How Does Sports Betting Work? A Beginner’s Guide

Ever wondered how sports betting works? You’re most certainly not alone.

Even at its most basic level, it requires some education and constant learning in the future: what are parlays, which are the reliable betting sites or the popular sports, how to find out my favorite type of bet, what is a moneyline bet…

Fortunately, we’re here to help you get started and keep you knowledgeable as you go. Find out all the answers in our sports betting beginner’s guide. Let’s start with the basics!

Key TakeAways

  • You’ll know all the mandatory terms, so no sports betting mystery is left!
  • Follow our detailed step-by-step guide to help you finally become the best bettor you can be.

What is Sports Betting?

Before placing your first bet or choosing between all existing bet types, you must know the definition of Sports betting. Simply put, it is defined as gambling that involves wagering on the outcome of a sporting event, in any types of sports:

  • Horse race
  • NBA Basketball game
  • NFL American football game
  • MLB Baseball game
  • College Lacrosse game
  • Tennis…

Encyclopedia Britannica took it a step further, saying:

Sports betting is one of the most popular forms of gambling because it taps into the passion of sports fans. A bet placed on a race, a game, or event allows fans to prove their knowledge of a sport or to show their loyalty to a particular team or competitor.

Sports fans are extremely passionate, and this gives them a chance to put their money into that passion. They believe firmly that the Oklahoma City Thunder team will win this weekend, and they’re willing to risk some money on that fact. This can be on a team or player, so sports fans of all kinds can get involved. 

Encyclopedia Britannica also added:

In addition to promoting camaraderie among friends, online sports betting can enliven otherwise boring or one-sided contests when handicapping systems offering odds and point spreads increase the bettors’ stake in the competition.

Keywords Every Bettor Should Know Before You Bet On Sports Online

There are plenty of terms every sport bettor should know. Each beginner gambler should take note of these terms that help you get sports betting explained.

Sports Betting TermsDefinition
BankrollBudget allowed to gamble. Make sure to set one before placing any bet, and stick to it!
BetAny wager involving money placed at a sportsbook, casino, racebook, or poker room.
BookmakerA licensed operator who sets daily betting odds and accepts bets.
Closing LineThe final betting odds before an event begins.
HandicapBetting odds set by a bookmaker that is intended to even things out.
MoneylinesStraight bets without any point spread, where bettors must only pick the winner.
OddsBetting lines set by a bookmaker.
ParlayA single bet that consists of two or more individual bets riding on each other.
PayoutOr ‘total payout’. The amount a bettor collects on a winning gamble.
StakeThe amount of money a bettor risks.
WagerPlacing a bet on any event.
Prop BetsShort for proposition bets which are based on how a certain player will perform.

These betting terms are extremely common, so knowing them is one of the first things you need to do before getting into sports betting. Spread bet, underdog, and more will also come up during your gambling sessions: find out more about sports gambling terms with our betting 101 section.

How to Start Sports Betting: A Step-by-Step Process To Work In Sports Betting

Everybody starts something at some point. If you are a beginner, I suggest you follow my step-by-step guide so that during your first sports betting session, you’ll place your bet in the best conditions!

Step 1: Set Up Your Online Betting Account

Start by choosing a reliable online sportsbook, like FanDuel or DraftKings. Create an account, verify your identity, and ensure all your information is accurate to avoid legal issues.

FYI: in most bookies, you’ll have to provide an up-to-date piece of ID and a proof of postal address to verify your account and be able to withdraw your winnings. Online sportsbooks also want to make sure that you are of legal age to bet on sports.

Step 2: Place Your First Simple Bet

Navigate the sportsbook app or website to find a game, a match, a sport category and opt for straightforward bets.

For example: I bet on the Carolina Panthers to lose their season opener without a point spread. They lost, and while it was disappointing as a fan, it was a rewarding start as a bettor.

Step 3: Learn the Basic Terms

Before placing any bets, familiarize yourself with key betting terms to understand the basics and improve your decision-making.

Start by understanding how do sports betting odds work. This is definitely one of the first things to master.

Step 4: Make Your First Deposit

Decide on a betting budget ahead, and make your first deposit. Stick to it to manage your funds responsibly and limit potential losses.

Keep in mind that your bankroll (More information about what is a bankroll here) must only be money who can afford to lose.

Step 5: Bet on What You Know

Start by betting on teams or sports you are familiar with. This increases your chances of making informed bets.

For instance: I bet against my favorite team when I feel they might lose, balancing my fan disappointment with potential winnings.

Step 6: Collect Your Winnings

Withdraw your winnings regularly and easily from platforms like DraftKings, where funds typically reflect in your account within days after the event concludes.

Winning withdrawals done at a regular pace will help you get started on a solid footing in sports betting, combining enjoyment with strategic planning. If you don’t know how to withdraw your winning, read the article I prepared for you.

Navigating the World of Sports Betting Safely

As we mentioned above, there is money on the line in this field. When you stake your claim on an outcome in a sporting event, there’s a chance you’re wrong. Even if the 2013 Seattle Seahawks faced off with the 2017 Cleveland Browns, there’s a chance the Browns win. 

That can lead to loss of money, and it can hurt in other aspects. Mental health is a massive part of all of this. Losing doesn’t feel good, and it can be compounded with the financial aspect. 

Some who’ve fallen into gambling addiction have even lost relationships. Responsible Gambling says:

Gambling harm can affect self-esteem, relationships, physical and mental health, work performance and social life.

This is not a field to be taken lightly, and it is best to be safe when doing this. You may want to bet, but you don’t need to bet, so keep the risks in mind. When you’re betting, make sure to do so on reliable online betting sites only.

If you’re looking for some, you can check our recommended online tested-approved sportsbooks

Understanding the Risks and Rewards

The biggest and most common risk is losing money. When you place money on something, it is completely gone if you’re wrong. That bet you were certain would hit didn’t, and now you’re down $100.

That has some consequences for you and your life, which is why it is imperative that you fully understand the risks.

You have to weigh the risk vs. the reward. Is the money you might earn worth risking losses and potential damage to your mental health? That’s for you to decide, but it’s not a decision to brush past. 

Finding Further Information and Support

The best way you can arm yourself against all of those risks is by educating yourself. The more educated you are, the less risk you take with each sport bet.

TrustnBet is a tremendous tool you should take advantage of. 

If you find yourself struggling with gambling, help is out there. You won’t be able to fight this on your own, which is why organizations exist to help.

The National Gambling Hotline is available. Therapists are available, too. Talk to someone at the very least, and don’t let this run unchecked. 

In a nutshell, Sports Betting…

When you’re a beginner bettor, you need to:

  • Educate yourself on how things work.
  • Compare your options to find the best odds.
  • Evaluate all the potential risks.
  • Set a budget so that anything you lose is planned out.
  • Stay tuned with the latest trends, all the sports news.
  • Find a reliable and trust-worthy sportsbook.
  • Stay informed regularly about gambling laws and jurisdiction in America.
  • Always practice responsible gambling.

Regardless of how involved you’d like to be, make sure to take those steps so you can stay involved and mitigate the downsides as much as possible.

Take a look at our guide for sports betting beginners, it provides further information that will help start your gambling journey in the best conditions!