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Beginner’s Guide To Sports Betting Online In The United States

Beginner’s Guide To Sports Betting Online In The United States

It has been over a year and a half since the Supreme Court overruled the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. As a result, states were finally allowed to legalize and regulate sports betting — something that had been exclusive to Nevada for the previous 26 years. 

The ruling led to a massive boom in the industry as more and more companies aimed to take advantage of the ruling. Today, we see sportsbooks all over the United States, including ones online like DraftKings sportsbook.

DraftKings now has sportsbook access in two states — West Virginia and Pennsylvania — with plans of adding many more as individual states continue to set laws and regulations to do so. What we’re seeing is the industry becoming much more mobile, rather than the traditional sportsbook inside a casino or gambling center.

As popularity reaches new heights, sports bettors from all over are finding enjoyment in wagering their predictions. Even those who would’ve never imagined placing a sports bet find themselves making bets every now and then.

If you’re new to the game, there can be a lot of lingo that can leave you scratching your head. With so much to learn, we’ve compiled a beginner’s guide to understanding the basics a little better. You’ll be placing your first bet with confidence before you know it!

Understanding The Odds

Many people fear sports betting due to all the numbers and plus and minus symbols everywhere — it can look a lot like the Matrix. There’s no need to worry, though; it’s actually much easier to depict than you think. 

For starters, let’s go over the difference between the plus and the minus. When you see a plus symbol, it represents the underdog of that particular bet — the less favorable bet. On the other hand, the minus represents the favored wager of the two. 

In simpler terms, the plus will earn you more money per $1 wagered, while the minus will require a larger bet for the same winnings.

Next to the plus or minus, you’ll see a large number. This number will dictate how much money you’ll win, depending on your wager, of course. If the plus is present, the number following it will represent how much you’ll win for every $100 wagered. If the minus is present, the number following it will represent how much money you need to wager to win $100. 

Let’s take a look at an example:

  • Buffalo Bills (+250)
  • New England Patriots (-400)

In this example, a $100 bet on the Buffalo Bills winning would get you a total of $250, plus your money back. On the other hand, a $400 bet on the New England Patriots winning would only get you $100 — plus your money back.

In some cases, you might be given the odds in a fraction. The same concept is used. If the odds are 2/1, then your winnings will be double your bet. On the other hand, you’ll only receive 25 percent of your wager if the odds are 1/4. 

Don’t forget, when you win a wager you also receive the money back that you wagered.

Breaking Down The Different Bets

Now that you understand a little more about how the odds work, now you have to figure out what kind of bet you want to place. Whether it be horse racing, football, basketball, baseball, hockey, or college sports, you have plenty of different ways to test your skills.

Let’s take a look at some of the more popular betting types you should get used to:

Moneyline: Moneyline is what was explained in the example above. You are simply betting on who will win or lose the game.

Point spread: These bets use the same plus/minus concept explained above, but the number following the symbol represents the point/score/goal difference between the two teams. 

If you wager on the Buffalo Bills at +7, then you need the Bills to either win or to lose by no more than six points. If you take them at -7, then they need to win by more than seven points.

Over/Under: Also known as betting totals, these bets deal with the final score of the game no matter who wins. If the over/under is set at 49 points, then you’re betting on whether the two teams will combine for more or less than 49 points.

Prop Bets: Prop bets are a fun way to bet on individual performances and events that happen in-game. This could be “What player will score the first goal?” or “How many interceptions will Drew Brees throw?”

Future Bets: Like the name implies, future bets deal with events that will happen in the future. This can be “Which team will win the AFC Championship?” or “Who will win the 2020 MVP?”

Parlays: If you want to make a lot of bets, but don’t want to put a lot of money down on each bet, there’s a way to combine your bets into one single bet. Doing so can increase your winnings, but you will have to get all of the games right to win.

As the sports betting industry continues to evolve, bettors are given more and more ways to test their abilities against the sportsbook. Even the Super Bowl has found ways to get non-football lovers into the spirit of betting with prop bets like “What color Gatorade will be thrown on the winning coach?” and “What will the coin toss be?”

How To Place A Wager Online

Although not every state in the United States has passed laws and regulations for sports betting, many have and even more are in the process of doing so. It’s only a matter of time before it’s a nationwide thing. 

Currently, the following states have passed legislation in favor of sports betting, whether it be online, in-person, or both:

  • New Jersey
  • West Virginia
  • Indiana
  • Pennsylvania
  • New York
  • Mississippi
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • District of Columbia
  • Iowa
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • North Carolina
  • Colorado

If you’re looking to place a wager, you’ll want to check your individual state for the regulations in place. There are a lot of different websites and apps available for those in states that allow it, making it easy to place your bets right at home. 

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