblers who aren’t watching but have their notifications on, begin to realize that they might win their bet. Everything is still to play for, but luck is on their side. Because they might win some money, the bettors are more likely to watch the match!

Able to bet at the comfort of your own home 

As we have said before, the new age of the internet has allowed us to bet without having to leave our homes. This is perfect for casual watching and last-minute decisions. This new ability has changed the landscape of gambling dramatically

Once upon a time, you would make your bet in the week and hope that nothing changed when gameday arrived. You might look at the pitch and see your star player had been swapped out for an injury, which completely ruins your odds!

Now, betting has turned into a fast-paced decision that can be made with just a click of a button. These types of bets are known as “live bets,” and they are considered the favored way to gamble. 

With so much choice at your fingertips, betting with your friends or by yourself is super easy. You can have friends over for a game, and each person takes a random bet, so all of you are gambling against each other! This ability to make small bets whenever you want means silly games and dramatic wagers even more enjoyable!

The Different Types Of Sports Betting

The Different Types Of Sports Betting

We have talked a lot about live betting, but there are more ways for you to enjoy the gamble. We will go into more detail about live betting and introduce you to exchange betting and fantasy sports betting, too! Each one gives you a new way to experience your favorite sports!

Live betting

Also known as in-game betting, live betting is the most popular form of gambling for sports bettors. It is quick pace and easy, allowing you to place your bets as quickly as you can move your fingers. You can make these bets even when the game is in play, but the obvious winner will give you a lower payout as the scores progress. The idea is that you will want to place your bet as early as possible, but you have the ability to wait until a lead becomes more apparent.

Unfortunately, not every game or even every sport can produce a live bet. The bookies have to keep on top of live bets and change the odds as the game progresses. If there isn’t a large audience, then they will not be interested in keeping up with the game.

When you make a live bet, there are a couple of strategies that you should consider.

First, you might want to create a pre-game bet first; these offer bigger payouts but give you less control throughout the game. If everything turns sour for your live bet, this pre-game one can act as your insurance.

Second, we recommend you have an in-time live stream available. This means you will get all the information as it comes and not a second later. Remember that the bookies will have the fastest live streams for the game and change their odds as soon as possible. Watch the bookie updates too! Their information can help you calculate the winnings.

Thirdly, if you are taking your betting seriously, you should look up the statistics of the game and the teams before you start the match. See which players are going head to head, how they have performed recently, and what they are good at. This information will help you predict the game and roll with the punches.

Exchange betting

Exchange betting is the same as regular betting; however, there are no bookies in the picture. Normally, when you make a bet, you “back” a team, player, or score. You think something will happen and put money on the thing happening.

The bookmakers then put down the same bet, but for that event to not happen. This is called laying. Usually, only the bookmakers can lay, and the gamblers can back, but exchange betting allows the bettor to lay too.

Essentially, the platform will tell you the odds, but you bet against the community rather than the platform.

Typically a bookie will tell you the odds for one team to win and the other team to win, however, exchange betting will give you 4 options instead of 2. 2 options to back and 2 options to lay; there is one back and one lay option per team. 

The backer will be allowed to offer their betting amount for the odds. The layer can either agree to the proposal or make a new one. The bet is only confirmed once a backer and layer can agree.

If you choose to become a backer, then this process will be the same as traditional gambling. The only difference is that you have to wait for someone to pick your proposal and agree to it.

If you choose to become a layer, you will have a list of backers hoping you pick them. You can do some research before agreeing or suggesting amends to their bet.

Fantasy sport betting

Fantasy sport betting is a whole different kettle of fish. Instead of betting on a player or a team or the outcome of a game, you instead create a fantasy sports team. This team earns points from their real-life games. For example, you may think a striker for a soccer team is amazing, but the team’s goalkeeper needs some work. In your fantasy team, you can pick your favorite striker and add a goalkeeper from a different soccer club, creating the teams as you see fit. 

This fantasy element gives you more control over your team and makes you feel like a manager as you swap players and strategies against your competitors.

Betting on the fantasy game is another new concept. You can join tournaments with strangers and friends over a fixed period of time. The team with the best scores at the end of the tournament wins the prize pool.

Another way you can bet is to single out another team and play against them.

Depending on the sport you choose and the tournaments played in real life will affect how you can play the fantasy bet. This growing entertainment is the favorite choice for knowledgeable viewers and gaming fanatics!

The Structure Of Sports Betting

The Structure Of Sports Betting

No matter which type of betting you choose to participate in, all of them follow the same three-part structure, which consists of selection, stake, and odds. Classic bets, fantasy bets, online bets, and any other bet you can think of will follow this structure. Once you wrap your head around these points of structure, you will be able to take on any bet!


