The Thrill of Victory, The Agony of Defeat: A Beginner’s Guide to Sports Betting

Steve O Speak

We’ve all felt the thrill of watching our favorite team score a last-minute goal or hit a game-winning home run. The excitement and drama of sport, like the game of Brango, captivates us all. Adding a friendly wager raises the intensity and makes every play more meaningful. Sports betting has exploded in popularity in recent years as more states legalize and regulate the activity. However, for a beginner, all the different types of bets can get confusing. This guide breaks down the most common sports wagers to help you get in the game.

Straight Bets – Betting on a Team to Win

The most straightforward sports bet is picking a team to win a game outright, known as a straight bet or money line bet. The team you select just has to win the game, no matter the score. The odds, represented by numbers like +250 or -150, indicate how much you stand to profit for a correct pick. The favorites have negative odds, meaning you have to risk more money for the chance at a smaller return. Underdogs have positive odds, where a small bet can earn a large payout if they pull off an upset. Once you get the hang of reading the odds, these straight bets offer beginners the simplest way to have action in a game.

Point Spreads – Giving a Head Start to the Underdog 

While straight bets provide excitement by backing underdogs, sportsbooks use point spreads to make games more evenly matched. The predicted margin of victory gets factored into a point spread, where the favorite has to win by more than the estimated difference to “cover the spread.” Underdogs can lose the game, but still cover and win the bet if they lose by less than the spread. For example, if the Buffalo Bills are 7.5 point favorites over the New England Patriots, the Bills have to win by 8 or more points to cover. If the Patriots lose by exactly 7, they would cover despite losing the actual game. This handicapping forces oddsmakers to do more analysis rather than just looking at win-loss records. When betting against the spread, you don’t necessarily have to pick the winner if you can accurately guess by how much they will win or lose.

Totals – Predicting the Game Score

Rather than picking a side, betting totals allows you to wager on the combined final score of both teams. Sportsbooks predict what they think the total score will be and you simply bet whether you think the actual score will end up over or under that number. For a low-scoring defensive struggle, you would bet the under. For a shootout where both offenses light up the scoreboard, the over would be the play. This kind of bet requires analyzing things like offensive and defensive trends, weather forecasts, injuries, and coaching philosophies. If you have a read on how a specific matchup will play out, betting the over/under allows you to put your analysis to the test without sweating out the final result.

Futures – Betting on Long-Term Outcomes

While most bets get placed on individual games, futures bets allow you to make predictions on events that won’t resolve until later in the season or year. The most popular futures bet is picking which team you think will win their league championship. At the beginning of the season, every team has a theoretical path to a title. As the season goes on, the odds shift based on team performance and roster changes. If you correctly pick an underdog early, you can enjoy great odds and root for them all season long. Other common futures bets include player statistical props like regular season win totals for quarterbacks or home run totals for baseball sluggers. Futures require patience and foresight, but correctly calling long-term results before they happen is a skill worth cultivating for serious sports bettors. 

Prop Bets – Wagering on Individual Player Performance

Prop bets allow you to wager on outcomes other than the final score of a contest. Also known as proposition or novelty bets, these wagers could be on anything from how many touchdown passes a quarterback will throw to whether the first score of the game will be a safety. Common player props include bets like:

  • Will LeBron James score 30+ points? 
  • Will Mike Trout hit a home run?
  • How many rushing yards will Derrick Henry tally?

Player prop odds get set based on past statistical performance and matchup difficulty. If a golfer tends to excel at certain courses, you could bet on them to place in the top 10 of an upcoming tournament. These micro-predictions provide entertainment value for specific outcomes within the game outside of just the last score.

In-Game Betting – Wagers While the Action Unfolds 

Thanks to mobile sports betting apps, you can engage with contests in real-time after the game starts with in-game or live betting. As you watch a matchup unfold, sportsbooks dynamically adjust odds for upcoming plays and events based on what’s happening in the game. This could be updated money line odds if a team storms out to an early lead or adjusted point spread and totals numbers based on injuries or scoring trends. Maybe you notice a basketball referee is calling a lot of fouls and want to bet on specific players to get whistled for their next foul. In-game betting lets you react to the sports narratives as they develop.

Parlays – Small Wagers, Big Payouts 

All the standard bets get amplified when you combine them into a parlay bet. With a parlay, you string together two or more outcomes from different events into one bet. Each additional pick boosts the potential payout, but also increases the risk that your ticket gets busted. But just a small $5 wager can return over $100 if you correctly predict five money line underdogs all winning outright. Due to the high degree of difficulty, hitting a five or six team parlay brings a huge rush for bettors. You can include different sports into the same parlay, making big events like the Super Bowl, NCAA March Madness, or the World Cup fertile ground for these types of bets.

Now that you understand the most popular sports betting options, it’s time to do your research and find some action. Every game brings the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. But armed with the proper knowledge, sports bettors can better avoid pitfalls and hopefully come out ahead. Just remember to bet responsibly and never wager more than you can afford to lose. Whether you’re betting to make games more exciting or take a shot at earning big payouts, sports wagering has something for everyone. Now let’s get in on the action!

Related Articles

Chicago Bears News: Six Undrafted Rookies Signed, Getsy On Team’s Receiver Room, Early 2022 Predictions

Bears Bring In Six Undrafted Rookies For Tryouts, Waive Six Six Players   The Chicago Bears are bringing…

Read More about Chicago Bears News: Six Undrafted Rookies Signed, Getsy On Team’s Receiver Room, Early 2022 Predictions

How NIL Rights Impact Canadian Players

It wasn’t all that long ago the NCAA announced that there would be changes coming to the NIL…

Read More about How NIL Rights Impact Canadian Players