Betting on sports is an activity that appeals to fans of all kinds of sports, all over the world, and it can certainly be tempting to jump right in without really knowing what you’re doing. The fact is, when you feel like you know a sport inside-out, it’s only natural to feel like you could put your knowledge to good use! However, even if you have an excellent understanding of your favourite sport, and you’re confident predicting match winners, final scores, etc., it’s still important to understand the basics of sports gambling before you simply head out and lay down a bet. So here are a few guidelines for the beginning sports better.
The first step is in finding a reliable source for your sports bets. Of course, you can casually exchange money with friends, or may even have a local sports book you can make easy use of. Another thing to consider, however, is finding an online site that supports your needs. One example for fans of all kinds of sports is Betfair, where you’ll find plenty of betting options (not just “which team will win”) with accurately updated odds and money lines.
Now, about those odds and money lines…. Generally speaking, there are a few common ways to read betting odds (which are essentially handicaps to even the playing field between teams, so that betting on an expected winner isn’t too easy!). Here’s a brief overview:
Many feel that fractional odds, or “fixed odds,” are the easiest to read. We’ll use the upcoming tennis US Open for examples. If you see that Rafael Nadal has 5/1 odds to win the entire tournament, it essentially means that for every 1 unit you bet, you can win 5 times that unit if you are correct. A £1 bet yields a £5 return, a £100 bet yields a £500 return, and so on. Similarly, if Nadal had 1/5 odds, this concept would be reversed: in order to win £1 betting on Nadal, you would have to risk £5.
This is a betting system for individual games, generally in sports with high scores. Here’s how it works. If Australia is expected to beat England handily in cricket, Australia might be given “-100” as a point spread. What this means is that if you bet on Australia to win, they must not only win, but win by 100 or more runs. In this scenario, England’s point spread would be “+100,” meaning if you bet on England, you would win your bet if they either won, or came within 100 runs of winning.
These are the essential basics for understanding betting lines on the average game, match, or sports scenario. There are of course many more layers to sports betting that can be explored, but understanding fractional odds and point spreads will help you to at least be able to read betting scenarios and make decisions.