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Sports betting is one of the oldest past times there is. Way before we were surfing the Internet, listening to the radio or even reading books, we were placing wagers on sporting events for a bit of fun, and to make some serious money! Today, sports betting is more popular than ever, and the Internet is littered with hundreds of sports betting sites claiming to give you the best odds or the best betting opportunities, or the best sports betting reviews, for your closely guarded cash. So, what is sports betting, and how do you know a good deal from a bad one? Let’s take a look!

What is it? 

Simply put, sports betting is the act of putting money on the chance of a particular outcome in a sporting event. Some of the most popular sporting events in the world to bet on are Soccer, Horse Racing, Boxing and the NFL, but with the advent of online sports betting, there’s barely a professional game anywhere in the world that can’t be wagered. The most popular kind of bets are on simple metrics like wins and losses, 1st places and points scored, but modern sports betting allows you to place wagers on even the minutiae of a sport – from the number of corner kicks in Soccer to the total number of downs in the NFL. The place where you’re making your bet will then calculate how likely they think an event is to happen, and the less likely something is the more money you’ll win if it does happen. But how do you know where you stand?

The odds 

When you’re placing a bet, you’ll be shown the odds that a sports betting site are offering on a bet coming to pass. This means the amount of money they will give you back in return for you putting money on a winning bet. This is usually expressed as a figure that looks like X/X, for example, 2/1, 11/4 or 5/1. For example, if the odds are 4/1, for every $1 you place on the bet you will receive $4 back if you win because the bookmaker believes there is only a 20% chance of the event happening. The more likely the event is, the shorter the odds become, and the less money you’ll get back for a winning bet. Long odds get you the most money, but at the cost of them being seen as very unlikely. For example, the year they won the top trophy in English Soccer, Leicester City FC were expected to come near the bottom of the league and had odds of 5,000/1 on them finishing in the first place, winning some lucky betters hundreds of thousands. 

How to bet 

Placing a bet online is simple – all you have to do is to create an account, deposit money in your online account to use in sports betting, and you’re ready to go! The odds constantly update as games progress and you can find the latest odds, telling you how much you will win with the amount you are choosing to bet with, displayed on the screen. Aside from the traditional ‘winner takes all’ type of bet described above, many sports betting sites have a variety of different options and games that you can choose to play instead. For example, an accumulator allows you to string together a chain of smaller bets that don’t give you great odds individually but can add up to a big win if you manage to predict them all correctly.

Betting strategies 

All the best strategies rely on research at their heart, so make sure you know your sport inside and out. It can be tempting to go after the higher odds in unfamiliar sports or leagues, but that can be a way to guarantee failure if you’re not 100% what you’re betting on. It’s also a good idea to start small and build up your prize pot, betting your winnings as you go. That way you’re certain that you’re betting at your skill level and not higher than you can afford. If in doubt, starting off small and then finding a niche to work into is always a good idea, as a lot of knowledge about one aspect of a sport you bet on is better than a wide spread of knowledge about lots of sports.