Every bet will require you to make a section; whether it’s which team will win, how much they will win by, or the overall score, you will need to make a choice. You cannot simply bet that one of the two teams will win; there has to be a specific outcome, there has to be a chance you will lose.


“Stake” is the betting term for how much money you want to bet with. If you choose to bet $10, then the stake is $10. High-stakes games are ones where you have to pay a high figure. They are more dramatic and can give you massive wins, or they might take a huge chunk of money away from you. 

The stakes are always up to you, however, some companies will have a minimum or maximum bet allowance. This is to make sure they can earn money and to stop you from losing all of yours. Normally the range is wide, so you can place whatever bet you like.


So far, the selection and the stakes have been easy concepts. They are the parts of gambling that most people are already familiar with. The odds, however, can be a little trickier.

The idea behind the odds is, “how likely is that to happen.” Let’s say a player needs to throw their basketball into a hoop, and the bookie tells you that the odds are 1 in 20. This means that after 20 throws, one will make it. This is all to do with statistics. A better player might have odds like 1 in 1 or 2 in 3. 

The statistics will be formed from the player’s current gameplay, historical gameplay, and opponents. All the maths is done for you, and you don’t need to know how this figure has arisen; you simply need to know the odds.

The bigger the odds are against your bet, the more money you will win if the events play out in your favor. 

Using our odds above, the player with a 1 / 20 odds might need a $5 bet with a $300 return because they are unlikely to score. The player with 1/1 odds might require a $10 bet with a $5 return because they are so good at scoring.

Sports Betting Odds Explained

Sports Betting Odds Explained

We have already touched on what “odds” means, but just because you understand the concept doesn’t mean you know how to bet with it. Here we will show you a simple betting formula to help you see the good bets and the bad ones. The more you bet, the more you will be able to sift out the bad choices, but for now, a little maths can’t hurt.

Determine whether a wager is worth it or not 

Knowing the value of the bet will help you determine if you can make money on it. If you don’t bet for value, you might be betting for the most likely outcome. Although the most likely outcome might give you a stronger likelihood of winning, it won’t give you a good profit. 

The best profits come from understanding value. For example, if you flip a coin, you have a 50% chance of it landing on heads and a 50% chance of it landing on tails. If the bookmaker says that heads offer a 3.00 value and tails offer a 1.50 value, that means that placing a wager of $1 on heads will give you a $3 return, and on tails a $1.50 return.

If you were going for the likelihood of winning, you wouldn’t know which side to choose, but if you aim for value, then you know that heads will give you a better profit.

Calculated using relevant odds

When the likelihood of winning is a little less obvious than 50 / 50, there is a way to help you figure out if the value is good and probable. This calculation uses the odds and enables you to determine if the value is positive or negative compared to it.

Going back to the coin example, our bookies gave heads a value of 3.00. To calculate the implied probability, we need to follow this equation:

1 / Odds

However, everything is easier to understand as a percentage, so we need to add another step:

(1 / Odds) x 100 = ?

For heads, this is:

(1 / 3) x 100 = 33.33%

Therefore the implied probability of getting heads is 33.33%. However, know that getting heads is actually 50% likely. Because the actual probability is 50% and therefore greater than 33.33%, we have found a positive value.

To compare that to tails, the formula is as such:

(1 / 1.5) x 100 = 66.67%

Again the actual probability is 50%. Because 50% is less than the implied probability of 66.67%, we have found a negative value in the tails bet.

Using this simple formula that you can put into your phone’s calculator, you can determine whether your potential wager has a positive or negative value. We suggest only betting on odds with positive values to make sure your profit is worth it.

Identify Values in Sports Betting

The information above is perfect for any type of betting, but sports betting is a little more complicated. Just because there are two teams or players in a match doesn’t mean there is a 50 / 50 chance of winning. 

You need to follow two steps to get an accurate value; first, you need to predict all the variable outcomes; next, you need to follow the equation above. As you can guess, the equation is easy, but there are too many variables to create a genuinely accurate real value. 

The more research you do into the players, the teams, and the sport, the better your real value will be. For now, you should follow the main way to compare competitors, and that is through their rankings. 

Let’s compare two basketball teams as an example. The New Orleans Pelicans could be ranked as the 10th best team in the West, with a record of 16 – 24. They are up against the Chicago Bulls, who are the 9th best team in the East with a 19 – 21 record. The teams look relatively even, but the Bulls have a slight lead.

Judging by this information alone, we know that both teams played 40 matches, the Pelicans won 16 of them, and the Bulls won 19. 

