Understanding Sports Betting
Sports Betting is one of the most popular avenues of gambling in the United States. Like poker, online sports betting has been essentially outlawed, though there are a few sites that still allow U.S. customers. For most Americans, sports betting is most convenient to do from your own home, as Las Vegas, Nevada is the only town that has legalized sports betting. Even Atlantic City, New Jersey, another gambling Mecca in the U.S. does not offer betting on sports—only horse racing.
There are a few sporting events each year that spike the popularity of sports betting in America. March Madness, the nickname for the college basketball playoffs, is one of the most popular events for which people place bets. Some even fly to Las Vegas for the chaotic opening weekend simply to bet on the games.
The Kentucky Derby, the premiere horse racing betting event takes place in Churchill Downs, Kentucky, draws a lot of attention from sports bettors as well, as gamblers wager on which horse will win, place or show in the event.
The third, and likely most popular time for sports betting in America is the first Sunday in February, known to many as Super Bowl Sunday. The Super Bowl offers straight bets, such as who will win the game and by how many points, as well as more entertaining proposition bets. Proposition bets are on extremely specific parts to the game, such as who will win the coin flip, or what will be the longest touchdown of the game.
Other types of bets include parlay bets, teaser betting, and futures bets. Parlay bets involve picking the winner of multiple games at a time. If you create a five-team parlay and one team loses, you lose your bet. Since this is obviously riskier, sports books offer better odds on these bets. Typically, a two-team parlay pays 13-5, or 13 dollars for every 5 dollars wagered. Three-team parlays pay up to 6-1, all the way up to 10-team parlays at 600-1. The advantage of parlay betting is that if you pick all winners together, the payout is much greater than if you bet them separately as straight bets.
Teaser bets are popular among casual bettors. Like parlays, you must win all legs of your bet to get paid. Teasers, however, allow you to manipulate the point spread. For instance, if the Los Angeles Lakers are 6-point favorites and the New York Knicks are 10-point favorites, you could ‘tease’ them five points each, and make the Lakers 1-point favorites and the Knicks 5-point favorites. A two-team teaser typically pays 10-11, or 10 dollars for every 11 that you bet, but the odds go in the bettor’s favor with three-team teasers and above, at 9-5 and better.
It is a basic understanding in sports betting that the sports book or bookie charges more for both sides of the bet, ensuring a profit. For instance, a typical NFL betting line may be New York Giants -6 (-110). If you think that New York will win by seven or more points, you would bet on them to ‘cover,’ or win the bet, at -110 odds. That means you would have to bet 110 dollars to win 100 dollars, and if you take the other side of the bet, you will likely have to lay the same odds.
The cut for the house is referred to as the juice, ‘vig’ or ‘vigorish,’ and just covers the sports book when bettors place bets on both sides of the line. If you ever see odds with a plus sign in front of it (i.e. +150), that means you bet 100 to win the amount, and means that you are betting on the underdog.
Straight bets or spread betting are easily the most common and most popular types of betting for every day sporting events. On any given day, there may be hundreds of events on which you can place a bet.
During the spring and summer months, baseball is the most easily accessible group of events on which to bet. You can either bet on the run-lines, which is baseball’s version of a point spread, or on the money lines.
A money line is betting straight up that a team will win its game, even though it may not cover the point spread. If a team is favored by 10 points and you think that the team will win but probably not by 10 points, you may bet on the money line, which will probably be around -500, or 500 dollars to win 100 dollars. In basketball, baseball, football, and hockey, there are no draws, so a bet on the money line will always result in either the team winning or losing.
However, in soccer betting, there is an option for betting on the game to be a draw. If you bet on a team’s money line in soccer, they must win the game outright—and not tie, or draw—for you to win your bet.
Futures bets are long-term and may offer a more attractive line, but also causes the bettor to tie his money up for a longer period of time. Before the NBA season even starts, a bettor may choose the Lakers to win it all at a handsome price, but keep in mind that your money will be tied up until the NBA Finals are decided several months later.
As online betting is the most viable option for most bettors, it is important to review which sports books are considered quality and which aren’t. SportsBooks.net updates its database of online sports books daily, noting which books pay slowly, which books don’t pay at all, and which books are quick and reliable with good customer service and which have the best online bookie software.
Some sports books online do not do business with U.S. customers after the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. This law prevents U.S. bettors from depositing to online sports books using credit cards or checks. Instead, U.S. customers must deposit through Western Union or MoneyGram, among other options.
Popular and trusted sports books online that serve to U.S. customers include Totalbets and BetanySports. The aforementioned sports books are known for stellar customer service and quick withdrawal times.