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Sports betting is one of the most popular gambling activities on the planet, and as an industry generates billions of dollars every year. There are many types of bets you can make, with the overarching theme that you wager on the outcome of a sports event, attempting to predict correctly what will happen.
People have been betting on sports events for centuries. The simple notion of gambling on a sporting outcome is as old as sport itself, and continues to prove alluring to hundreds of millions of people all over the world. The introduction of online sports betting has taken thing to the next level, with a new ease to the process and access for a greater pool of punters than ever before.
Placing sports bet by phone call has been a common practice for well over a century, but what we also have now is the ability to bet on mobile devices using apps and mobile browsing technology. We also have ever-increasing access to televised sporting events, happening throughout the world, which makes it easier to place educated bets.
How to place sports bets
A sports bet can be placed in a number of different ways. If you place a bet with a bookmaker at a kiosk, perhaps at a racetrack, you will typically fill out a physical betting slip and hand it over with your stake (being the money you are wagering). Accepted payment methods vary, but cash is almost always good. You may also find the kiosk accepts payment by credit or debit card.
If you're playing a bet at an online sports betting website, you will need to register for an account to get started. Once set up, you'll need to deposit funds to your online account and/or link a debit or credit card to your account. From there you should be able to peruse betting markets, choose you bet and submit you stake electronically.
The same process applies to placing bets via sports betting apps, where you'll need a registered account linked to the funds you want to bet with.
What type of bets can you place?
These are some of the most common sports bets and how they work:
Straight bets are where you are predicting the outright winner of a sporting contest. For example, you can bet on the New York Yankees beating the Boston Red Sox in a Major League Baseball game. Thinking longer term, you might also bet on which team will wind up winning the World Series.
Spread betting is a little more complicated. The bookmaker sets a 'line' to reflect what they consider to be the most likely outcome of a sporting contest, or indeed a particular element of that sporting contest. If the bookmakers make one team a heavy favorite that will be reflected in the line. The same happens to a team considered the underdog. You are then betting on a result that takes into account the bookmaker handicap.
Parlay bets are combined bets that can pay out very high odds. You make several bets together and if they all come in, you can potentially win big. If just one loses, however, the entire bet is lost.
Proposition bets are when you gamble on a particular happening within a sporting contest. For example, the number of RBIs in a baseball game, or the minute in which the first goal of a soccer game will be scored.
In-play bets are those you can play during a live sports event, with odds fluctuating based on what's happening and the onus on the punter to predict in real-time what will happen next.
What are odds?
Odds are the equation that decides how much money you stand to win if you place a sports bet. For example, betting $10 at odds of 5-1 will earn winnings of $50 if your wager comes in. You also get your initial stake back, so $60 returned in total. Some bookmakers list their odds using fractions, some a decimal format, while others use a moneyline format. This will vary depending on the country you are betting in.
How do I win big at sports betting?
Those who take sports betting seriously typically consider themselves experts in the sports they bet on. To place winning bets consistently you need to have a strong grasp of the sport you're focused on and have conducted a large amount of research to back up your betting strategy. Some sports betting experts even devise systems to measure performance and predict outcomes.
How do I get started?
Launching an online sports betting account is a great way to get started. Most have special promotions that offer a bonus when you join, and this may include some free credits to get you going. It's important to reference an online sports betting portal to help you choose the best site to wager at.