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Sports Betting 101: Top 5 Things Every Bettor Must Know

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Sports betting isn’t something that was always legal. There was a period of time where only a handful of states allowed sports-related gambling.

In fact, sports betting wasn’t completely legal throughout the United States until May of 2018!

These previous rules, of course, didn’t completely eliminate sports betting like they intended to.

Whether you’ve been in the game for a while and need to brush up, or are completely new to the scene, there are a handful of tips you should keep in mind.

Read on to learn more about sports betting 101.

1. Understanding Point Spreads

In every matchup, there is a favorite and an underdog. As you can expect, the favorite is expected to win the game while the underdog is expected to lose.

Rather than simply betting on a win or a loss, though, the competing teams are assigned points, called a point spread.

So, sports betting is a bit unique in how money is awarded to bettors when using spreads.

For example, let’s say the Dallas Cowboys are scheduled to play the Cleveland Browns. The Cowboys might be listed at +7 while the Browns are at -7.

In this context, if you bet on the favorite team, the Cowboys need to win the game by more than seven points for you to win your bet.

Since the Browns are at a disadvantage in the matchup, you’ll win your bet if the Browns beat the Cowboys or they lose by fewer than seven points.

Since football and basketball are games where a high number of points are scored on average, spreads are most commonly used for these sports.

2. Understanding Moneylines

This type of betting only considers whether or not the chosen team will win the game. But, favorites and underdogs are still taken into consideration.

Let’s take the above matchup and use it in this context.

The Cowboys are set to play the Browns on Sunday. The Cowboys are listed as -180 and the Browns are listed as +200.

Here, you must risk $180 on the Cowboys in order to win $100. This is because they are a statistically-superior team.

On the other hand, you only have to risk $100 on the Browns to win $200.

Thus, there is a bit of a financial advantage to betting on the underdog.

3. How Do I Choose a Team to Bet on?

This depends on a large number of factors, but for beginners, there are some things to keep in mind.

Before you choose a team to bet on, consider things like playing location, recent performance, team injuries, etc.

Playing on home turf is definitely an advantage to factor in when making your decision. Similarly, a team who just broke a losing streak is likely to have a ton of morale.

Combine these benefits with other factors like the opposing team being fatigued from traveling, on a losing streak, etc., and you can make a successful underdog bet.

4. How Much Should I Bet?

This depends on how much you’re willing to lose.

In general, it’s best to decide the total amount you’re willing to risk and then making smaller bets from there.

So, if you’re willing to lose a maximum of $500 for the day, your bets should be between $10-$50 per game. Betting larger amounts may cause you to lose your money early, which can turn into you withdrawing more funds.

5. Common Mistakes to Avoid

There are a handful of mistakes that rookies make when placing sports bets. Let’s take a look at a few.

Betting on The Underdog For The Money

It’s true that the disadvantaged team will offer a higher payout. But, they’re the underdog for a reason: they’re unlikely to win.

Getting Hyped Over Short-Term Trends

Just because a statistically-average team has been playing well recently doesn’t mean they’ll continue to do so. It also doesn’t mean that they’ll be able to overcome a superior team.

Making Large Bets During a Losing Streak

It can be tempting to make a $200 bet to recover the $150 you’ve already lost after a few games. But, this can easily put you further in the hole and may cause further complications than an empty wallet!

Sports Betting 101: Final Thoughts

Sports betting 101 can seem intimidating at first. But, with the above information in mind, you’ll have no problem getting started.

Want even more sports betting info? Our blog has all you need to know.