Sports betting can provide another level of enjoyment and excitement — whether it is merely an added sense of involvement in Libya’s football action, or the fun and financial rewards of a larger sports betting strategy. Bettors seek many different types of goals: casual fun and closer connection to their team, the anticipation and tension of the wagering itself, or as a studied and precise strategy for maximizing their success.
No matter what level you play at, the essentials of sports betting should come in handy. We’ll assume that you are just beginning to explore the sports betting experience, and give you some basic information and hints that you will need to know at any stage of the game.
First of all, odds can be somewhat mysterious for the first-time bettor (and many more experienced gamblers seem not to understand them as well as they should). Odds (or ‘the line’) can be defined as the probability that something will happen. If Libya goes into a game with a team full of proven performers against Ghana, whose main star is recovering from an injury, it is obvious that Libya is more likely to win than Ghana. In this case, we’d call Libya the “favorite” and Ghana the “underdog“.
For a more in-depth treatment of sports betting odds, please visit Sports Betting, where you will also find detailed reviews and recommendations for the various online sports betting websites.
The greater amount of likelihood that the favorite will win translates to a number, as does the lesser amount that the underdog will surprise us and win instead. These are the odds. There are a few ways of expressing these numbers, generally called “American”, “Decimal”, and “Fraction” odds.
- American – the tricky thing to remember is that the favorite gets negative odds and the underdog gets a positive odds. This is called the “moneyline” bet, and is based around 100 dollars. The favorite must risk the negative number to get 100 dollars, and the underdog risks 100 dollars to get their (positive) number.
Using our Libya vs. Ghana example, you’d see the football line on an online sports betting site like this:
and from that you know that Libya is the favorite and Ghana is the underdog, and that you must bet 120 on Libya just to win 100 (if you win), but if you bet 100 on Ghana you’d get 120 (if they won).
- Decimal – a little more straightforward; multiply your stake (the amount of money that you risk) by decimal odds and the result is what you’ll end up with if you win. Simple!
Again using our Libya vs. Ghana example, the football line on an online sports betting site would appear like this:
and from that you know that Libya is the favorite and Ghana is the underdog, and that you’d win 80 bucks for betting 100 on Libya (1.8 times $100 = $180, minus your stake = $80)
but 120 if you bet 100 on Ghana (100 times 2.2 = $220, minus your $100 stake = $120). Easy!
- Fractional – exactly the same as decimal (divide and you’ll see) – the number on the bottom is what you’d bet, and the number on top is what you’d win. So:
Once again, using our Libya vs. Ghana example, the football line on an online sports betting site looks like this:
and from that you know that Libya is the favorite and Ghana is the underdog, and that you’d bet 5 bucks on Libya and get $9 back (stake + winnings of $4)
but if you bet $5 on Ghana you’d have $11 if they won (stake + $6). Do a little math and you’ll see the odds from the last two examples are exactly the same.
There’s certainly more to know — there’s horse racing odds, over/under point spreads, et cetera — but knowing the odds will get you started. Visit one of our recommended sportsbooks at Intertops.com, Sportsbook.com, or BetUS.com and you’ll see everything we’ve been discussing. Any of those sites will have info to help you learn and become more successful at sports betting.