Thinking about dipping your toe into the ocean that is online sports wagering? It can be daunting but also exhilarating and profitable. If you’re ready to make the jump, you probably are already a sports fan; yet there’s a difference between being a fan and analyzing things impartially from a sports betting strategy perspective. How do I determine the right trends? When should I bet the moneyline or a spread?
Wagering on sports can be a money-making venture if done smartly, and an added benefit is that it turns a game you normally wouldn’t care about into a must-follow event. Below you will find a few simple tips to begin and get that bankroll growing. However, the first thing to decide is which sportsbook to bet with among the thousands online to choose from. You wouldn’t just walk into some random bank and deposit your cash without doing some homework, now would you.
Choosing a Sportsbook
On the surface, most sportsbooks might look the same. Obviously the priority is to ensure that a book takes wagers from your country of residence. After that the first step should be to check out a sportsbook rating site like SBR. Think of this like the Better Business Bureau of the Internet betting world. SBR will give each book a grade and allow you to compare what they offer to one another. There’s no reason to use a book that doesn’t get an A grade when you wager on sports online.
It’s for that reason that we suggest you check out Bovada.lv or Bodog.eu. American bettors should feel comfortable that a book will be around for a while, and Bovada has a presence in the United States for quite some time now. You probably have seen advertisements for the company if you watch or listen to sports. For Canadians, they may have heard about Bodog as a first-rate sportsbook to wager on sports with. Both books got a grade of A from SBR to top it off.
Whether it’s Bovada or Bodog, the payment options are important. Will the site take your credit card or a bank wire? What’s the minimum needed for deposit? What’s the maximum that can be withdrawn at a time, and what are the fees? Is customer service available 24/7? Is the live betting software state-of-the-art? Are there sports wagering strategies, tips or articles available for newcomers? Does the site frequently offer sports betting bonuses or tournament-style contests? Bodog and Bovada, for example, fit these criteria. Not all do. These are some of the basic things to look for.
Most experienced bettors use one main site like Bovada or Bodog for the majority of their action. It’s also wise to do homework and have a few different sites you trust. Why? Say there’s an NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots. You are confident the Patriots will win by a field goal but a bit uncertain at more than that. One site could list the Patriots as 3.5-point favorites. However, another could have the Pats as 2.5-point favorites. Shopping for lines is smart wagering strategy, no matter whether you’re going to bet on the NFL, wager on NBA and everything in between.
Online Sports Betting Trends
Trends are very important for online sports betting. If the Miami Heat are playing the Chicago Bulls in the NBA and the Heat are three-point road favorites on basketball odds, wouldn’t it be worth knowing that Miami has failed to cover its past six visits to Chicago? Or that the Bulls have covered the spread in their past nine home games overall?
One thing to remember is that the books don’t set the lines on what they think the final result will be. So, they don’t expect Miami to win by three points. They set the lines to get the most amount of action on both sides. You will see lines move as well, especially in football where they are active for a week. If one side is taking heavy action, the books will shift the line to draw more action to the other side. In a perfect world, the books would take 50-50 action on every game.
A hint to know is that the general public tends to bet much more on the favorite than the underdog, regardless of the sport. Americans are frontrunners. This is especially true for “public teams.” These are teams that have national followings. Think the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Lakers, Notre Dame football and Duke basketball, to name five prominent clubs. The books know that people follow these teams and can lure bettors in with inflated lines. Don’t bet the jersey – bet the matchup. This is even truer in college sports, as the public teams also tend to get the opponents’ best effort because it makes that opponent’s season.
Betting on Pro Sports
The most popular sport to bet online in the United States is the NFL, followed by online college football betting. The NBA and college basketball are next. Why are these so popular? The pointspread. New NFL bettors can understand that if the Green Bay Packers are 6.5-point favorites over the Chicago Bears, that means Green Bay must win by at least seven points to cover the spread. Chicago just needs not to lose by a touchdown to cover. Many times you will see a half-point spread to avoid ties. Those ties are called a push, and bets are returned.
Packers fans who aren’t confident in the above example of a cover can instead be betting on the moneyline. This is an NFL wager on Green Bay to win, regardless of score. The more a team is favored on the spread, the more it will cost a bettor on the moneyline. For example, Green Bay could be -350 in this example and Chicago +280. Moneylines are set as if $100 is bet. Here, it would cost $350 to win $100 on Green Bay because it is such a big favorite. The Bears, meanwhile, would return $280 on $100 wagered.
It’s important to understand betting on the moneyline because they are the way of wagering on the winner in sports such the NHL, Major League Baseball or soccer. There is no spread in these sports because the points or goals total is so low. Most hockey and baseball games end by a goal/run differential, and the majority of soccer matches finish in a draw.
Moneylines are also used on proposition bets, called props. These are where you can bet on the over or under total points scored in an Alabama-LSU game or how many yards Tom Brady throws for against Denver. Will Sidney Crosby score a goal against the Detroit Red Wings? How many home runs will Miguel Cabrera hit in 2013? Moneyline prices will be given to the over and under results here. There can be some futures props that are in fractional form, but 4/1 simply converts to +400 on the moneyline, 11/4 to +275, etc. A futures bet is a sports wager on something long-term, like the Super Bowl winner or World Series champion.
The number of prop bets in sports these days is almost unlimited. Now that the Internet is lightning-fast, bettors can literally wager on a pitch-by-pitch or shot-by-shot or play-by play basis. It’s easy to get sucked in here because the potential rewards are immediate, but so are the losses. Thus moderation is important. It’s usually best to limit yourself to a few live bets per game when learning how to wager on sports. You can get a grip on how fast things move when you are trying to follow the game and get the action down on your laptop or mobile device at the same time.
Like anything in life, look before you leap. By following a few simple guidelines and learning how to wager on sports, there’s no reason your overall sports betting experience can’t be a success.