All you need to know about: Betting Explained

Betting can be complicated for the inexperienced. Sometimes it can even seem like the world of betting has its own language! Don't worry. On this page, we will explain the ins and outs of betting terms and how betting works overall. Sports has become a big part of people's lives, with some that enjoy playing the game and some that are content with cheering their favorite teams on. There are some, however, that choose to show their passion for a sport or team by betting on them.

All you need to know about: Betting Explained
Thando Dlamini
Written byThando DlaminiWriter
What is sports betting?

What is sports betting?

Sports betting has had a long and illustrious history that was first documented more than 2000 years ago with the Greeks. With the Greeks' passion for athletics, they introduced the Olympics to the rest of the world, as well as the first documented wagers on athletic competitions.

Then came the Roman gladiators, where sports betting was eventually accepted and even legalized.

In the 1950s, Las Vegas lent sports betting a sense of legitimacy to the public by having their land-based casinos authorize sports betting. However, there was no other way other than walking into a Las Vegas casino to bet.

However, the emergence of the world wide web has accelerated the growth of sports betting, especially with the boom of the smartphone industry. This rapid technological development meant that sports bettors could place their bets anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

What is sports betting?
Why do people bet on sports?

Why do people bet on sports?

The reason why people bet on sports may differ, but sports betting is generally popular for the following reasons.


Most sports bettors are in it for the sake of entertainment. Live sports may be entertaining in itself, but the excitement may be amplified when money is on the line.

Easy to start

While most hobbies take a lot of time and commitment to get into, sports betting is really simple to get started. Players don't need large monetary or equipment investments - even just $5 is enough to start.

Earning potential

Perhaps the thing that pulls most people into sports betting is the possibility of making money. Bettors always have a chance to win regardless of their betting capabilities, and some have even trained themselves to learn the ins and outs of statistics to become professional sports bettors.

Why do people bet on sports?
Types of bets explained

Types of bets explained

Here are some of the common wagers players may see when betting on sports.

  • Moneyline bets are the simplest and most common bet type. It only involves betting on a team to win. If you bet on Team A and they won, you win. If they lose, you lose.
  • Point spread bets require a bettor to wager on a competitor's margin of victory rather than a final result. A minus symbol (-) indicates the favorite and a plus sign (+) symbolizes the underdog. If the favorite is priced at -7.5, they must win by more than 7.5 points for a wager to win. Conversely, should a favorite be priced at +7.5, they must either win the game or lose by less than 7.5 points.
  • Over/Unders involves betting whether or not the total points of both teams go over or under a certain amount. Suppose a game between Team A and Team B has a point total that is set at 45 points. Should the game conclude at 50 points, the 'over' bet wins, and the 'under' wagers lose.
  • Parlay bets involve relying on multiple bets to win before actually winning. Each parlay bet has 'legs' to bet on. Suppose a punter bets on a four-leg parlay and loses three out of four bets. This means that they hold a losing parlay ticket.
  • Teaser bets are similar to parlay bets but are specifically designed for multiple point spread bets with a single payout.
  • Prop bets, or a proposition bet, are not directly tied to a game's final result. The most common prop bets are either player or game props. Player props bet on a player's performance and game stats (like triple-doubles or passing yards), and game props wager on certain events to happen in a game (such as first scorers or first to 10 points).
  • Middle bets, or middling, is a form of arbitrage betting that involves players placing point spread wagers for both sides of a game. For example, a punter bets on a 3.5 point favorite Team A for Game 1 in one sportsbook and then on a 4.5 underdog Team B in a different sportsbook, but also for Game 1. Since they middled the match, they will win either +1.82 units if Team A wins by four points, and only lose 0.09 units if they don't.
  • Futures bets are wagers on a future outcome, such as MVP awards, championships, or total wins.
  • Live bets are wagers that are placed after a game has started.

Sticking to one sport

While certain pros and cons can be made between the case of betting on either one or multiple sports, it's best to start with just one sport - at a time.

If it's NFL season, then bet on NFL. If it's MMA time, then wager on some fights. This way, bettors can get all the advantages of focusing on one sport but none of the boring off-season of sticking to just one sport year-round.

Types of bets explained
Most Recent Betting Guides

Most Recent Betting Guides

The fact that people enjoy sports betting is the reason why there are various sportsbooks to choose from. Many countries have reformed their gambling legislation which led to the increased popularity of online bookies and betting sites.

Since it was a big boom, some players are newbies with no experience with online betting. Some who follow a certain sport will be able to locate the best odds and markets, but many will have no idea what to look for.

Fortunately, there are tons of websites that provide betting recommendations for those who are new.

There are three reasons why players should read a betting guide before they start wagering:

  • Discover How Things Work: Sports betting guides will help players utilize and explain all the features of a sportsbook - from a step-by-step guide for registration to the payment section, where punters will learn how to deposit funds and collect their winnings.
  • Learn About Popular Betting Markets: While picking a sport to bet is easy, betting markets can be more sophisticated and complex. Luckily, there are fantastic reviews out there that can help punters determine the best option for them.
  • Bonus Codes: Some betting review sites often partner up with brands and provide readers with promo codes for them to use when they sign up. This could give players access to a special promotion or provide them with a special welcome offer.

How to bet on sports online

The basic steps of betting on sports online are picking a betting site, creating an account, depositing funds, placing wagers, and withdrawing winnings.

Most Recent Betting Guides
How to choose the right online sportsbook for you

How to choose the right online sportsbook for you

An important factor when choosing sports betting websites is to explore various factors that will dictate a fun, safe, and profitable betting experience, such as:

  • Security
  • Variety
  • Odds
  • Betting limits
  • Payment speed
  • Mobile compatibility

These are the fundamentals that players must look for if they're researching desktop or mobile betting apps. Take note that choosing a sports betting site should not be rushed as it is probably the most important decision punters can make at the beginning.

