A Beginner’s Guide to Sports Betting

NFL betting, MLB betting, and NBA betting are the big three platforms to start your sports betting career. There are maybe a few key differences in each type of sports betting, but in concept, they are pretty much the same, especially for the type of bet you can wager on all of them. 

If you want to start your betting journey and start winning a lot, there are a few things you need to remember first. Anyone has the potential to be an intelligent bettor with just a little research and luck. One of the things you can do is learn about the fundamentals of sports betting and how betting in general works.

Favourites vs Underdogs

You often hear these two words being thrown around during a matchup, even when it’s not involved with sports betting for the most part. You can even hear your friends about it, and sometimes, you may not even agree with it. But in the context of betting, the favourite and the underdog determine your payout. 

The favourite team is signified with a minus sign, while the underdog is with a positive sign. Remember that the favourite team is slated to win, and the oddsmakers determine this through careful research and gauging how the market will react.

How Do Odds Work?

The minus and positive signs are always there with every bet you place. As mentioned earlier, they signify which team is the favourite and the underdog. The number beside them shows the odds and the potential payout. 

For example, the favourite team has -300 while the underdog is +250. Therefore, if you bet on the favourite, you will have to bet $300 to win $100. Most sports use this format, such as basketball, baseball, and golf odds.

That might sound fair but remember; it’s less risky for you as a bettor since they are slated to win anyway. For the underdog, you will have to bet $100 to win $250. The payout may be much bigger than the favourites, but you have to remember that they are slated to lose. Oddsmakers just increase their payout to make it look much more worth it to bet on that team.

Now that you know how odds in general work, let’s talk about the different types of bets you can wager on in sports betting.

Point Spread

Also known simply as the spread, it’s the most popular type of betting in every sports betting because the playing field is equal mainly. That means that even if you bet on the underdog, the bet is worth it because there’s still a good chance they’ll do the spread. 

How does it work? You’re watching a basketball game with the Golden State Warriors against the New York Knicks, and the former is a favourite with 8.5 points.

Bettors who put down money in the Warriors expect them to win the game with at least a 9-point difference. Those bettors who bet on the Knicks expect the team to lose within 8 points or fewer or win the game.

One thing about point spread is sometimes, the favourites have a positive sign. This is because often, the oddsmaker will publish a point spread that is too high for the favourite, and they believe they will not cover it.


Moneyline is the second favourite type of bet in sports betting because it’s easy to understand. All you have to do is a bet on which team will play the game. Then, just like last time, the favourite will be with a negative sign, and the underdog will be with a positive one. Let’s have an example:

  • Golden State Warriors: -200
  • New York Knicks: +150

In this example, the Golden State Warriors are the favourites because they have the negative sign, and the underdog has a positive sign. The numbers mean either the amount you have to bet to win $100 or your potential payout. 

For the example above, if you think the Warriors will win the game, you’ll have to pay $200 to win $100, while for the underdog, you will have to pay $100 to win $150.

Totals Over/Under

In addition to publishing a line, oddsmakers will also publish a total number of points that they think both teams will accumulate at the end of the game. Suppose you think that the total number of points will be over the predicted number of the oddsmaker, then bet on over. If you think otherwise, bet on the under.

Final Words

Sports betting is easy if you know how the odds work and understand how the different bets work. Winning them, however, is pretty hard and requires research and luck. This article is just about what you should know about sports betting, and if you want to know some strategies on them, there are many things you should learn, and that topic will be for another day.

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