New Orleans Pelicans: (16 / 40) x 100 = 40%

Chicago Bulls: (19 / 40 ) x 100 = 47.5%

To help us make a 100% figure = 40 + 47.5 = 87.5

New Orleans Pelicans: (40 / 87.5) x 100 = 45.7%

Chicago Bulls: (47.5 / 87.5) x 100 = 54.2%

Without any other information to help up, we can see that the Chicago Bulls have a real probability of winning with 54.2%, and New Orleans Pelicans have a 45.7% chance of winning. There is a 0.1% chance of a draw.

Using this information, we can find the negative and positive values. In this match, the bookies have a value of 1.73 on Chicago and 2.10 on New Orleans.

Knowing that Chicago has a real probability of 54.2%, let’s compare the implied probability from the bookmaker.

(1 / 1.73) x 100 = 57.8%

Because the real probability (54.2%) is lower than the implied probability (57.8%), the bookmaker has created a negative value on Chicago.

Now let’s compare New Orleans. Remember, they have a real probability of 45.7%.

(1 / 2.10) x 100 = 47.61%

Again, the real probability (45.7%) is lower than the implied probability (47.61%). The bookmaker has created a second negative value, this time for New Orleans.

Remember that the bookmakers are good at their job. They try to avoid positive values because they know it will cause them to lose money. This means that most bets will have only negative values.

We recommend avoiding bets like these until you find a comparison with a positive value.

How To Place A Sports Bet

How To Place A Sports Bet

It might seem like all bettors know exactly what selection to choose and how much to stake, but in reality, we all only make our own choices.

Use the formula above to pick out which of your choices have positive values, but other than that, you can choose whichever game or type of bet you fancy.

When it comes to the stake, you should only bet what you are willing to lose. Beginning bettors should bet low and stay close to the minimum wager line. When you get more confident, you can up the stakes, but always remember that this is money you might lose.

Different ways to bet with a bookmaker

There are 4 main ways to make a bet with the bookmaker: through the telephone, in the bookie shops, at casinos, and online. The telephone options are slowly falling out of fashion, but if this is your preferred way to bet, then don’t worry, the choice is still available for you in some companies!

With telephone bookies, you call up the bookmaker and tell them your details. You then explain the wager you want to bet, they will confirm the odds or offer their suggestions, and then have you pay by debit card. Some bookies provide other payment methods too. If you lose, they keep your money. If you win, they will transfer you the winnings or call you back to confirm how to give you your money.

The bookmaking shop’s odds are often splashed over screens, ready for their customers to look through. You go to the counter and confirm your bet with cash or debit. If you win, you return to the shop with your betting slip and show it to the cashier, who pays you back in cash. If you win over a specific limit, they might offer you a different form of payment, as most shops only carry a limited fund.

Casinos work in the same fashion as bookmaking shops.

Online bookmakers are the easiest to use with simple instructions and super low minimum bets available. You often need to create an account and have a minimum amount of money in the account before playing. After you’ve done that, you can search their apps or websites to see their odds and click until your money runs out.

Before placing a bet, it is important to read the lines

Many sporting bets have something known as a betting line. Betting lines bring favored teams and underdogs teams onto even footing.

For example, suppose the Cleveland Cavaliers were up against the Washington Wizard. In that case, the bookmaker may decide that Cleveland is the better team and should have a 20 point betting line attached to it.

For Cleveland to win in the bet, they have to win against Washington by more than 20 points. This means that either team has a chance to win the bet despite Cleveland being the better team. 

If you are using betting lines, be sure to add the differences into the value equations we have talked about; otherwise, your predictions might be completely wrong.

Tips & Advice

Tips and Advice

If betting had a foolproof blueprint, then we would always be winning. Unfortunately, there is no golden advice that will bring you millions. Instead, we have a couple of tips to help you find the positive values and to keep your betting simple and fun.

  1. Bet on what you know

The more you know about a game, the better your predictions will be. You are way more likely to find a true value if you understand the game and are familiar with the players or teams.

  1. Consider as many factors as you can

You don’t want to overcomplicate your equations, but if you can gather multiple factors about the game, your predictions will become more accurate, and you may be able to find a positive value hidden from other gamblers.

  1. Always calculate probabilities before placing a bet

If you are betting big, you need to be sure of what you are doing. It is always better to research before you place the bets. Ideally, you should do all the work before you even see the odds. The odds will affect your subconscious mind and will turn you towards a team. Try to be objective, and remember that the bookmakers want your money!

  1. Don’t ignore the favorites

Just because a team is the favorite to win doesn’t mean they cannot produce positive values. Their earnings might be low, but you are more likely to win. The more confident you are on these types of bets, the more money you can put down.


Placing a bet and winning

Betting on sports isn’t as difficult as it might seem. If you know a sport already, the process is so much easier; if not, a simple bit of ranking research can take you through to the win.

Keep our equations on hand, or even bookmark this page for the future. Once you can spot positive values, your betting game will bring in the cash!