An easier way to find the best sports betting site for you is to read reviews from experts and recommendations from fellow bettors.

How to choose the right online sportsbook for you
Creating an account

Creating an account

Once bettors find a website they're comfortable with, they can register for a new account. This process takes minutes and will ask punters to provide basic information like their:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Email address
  • Contact number
  • Birthdate
  • Desired username and password

While these are the standard information required to create an account, some online bookie sites may require the submission of supporting documents that will verify your identity or send you a One-Time-Password (OTP) via SMS or email for further verification.

Creating an account
Depositing funds

Depositing funds

Players need to add money to their accounts before they can begin placing bets online. Most online sportsbooks allow various banking options, including:

  • Debit and credit cards (VISA, Mastercard, Maestro, etc.)
  • e-Wallets (Paypal, Neteller, Skrill, etc.)
  • Cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ripple, etc.)
  • Prepaid and gift cards

Take note that e-Wallets are sometimes not eligible for welcome or deposit bonuses and promotions. On that note, keep an eye out for deposit bonuses.

Depositing funds
How to place bets

How to place bets

At this point, bettors already have an account with funding. The next thing do to is to log in and check the markets that are available, such as the ones discussed earlier.

The best online sports betting sites and apps offer a wide variety of markets, so players must make sure to carefully explore all opportunities presented.

Withdrawing winnings

If you play bettors play right, every wager has a chance of winning. Should they desire to cash out, most sportsbooks let punters withdraw their funds with the same method they used to deposit money to their accounts. If they do not, online betting sites will always offer alternatives.

Remember that different withdrawal methods take different times to clear, with e-wallets being the fastest (instantaneous to a few minutes), and bank transfers taking the longest (2-5 banking days, even more in case of maintenance, public holidays, or weekends).

How to place bets
Comparing sportsbooks

Comparing sportsbooks

There are multiple sportsbooks available online, which begs the question - should bettors shop around, or stick to one? Here are some factors to consider in finding a bookmaker.

Bonuses may be the most important consideration in a sportsbook. To entice people to sign up, each sports betting site offers appealing bonuses. Take advantage of this chance by searching for reputable online bookmakers that provide the best bonuses.

Make sure the websites you choose have a user-friendly interface. The last thing punters want is to struggle to find their way around a website only to place a wager. Fortunately, the majority of the top sites have extremely user-friendly interfaces.

With the boom of mobile devices, sport betting needed to be mobile-friendly. Players may be placing a lot of their bets on a smartphone or tablet and may not always have access to a computer. Therefore, the site a punter chooses must have a robust mobile betting option.

When it comes to sports betting, the more wagering options you have, the better. The typical bets of spreads, moneylines, totals, and parlays are available on almost all of the sites. Teasers, props, and futures will all be present in a large number of them. Live betting is one area where the excellent services will set themselves out from the rest of the pack.

Comparing sportsbooks
Sports betting glossary

Sports betting glossary

The terminology of sports betting can be complicated, especially for those who are new to the field. Many of the most regularly used terminology, concepts, and methods that you will see on this site and in online sports betting, in general, are listed in the sports betting glossary below.

Take note that some terms that were defined above may not be included in this sports betting dictionary section, and this section does not include all the terms involved in sports betting.

  • Action - A bet or wager.
  • Against the spread - The final result of a game, taking into account the point spread.
  • Bad Beat - A bet that appears to be going in the bettor's favor but does not.
  • Book (Sportsbook) - A sportsbook is a place where people can wager on the outcome of sporting events.
  • Buck - A $100 bet.
  • Chalk - The match favorite.
  • Consensus - The percentage of bettors on each side of a game.
  • Cover - The outcome of a point spread wager.
  • Dime - A $1,000 bet.
  • Dollar - A $100 bet.
  • Edge - A bettor's advantage before a bet is placed.
  • Even (Even Money) - A $100 bet to win $100.
  • Handle - The entire amount of money bet on a certain game.
  • Handicapping - Using sports analytics to make predictions.
  • Hedging - Betting opposite of a previous bet to guarantee to win at least a small amount.
  • Hook - A half-point in the spread
  • Juice - A commission books earn on each wager.
  • Key Numbers - Represents the most common margins of defeat. This is used mostly in football, where many games end with one team winning by multiples of three or seven.
  • Limit - The maximum amount allowed on a single bet.
  • Lock - A large favorite.
  • Long Shot - A large underdog.
  • Nickel - A $500 bet.
  • No Action - A game that is no longer accepting bets and has returned all wagers.
  • Oddsmaker (Linemaker) - Someone who chooses a game's first line.
  • Off the Board - An event players cannot wager on.
  • Pick'em - An event that has no favorite or underdog.
  • Puckline - In hocket, the favorite has a -1.5 point spread, while the underdog has a +1.5 point spread.
  • Reverse-Line Movement - Movement in the betting line that defies public betting percentages.
  • Runline - In baseball, the favorite has a -1.5 point spread, while the underdog has a +1.5 point spread.
  • Sharp (Wiseguy) - A professional sports punter.
  • Steam - A quick line change as a result of heavy betting.
  • Taking the points - Wagering the underdog against the spread.
  • Wager - A get placed at a sportsbook.
Sports betting glossary
About the author
Thando Dlamini
Thando Dlamini

Thando Dlamini, a vivacious 22-year-old from South Africa, seamlessly blends her love for the vibrant world of online casinos with her meticulous localization skills, making the digital gaming experience truly South African.

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