For as long as there’s been competition, there’s been sports betting.
When a caveman challenged another to the very first footrace, there were probably spectators engaging in some friendly wagers. Many a shiny rock was surely lost. As the human race progressed, so did the way they gambled.
Like most things, betting is done almost entirely online these days. While this might be the most convenient way to gamble, a beginner may still feel lost or left behind.
However, the world of legal online sports betting isn’t nearly as complicated as you might imagine.
In fact, here’s a complete beginner’s guide for all of those who want to get into online sports betting, but have always been too nervous.
Find the Best Legal Online Sports Betting Site For You
Before you can enter the world of online gambling, you need to find a venue. Typing your bets into Facebook will only confuse your friends and family, unless they opt-in, of course.
While this is true for any business, your first consideration when scouting a legal online sports betting website is credibility. You need to make sure the site is on the up-and-up, as there are many phony betting sites out there, designed only to lure people in and take their money.
To piece out whether a website is honest or not, do some research on user reviews, as this will be the surest way to find out. If you can’t find any user reviews, then it’s best not to risk it.
Once that’s taken care of, your next consideration should be all about features. Find a sportsbook that fits your specific needs and desires.
For instance, not all websites accept PayPal, but some do, such as Sugarhouse Online Casino. If streamlining the payment process is important to you, then your choices will instantly narrow.
You may also want to pay attention to which websites have the best online sports betting bonuses. This refers to the promotions offered by the sportsbook that may include free credit or entries into competitions.
Get to Know the Lingo of Legal Online Sports Betting
As with any subculture, legal online sports betting has whipped up its own little vocabulary. Just like with the sports themselves, if you don’t know the lingo, you’re going to be lost.
For this reason, we’ve assembled some of the most basic terms for online sports gambling:
1. Moneyline Wager
The Moneyline Wager, also known as a Win Bet, is the simplest term in online sports betting. It’s a wager on which team is going to win.
So, a Moneyline Wager on New Orleans vs. Houston would be as simple as putting your money down on one or the other.
Due to its simplicity, the Moneyline Wager is the most popular type of online sports betting. In fact, some sportsbooks with the best online sports betting bonuses attach free play and cash bonuses to Moneyline Wagers, just to spice things up.
Even though it’s simple, you still might have heard the term thrown around and been confused. Now, you’re firmly in the loop. If you’d like, you can now be the one to throw it around and confuse newcomers.
2. Point Spread
Now we’re entering into some slightly more complicated territory, but betting on the Point Spread remains fairly easy to wrap your head around.
Unlike with a Moneyline Wager, you’re not simply betting on who’s going to win. Instead, the bookmaker adjusts the requirements for winning, depending on the skill of the teams. Essentially, the teams are evened out.
But what does this mean?
It means that if you bet on the team that’s obviously better, then that team needs to score a certain amount of points for you to win the bet. If you bet on the favorite – let’s say Denver – and the spread is 14 points, but Denver only wins by 7, then you’ve lost the bet.’
Alternatively, if you bet on the underdog, then you win if the team loses by less than the allotted amount or if they win by any amount.
If that’s still confusing, think of it like this: the bookmaker takes points away from the favorite and gives points to the underdog, in order to make betting on either an equal risk.
In terms of complexity, Over-Under bets are somewhere between Moneyline Wagers and Point Spreads.
As its name suggests, an Over-Under bet begins when the bookmakers decide on how many points they think are going to be scored in a game. Once they come up with the number, then you can bet on whether the score will go over or under.
Much like Point Spreads, this is designed to be a 50/50 bet. Seems simple, right?
Often, you’ll see online sports betting sites set the score with a “.5” beside it. This is so you can’t end up tying and the result will always be over or under.
Sometimes, sportsbooks will add multiple watermarks, meaning that instead of a 50/50 bet, you can risk more or play it safe. For instance, if the 50/50 Over-Under bet on the Rams is 20.5 points, then there might be another Over-Under bet at 7 points.
With this second bet, you’ll make more money if backing the under, but less if backing the over.
The World of Legal Online Sports Betting is Waiting
When you first started reading this guide, you were but a young, naïve spectator of legal online sports betting.
But now, you are the master.
Okay, maybe not the master, but you’re certainly ready to start gambling responsibly.
You know to find a betting site that is both reputable and offers the services you care most about, such as which sportsbooks have the best online sports betting bonuses.
You’ve also picked up some of the basic lingo and can now make educated bets, as opposed to shots in the dark.
It may not be immediately apparent, but your entire sports experience has just changed.
When you start betting on your favorite team – or any team – it’s one game within another. And you can never have too many games.