Ever walk into a casino sports book and feel like you’re looking at the mission control of an alien spaceship? It can be an overwhelming experience as a first-time bettor, especially if you don’t know what the numbers on the digital boards mean. All you know is that you’re confident this team is going to beat that team and you’d like to lay down some money on it.
Well, that’s called betting the moneyline.
Like any hobby, sports betting is one of those activities with its own language, set of best practices, and house rules. Rookies have to learn what all of this entails, often from a friend who is already confident in their knowledge. Once you learn a handful of sports betting tips for beginners, you’ll feel confident placing a bet on a legal sports gambling app like the one from BetMGM or strolling up to a cashier to wager on a game or team you like.
Similar to our guide to NFL betting tips, we wanted to put together a little piece that explains some of the basic things you need to know about sports betting before putting your hard earned cash on a game.
Sports Betting Tips For Beginners
How does a spread work?
In games like football and basketball you’ll see two teams listed. For example, on opening night of the NFL season this year, the Kansas City Chiefs are -9.5 vs the Houston Texans. What this means, is that if you want to bet the Chiefs, they need to beat the Texans by 10 points or more in order for you to win. If the Chiefs win by 7, then you didn’t “cover the spread” and that would be a loss. On the opposite side, you can bet the Texans +9.5, which means you would win if the Texans lose by 9 points or less, or win the game outright.
What’s a moneyline bet?
In baseball, you will see bets like this: New York Yankees -200 vs Toronto Blue Jays +175. What this means is that you are betting the moneyline, which is just betting a team to straight up win. However, the more likely a team is to win, the more expensive the bet is. In this example, you need to put up $200 to win $100 on the Yankees. But if you bet $100 on the Blue Jays in this bet, and they win, you will win $175. Betting favorites on the moneyline can be expensive!
What is the “juice”?
When you bet a game with a spread, you’ll notice that most of your bets will say -110 or -120. That means that you need to risk $110 in order to win $100. This is called the “juice” or the “vig”. This is essentially how the casinos make their money.
What’s a parlay bet?
A parlay is a bet where you group together a bunch of bets, but must win all of them in order to cash the ticket. These bets can be fun, and depending how many bets you put in, can offer a huge payoff with very little cash to risk. Below is a table that shows general odds on parlays if you are betting regular -110 spreads. This chart is based on risking $100. Remember though, while four teams may hit for you in your five team parlay, that one loss makes the entire bet a loser. So choose carefully!
Have multiple places to bet
The odds on bets are not necessarily the same from sportsbook to sportsbook. The Chiefs in the example above may be a 9.5 point favorite on one book, but only a 9 point favorite on the other. That’s a pretty important thing, as if you bet the Chiefs -9.5 and they win by 9, you lose your bet. But if you bet them at the other book at -9, then you would have pushed, and gotten your money back. Always look at multiple sites and get the best line possible!
Stay within your means
We are betting on these games to be entertained. If you go on a losing streak, it happens to everyone. Don’t get out of control and start doubling up, trying to get your losses back. Bet the games to have some extra fun, but don’t go over your head!
Where should I bet?
Find reputable books to bet on, ones that are approved by your state. The great thing about these books, is they are always looking to get new customers, and offer some great promotions – like this $600 risk free bet from BetMGM! Before signing up, make sure you do a quick google search on that specific site, there are usually some great deposit bonuses available that will get you some extra money to place on some bets
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