How to Bet on Sports

Commercial Content. Play Responsibly. 21+

Whether you’re a new or experienced bettor, there is always room to learn more about how to bet on sports. There are many aspects to take into consideration in sports betting. Different bet types, finding value, and understanding how odds work are part of this.

We’re going to take a detailed look at how you can improve your sports betting techniques. We’ll start by looking at the different types of bets available at most US bookmakers. For new bettors, we suggest first learn the sports betting terms. This will help you to understand this article better.

Different Bet Types

There are a number of different bet types available in sports betting. Familiarizing yourself with many different types of bets is important. By doing so, you give yourself the best chance of finding value when you bet on sports.

how to bet on sports


A moneyline bet is an incredibly popular form of betting, and amongst the most popular. Its popularity is, in part, due to its simplicity.

Moneyline betting involves you picking the winner, or the full-time result, of a specific game or match.

Let’s use an example. The 76ers are facing their rival the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference. The moneyline odds on offer are as follows.

76ers: +110

Draw: +260

Celtics: +220

For a moneyline bet, you simply pick the result of the game.


In the US, spread betting is increasingly popular, especially with the introduction of online sports betting. Many bettors now realize the value a spread bet could offer.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term spread betting, think of it as a handicap. Essentially, for betting purposes, each side is given a hypothetical handicap.

To explain this fully, we’ll use another example. This time, we’ll use a college football game between Arizona and Hawaii. The spread is as follows.

Arizona: -11 at odds of -110

Hawaii: +11 at odds of -110

What does this mean? In our example, Arizona has been given a hypothetical 11 point deficit. So, if we place a spread bet on Arizona, they need to win by more than 12 points for our bet to be successful.

If we place a bet on Hawaii, we would be successful if Hawaii loses by less than 11 points.


Onto over-under betting. This type of bet is an attractive one if you’re not confident of what the outcome will be. Instead, we can bet on how many goals, runs or points will be scored, over or under a specified amount.

The base number is set by the bookmakers. It changes, depending on which sport you’re betting on. It also depends on the teams involved in the event you’re looking to place a wager on.

We’ll use baseball for our next example. Let’s say we want to place a bet on the MLB game between the Colorado Rockies and Cincinnati Reds. The over-under odds for this one are as follows.

Over: 8.5 at odds of -116

Under: 8.5 at odds of -106

The 8.5 signifies the number of runs scored in the game. So, if we think there will be nine or more runs scored combined, we’ll bet on the over odds. If we think there will be less than 8 home runs, we’ll bet on the under odds.

You might be wondering where the .5 comes in. Known as the hook, most over-under bets will come with a .5 added. This is so bettors either win or lose the bet. Occasionally, you’ll see over-under odds based on a whole number.

Let’s say in our example the base number was 8. Similar rules apply. If you placed an over bet, we’d have to see 9 or more runs scored. For an under bet, we’d need 7 or fewer runs scored.

If the total home runs scored was 8, your bet is neither a winner or a loser. You should receive your stake back, though check with the terms and conditions of your bookmaker.

Other Popular Bet Types

There are many other bet types that you should be aware of. Each can offer ways of making a profit and extra value. To bet on sports successfully, it’s important you understand how each bet type works.

Other popular types include the following:

Understanding Odds

It’s important to understand how different bet types can help you to bet on sports successfully. Understanding odds and how they work is equally as important.

How can you judge if a bet offers value? It sounds daunting at first, but we can learn to understand how to assess betting value easily.

Firstly, it’s important to understand exactly what odds are. In its most basic terms, odds signify the possibility of a particular event occurring. The easiest example of this is with a coin toss.

There are two sides to a coin, heads or tails. If we flip this coin, there is a 50% chance of it landing on tails and a 50% chance of heads.

The same applies to sports odds. Odds represent the chance of an event happening. If we use the example of the 76ers and the Celtics from earlier, the odds represent the chance the bookmakers are giving for each side to win. Or, in other words, the implied probability of a side to win.

Odds Explained

So, the 76ers are priced at +110 to win the game. We can convert this to implied probability. The easiest way to do this is to convert our moneyline odds into decimal odds.

We can do this by calculating it ourselves. We divide the moneyline odds by 100 and add 1. So, our odds of +110 can be converted to 2.10.

Now, don’t be put off learning how to bet on sports by thinking you need to calculate everything yourself. There are bet calculators widely available online who will do this for you. 

However, it can be beneficial to learn how to do this. So, from our decimal odds, we can work out the implied probability. Or, to put it simply, the chance the bookmakers are giving the 76ers to win the game.

Implied probability involves dividing 1 over our decimal odds and then multiplying this amount by 100. By doing this, we can see that the bookmakers think the 76ers have a 47.6% chance of winning the game.

Where is the value? If you believe that the 76ers have a much greater chance of winning the game, then you’ve found a value bet. In essence, value betting is finding wagers where the chances of an event happening are greater than what the bookmakers are predicting.

Betting Strategies

If you need a little inspiration when you bet on sports, there are a number of aspects to consider. The most important thing to remember when you bet on sports is to only bet what you can afford to lose.

It can be incredibly easy to overspend when you bet on sports, particularly if you’re placing wagers online. Always keep track of your bets and stakes. It’s certainly worth keeping a record of all of the bets you place, your stakes, and the betting taxes to be paid.

Also important is research. It can be easy to ‘throw’ money on a bet that, on the surface looks like a surefire win. Our next important point – there is no such thing as a sure bet! Anything can happen in sport, and supposedly surprise result occur regularly.

Conducting research, though, can help you choose your bets wisely. Explore every aspect of the game or event you’re looking to bet on. It’s no guarantee of success, nothing can be, but it can help you avoid regular losses.

This site contains commercial content. Read more.