Learn all about how sports betting works

Christian Vejvad • March 31, 21:31

Sports betting has become a big field within gambling in recent years, with countless different sports available to bet on. In 2021 it’s possible to bet on everything from popular sports like football and basketball to newer markets like esports. 

With plenty of sports to choose from, it can be hard as a newcomer to understand the sports-betting market. To get started, it’s important to have knowledge about the specific sport you’re looking to bet on, but also on the whole process behind placing a bet with different factors taken into account. From knowing how to read a bet, to knowing what needs to happen for a specific bet to win, to knowing how to find markets in the first place. 

What is sports betting? 

Sports betting is when someone places a bet on a sporting event that a certain outcome will happen. This can be betting on a team to win, a player to score a goal, a team to defeat its opponent by a certain amount, or pretty much any other thing that can happen within a given sport. If the bet wins, the person who placed the bet will win an amount of money decided by the initial odds. If the bet loses, then the player will lose the amount of money that was placed on the bet. 

Doing sports betting can be a way of making money or a way of getting a bit of extra entertainment when watching a sporting event. Some people enjoy watching events more when something is on the line. It can be anything from petty cash to big chunks of money per bet. The sports betting market is big and very popular in part because it attracts so many different types of bettors.  

Which sports can you bet on? 

With online betting platforms growing each year, it’s possible to bet on pretty much any sport these days. Most betting services offer big sports such as football, soccer, basketball, hockey, tennis, golf, and many more. For each of these sports, a large variety of leagues from all over the world are represented. This gives players a chance to bet on everything from NBA basketball to a small domestic soccer league in Russia. 

Besides the most popular sports, it’s also possible to bet on more niche events. These could be different types of motorsports, cycling, horse racing, esports, and more. These markets will usually be more limited and have fewer games to choose from, but there is also a bigger chance of finding valuable bets as the odds may be harder for bookmakers to optimize. 

Sports betting

What types of bets can you make? 

With today’s online betting market, the possibilities are almost endless. The most common type of bet is betting money on the match winner, which is as simple as it sounds. This means that the team you place money on has to win for the bet to win, and if the other team wins, your money is lost. In sports where a draw is a possibility, this will also usually make the bet lose. 

Other common types of bets are handicap bets, where the bookmakers give an advantage or disadvantage to one of the teams. As an example, a handicap could give a team an advantage of one goal prior to a match, meaning that a team can potentially draw and still win the bet, as it would have done better than the one-goal disadvantage it was placed at.

Handicaps are often popular in matches where there is a clear favorite. A clear favorite means that betting directly on the match-winner won’t give great odds, so adding on a handicap can help even out the field. This also goes for matches where betting on a heavy underdog can be too risky, as putting on a handicap will make the bet seem more attractive. As a result of handicaps, betting on safe favorites will net you smaller winnings, while betting on underdogs can net you a big win in exchange for making the riskier bet. 

A third popular betting option is “over or under” odds. These odds are used to bet on certain outcomes of a sporting event such as goals or points scored. Through these odds, it is for example possible to bet on how many goals there will be scored in a game. These odds are often presented in decimals such as “2.5”, “3.5”, etc. Betting on over 2.5 goals means that there have to be three goals or more to win. Betting on under 2.5 goals means that there can’t be more than two goals in the game. 

Another example could be an esports match where the teams play a best-of-five series. In this case, it would be possible to bet on if the match will be under or over four games in length.

The list of betting types goes on and on, so the most important thing is to find the exact betting type that suits you. 

Where and how can you place bets? 

Placing sports bets can be done through online bookmakers or even in local offline betting shops. The most common way to bet in recent years is through online services, where it’s made easy and convenient to follow the progress of each bet. Some of the biggest betting platforms, like Bet365, Betway, Betfair, and more, are easy places to get started with sports betting. 

When choosing a betting site, players need to create an account and deposit money into the account. This can usually be done easily through either a credit card or PayPal account without any additional fees. When the money is applied to the betting account, it’s possible to place bets on all of the markets the site has to offer. When winning money through bets, the money will stay on the associted account until it is withdrawn.

Want to start sports betting? Begin your journey here.

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