How to Win at Sports Betting

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Table of Contents

The ABC of sports betting

Understanding odds and juice

Odds are the most important part of sports betting, and everything revolves around them. In any bet, you are always going to pick an outcome – whether it’s the match result, how many points a player will score in a game or who will be the champion at the end of the season.

And just as the word itself suggests, the odds indicate how likely that outcome is. Short odds indicate that your bet is more likely to be successful, while long odds mean the opposite. In other words, the longer the odds, the higher the risk. Of course, long odds also mean better payouts, so it all comes down to weighing the positives and negatives – but we will go into further detail later on.

Understanding odds and juice

But how are you supposed to read the odds?

Sportsbooks usually have three odds formats: American odds, fractional odds and decimal odds.

Sportsbooks allow users to choose their preferred odds format. And now that you know how odds work, it’s time for the next topic: what is juice in sports betting?

Think of juice as a house edge. Sportsbooks need to make money in order to stay in business. This is admittedly tricky considering that bookies have to pay their winners on a daily basis. And this is where the juice comes in.

Let’s use a relatively simple spread bet as an example: team A is a 5-point favorite at -110. Team B, a 5-point underdog, also pays -110 to cover the spread. In other words, you would need to bet $110 on either team to win back $100.

But what if you decided to bet $110 on each side? While you would be guaranteed to win no matter the result, that would only pay back $210 out of the $220 you originally wagered. In other words, the sportsbook would have a $10 profit in this case. That’s the juice, which can also be referred to as vig.

Every single bet comes with juice. Assuming that the wagers are somewhat evenly spread, the sportsbook is guaranteed to always make a profit in the long run.

Playing with bonuses

Sportsbooks usually offer a bonus for new players. When you sign up for a new account, the operator will throw in a bonus on top of your deposit. Let’s use a 100% match bonus as an example, with a maximum of $100. After completing your first deposit, the sportsbook will match it and offer the same amount in bonus, up to $100. A $50 deposit will give you $100 in total – your initial $50 deposit plus an extra $50 in bonus money. A $200 deposit will give you a $300 bankroll – the initial $200 plus $100 in bonus money, which is the limit.

How are you supposed to use your betting bonus? First of all, don’t forget to carefully read through the terms and conditions. You need to pay attention to two important things: when will the bonus expire and, more importantly, the minimum wagering requirement.

Playing with bonuses

It goes without saying, that you won’t be able to withdraw your bonus right off the bat. You will need to roll it over a few times, which is where the minimum wagering requirement comes in. Let’s use a small $10 bonus and a 20x wagering requirement as an example: you would need to bet the bonus amount a total of 20 times – $200 – in order to withdraw it.

Don’t forget to check out how your bonus is going to be used. Some bookmakers require you to bet through your deposited money before using the bonus funds. In other cases, your bets will consist of a 50/50 split. Managing your bonus by knowing when and how to use the extra money is key to your success in betting.

Deposit bonuses aren’t the only kind of promotional offer you will find. Other bonuses include risk-free bets, which will refund a losing bet, and free bets.

Arbitraging & Hedging bets

Sportsbooks usually offer a bonus for new players. When you sign up for a new account, the operator will throw in a bonus on top of your deposit. Let’s use a 100% match bonus as an example, with a maximum of $100. After completing your first deposit, the sportsbook will match it and offer the same amount in bonus, up to $100. A $50 deposit will give you $100 in total – your initial $50 deposit plus an extra $50 in bonus money. A $200 deposit will give you a $300 bankroll – the initial $200 plus $100 in bonus money, which is the limit.

How are you supposed to use your betting bonus? First of all, don’t forget to carefully read through the terms and conditions. You need to pay attention to two important things: when will the bonus expire and, more importantly, the minimum wagering requirement.

Arbitraging & Hedging bets

It goes without saying, that you won’t be able to withdraw your bonus right off the bat. You will need to roll it over a few times, which is where the minimum wagering requirement comes in. Let’s use a small $10 bonus and a 20x wagering requirement as an example: you would need to bet the bonus amount a total of 20 times – $200 – in order to withdraw it.

Don’t forget to check out how your bonus is going to be used. Some bookmakers require you to bet through your deposited money before using the bonus funds. In other cases, your bets will consist of a 50/50 split. Managing your bonus by knowing when and how to use the extra money is key to your success in betting.

Deposit bonuses aren’t the only kind of promotional offer you will find. Other bonuses include risk-free bets, which will refund a losing bet, and free bets.

Bankroll Management

If you want to enjoy your sports betting experience to its fullest, then managing the bankroll is undeniably the single most important thing.

First of all, only bet what you can afford to lose. Just like any other form of gambling, sports betting has its risks. Second, do not chase your losses. Betting can be tough, and you will have to eat some losses every now and then. When that happens, live to fight another day. Chasing losses will, more often than not, leave you in an even bigger hole.

Finally, keep track of your wagers. This way, you will know how much you have won and lost. If you are betting for fun, keeping tabs on your bets is an effective way to make your bankroll last longer. And if you are betting professionally, this will make your life a whole lot simpler.

Bankroll Management

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Betting Types

Let’s look at some of the most common sports betting markets available at sportsbooks:

Betting Types

How to Bet on Sports

Coming up with a betting strategy can be tricky for both new and experienced bettors. A good way to get started is by figuring out your betting style. Do you prefer taking risks in order to win a big payout right away, or do you prefer taking the safer route by picking up smaller wins here and there?

No matter what your answer is, there is no right or wrong. It’s all about figuring out which style suits you best. If you understand the risks and accept them, then betting on long odds will suit you. But if you feel safer picking up short odds to accumulate smaller payouts, you can also walk away with a big profit at the end of the day.

How to Bet on Sports

Betting Favorites vs Underdogs

As you can see, sports betting is all about weighing risk versus reward. That’s also the case for the eternal debate between favorites and the underdogs.

Who doesn’t love a good underdog story? As long as your team isn’t on the losing side, that is. The Baltimore Colts were 18-point favorites to win Super Bowl III, but the New York Jets lifted the trophy with a 16-7 score. In 2015-16, Leicester City was given 5,000 to 1 odds to win the Premier League, in what many consider the greatest underdog story ever.

Of course, underdogs are given that name for a reason. For every feel-good underdog success story, there are more than a few failures. Betting on them is risky, but the payouts are also massive. Placing your bets on the favorites is safer, but missing out on multiple bets in turn could lead to bigger losses in the long run. Once again, it’s all about calculating risk and reward. While betting on the favorites is usually less risky, swinging for the home run on an underdog can be worth it every now and then – as long as it has an actual chance of succeeding, naturally.

Betting Favorites vs Underdogs
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