Sports Betting Explained

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Sports betting is a great way for sports fans to have some additional fun watching games and, if lucky enough, win some money in the process.

But if you are not familiar with sports betting, you may find it hard to understand how it all works. We are here to help you understand the basics of sports betting.

What Is Sports Betting

Sports betting, in a nutshell, is predicting results on certain sports and games while placing a wager on their outcome. You can bet on many different sports but the most popular sports people bet on are football, basketball, tennis, ice hockey, cricket, etc. Of course, this depends on the country you live in and the most popular sports in the UK may not be as popular in other countries.

In addition to various sports, some bookies also provide betting on e-sports, award ceremonies, politics and other important everyday events where you can bet on a certain outcome.

Online vs. Offline Sports Betting

In order to place a bet, you need a bookmaker that will accept your bet and provide the odds. Bookmakers, or bookies, are organizations and companies that accept and pays off bets on sports and other events at certain odds.

You can either bet at brick and mortar betting shops or bet online at many sports betting websites. While there are many differences in these approaches, it all comes down to your personal preference.

If you prefer to bet at betting shops, you will be able to enjoy the company of other bettors and watch games on multiple television sets.

However, online betting has become the preferred choice for bettors in recent years. This is not a surprise since online betting provides many advantages over offline betting. First of all, you can have accounts on multiple websites and choose the best odds without leaving your home. Live betting, for example, is faster and better when you bet online. In the end, many bookies today also offer mobile betting and live streaming to provide the most extensive experience for new and seasoned bettors alike.

Betting Odds Explained

The most important thing to know about sports betting is how to read the odds. The odds tell you how much money you can win depending on the amount that you bet.

There are three main ways in which the odds are displayed – fractional, decimal and moneyline odds. Fractional odds are commonly used in the UK, decimal odds are used across Europe, while moneyline odds are the American way of presenting the odds.

All these different types of odds present the same thing and there are no differences in terms of payout. They only serve to explain how much you can win relative to your stake.

How to Calculate Odds

  • Fractional odds show how much money you can win on a certain stake. For example, if the odds are 6/1, that means that you can win £6 if you bet £1. That means that you can bet £12 if you bet 2£, and so on.
  • Decimal odds are calculated by multiplying the odds with the stake. For example, if the odds on a certain team are 2.5, it means that you will win £2.5 when you bet £1. If you bet £2, you will win £5 if your team wins.
  • Moneyline odds are presented in two ways – for favourites and underdogs. The odds for favourites have a minus sign next to them, while the odds for underdogs have a plus sign. The odds with the minus sign represent the amount that you have to bet to win £100, while the odds with the plus sign indicate how much you can win for every £100 that you bet. For example, if the odds are -200, it means that you have to bet £200 to win £100. If the odds are +200, you will win £200 if you bet £100.

While different odds are used in different countries, most online bookies allow you to choose the type of odds you want to see on the website. However, if you have to calculate the odds yourself, you can use this odds calculator.

Betting Markets Explained

While the betting markets will vary depending on the sport you want to bet on, some of the betting markets are same for all the sports. For example, you can bet on the winner, half time/full time, over/under for goals or points, double chance, handicap betting, etc.

In addition to the regular betting markets, there are also specials you can bet on. This allows you to bet on how many goals or points will a team or player score and any other unique events that may happen in a game. For example, if you bet on a football match, you can bet on the number of corners, fouls, yellow cards, etc.

The number of markets offered varies from bookie to bookie, which brings us to our next order of business – how to choose a betting site.

Choosing the Best Betting Site

If you are looking to get into online sports betting, you have to find a sports betting website that will suit you the most. So, here are the most important factors to consider.

Number of Sports and Markets

Unless you are only looking to bet on one sport, the number of sports offered on a betting website is a very important factor.

And even if you only plan to bet on one or few of the most popular sports, pay attention to the number of betting markets available on that website. Having a larger selection of potential markets to bet on can help you find the perfect bet that you want to place.

Bonuses and Promotions

Most online sports betting sites offer different bonuses and promotions for new and existing players. Check out the welcome offer that the website has for new players, as well as active bonuses and promotions that await you after you use the welcome offer.

In most cases, a sports betting website will offer a matching deposit bonus as the welcome offer but some also provide free bets or a risk-free first bet.

Live Betting and Live Streaming

Live betting, also called in-played betting, is growing more popular. Live betting means that you can place different bets on matches that have already started, which gives you a better chance of winning because you can place your bet based on the developments in the game. While most bookies today offer live betting on their websites, not all of them have the same number of sports and markets available for live betting.

The live betting section is usually accompanied by live statistics and live streaming. However, not all bookies have live streams on their sites but major sports betting websites provide this service as well. This allows you to watch the event that you bet on.

Other Features

In addition to these things, a sports betting website can have many other features that you need to consider. For example, some bookies have mobile apps that you can use to place bets on the go, or at least a mobile responsive website.

Other things to keep mind are odds and limits, customer service, number of payment options for deposits and withdrawals, the bookie’s reputation and how trustworthy it is, etc.

While you don’t have to think about all those things, it is still important not to rush and open an account on the first website you visit. Of course, if you are new to sports betting, you may want to stick to the biggest names in the industry like William Hill, Bet365, Ladbrokes, etc.

Tips for Online Sports Bettingtips-for-betting

Sports betting is not a way for you to earn money – it is an activity that is supposed to make watching sports a bit more entertaining and fun. So, here are a few tips to help you make the most of your sports betting experience.

  • Bet on the sports you are familiar with. This one is probably self-evident but many bettors like to bet on sports they don’t know much about, which rarely brings a win. If you are an avid football fan, stick to betting on football.
  • Be careful when you bet. Don’t chase your loses and stick to your budget. Sports betting should be a hobby, so treat it like one. Deposit only the amount that you are prepared to lose and don’t try to double down after a loss.
  • Keep a cool head. Many sports fans let their emotions drive their bets. While this passion may be useful on the stands as you support your favourite team, try to keep those emotions out of your bets and stick to reason and statistics to make your predictions.


Sports betting is simple and you won’t have any problems getting the hang of it once you join a sports betting website. As long as you understand the basic things like the most popular betting markets, what the odds mean and how to place a bet, you will quickly become a pro bettor.

Just remember that sports betting should be viewed as entertainment or hobby, not a way to make a lot of money.