Sports Betting Explained

Players new to the world of sports betting can get a crash course with our guide.

Covering odd types, potential betting markets, and the legality of betting across the globe.

What to Know About Sports Betting

Sports betting works differently from casino gambling. Instead of random occurrences, such as a Roulette wheel or a deck of cards, players wager on the results of sporting events.

While the traditional way to bet on sports involves predicting the final result, modern sports betting allows for wagers on multiple aspects.

Popular and niche sports are available, with many offering in-play options. The following sports are the most commonly available in crypto sportsbooks.

  • Soccer
  • Horse Racing
  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Baseball
  • Hockey
  • Boxing
  • UFC
  • Golf

Types of Odds

odds imageThere are three main types of odds available at crypto betting sites, decimal, fractional and American odds.

Each one provides a different way of expressing the potential return to users, but it’s essential to understand there isn’t a definite best type of odds. It’s all down to personal preference as to which one to use.

1. Decimal Odds

These are relatively new but provide the simplest way of seeing the odds. Decimal odds are expressed as a decimal number.

They show the total payout, so requires slightly more work to calculate profit. Decimal odds are always above 1, due to taking the stake into account.

2.30 Odds Broken down as follows:
The event has odds of 2.30, it simply multiplies by the stake to give the total return.
Example: Stake of 1 BTC
  • It returns 1.3 BTC as profit
  • It returns 1 BTC back as the stake
  • It returns 2.3 BTC in total

2. Fractional Odds

The most common form of odds in Europe. As the name suggests, the odds are expressed as a fraction. Here are some examples of fractional odds.

14/1 Odds Broken down as follows:
Odds of 14/1 means 14 units of profit for every unit wagered.
If a bettor staked 1 BTC on a 14/1 bet, it returns 15 BTC.
  • 14 BTC returned as profit
  • 1 BTC returned as the stake
  • 15 BTC returned as the total

Fractional odds can be shown in the form of 2/5 as well. Despite looking different, it works in the same way.

2/5 Odds Broken down as follows:
2/5 odds means every 5 units wagered returns 2 units of profit.
If a bettor staked 5 BTC on a 2/5 bet.
  • 2 BTC returned as profit
  • 5 BTC returned as the stake
  • 7 BTC returned in total

3. American Odds

Working out American odds is the most complicated of all, but it’s extremely popular at US sportsbooks. American odds are expressed in two ways, either with a minus sign or a plus sign. The minus sign means the bet is on the favorite, and it works as follows.

-145 Odds Broken down as follows:
If the odds are -145, it means for every 145 units wagered the player will make 100 units profit.
Example: wager of 145 BTC
  • 100 BTC comes back as profit
  • 145 BTC comes back as the stake
  • 245 BTC comes back in total

Betting on an underdog is slightly different. The odds are shown with a plus sign in front.

+255 Odds Broken down as follows:
If the odds are +255, it means players wager 100 units to win 255 units as profit.
Example: 100 BTC wager
  • 255 BTC comes back as profit
  • 100 BTC comes back as the stake
  • 355 BTC comes back in total

Types of Bets

There is a huge range of sports bet types available, but the most common are as follows.

  • Straight Bets – A straight bet covers a wager on the outcome of a sporting event. It can cover multiple types of bets, such as spreads and moneylines. As a result, it’s the most common option on the market.
  • Prop bets – A prop bet covers aspects of the game outside of standards. So, rather than the result or over/under totals, bettors can wager on individual stats or even what happens on the sidelines. So, wagering on the color of Gatorade is an example of a prop bet 🙂
  • Futures – Betting on futures covers the outcome of a tournament. An example of this is wagering on the winner of the Stanley Cup. It doesn’t just cover team events, it can be for individual player awards, such as top goalscorer or rookie of the year.
  • ParlaysA parlay is a collection of multiple bets into a single wager. So, bettors can wager on three individual matches, but all three events must be correct for a parlay to win. It increases the overall payout but increases the risk involved.
  • Point SpreadBetting on the spread adds either a positive or negative handicap to a team.
  • Moneyline – A moneyline wager is a simple wager on the outcome of a single match.

What is Spread in Sports Betting?

When a sportsbook offers the spread, it helps to level the playing field on a wager. An example of a spread is expressed as follows.

  • Manchester United -1.5 (1.91)
  • Brentford +1.5 (1.91)

In this scenario, Manchester United are the favorites for the game, so they get a -1.5 goal handicap applied. Brentford are the underdogs, so get a +1.5 handicap. If a bettor places a wager on Manchester United, as long as they win the match by 2 goals or more, the bet wins. It allows players to bet on their favorite and increase the odds somewhat.

By the same token, it allows for a bet on the underdog and increases the chance of the bet winning.

What does the first-half spread mean?

A first-half spread solely focuses on the first half of a game. So, it works the same as a standard spread but calculates the winning bet on the result at half-time. It provides more control for bettors, as the full-time result is often harder to predict.

How to Bet Over/Under?

The over/under market is the totals market. Here it allows bettors the opportunity to place a wager on the total value of a specific stat. It typically applies to the points scored but can refer to lesser stats in a game. In soccer, an over/under bet can be on goals, corners, cards, shots on target, and even throw-ins.

To bet on this market, users check what’s available. An example is the Nuggets vs the Lakers. Here, a sportsbook will offer a wager on over/under 130.5 points. Bettors can choose to bet on the over or the under, and at the end of the game, total points for both teams are combined.

The number will vary for different games and sports. For example, Soccer will have lower over/under values than Basketball. The values are set using data models, based on past games for the two teams involved. Sportsbooks will set the odds using these models and the likely probability of what the scores will be.

What does bet the over mean?

Betting the over specifically relates to betting on the over portion of an over/under bet. An example of this is being offered over 1.5 goals in total for a soccer match. Placing this wager will win as long as 2 or more goals are scored, it doesn’t matter which team scores the goals, as long as there are 2 or more in total.

How to Bet on Sports?

Step 1: Find a trustworthy sportsbook, our list of recommended sites makes this easy
Step 2: Pick a sport to focus on
Step 3: Learn about the data behind matches and what’s most likely to take place
Step 4: Research different odd types and understand what they mean
Step 5: Sign up to the trustworthy sportsbook
Step 6: Make a deposit to the account
Step 7: Pick a game to bet on, set a stake, and place the wager
Step 8: Wait for the result to find out if the bet won

How to Place Live Bets?

A live bet works similarly to standard betting. However, it involves an event already underway. As a result, bettors must be quick to place their bets, as the ever-changing landscape of a sporting event can be different in an instant.

The most critical tip to live betting is to approach the game with research-ready.

For example, if betting on an NFL game, and your data suggests there will be over 30 points scored in the second half, watch the game live and wait for the best moment. If the game looks like it will be high-scoring from the start, place the bet right away. If it’s a slow burner, wait for a while until the odds increase to provide better value.

It’s all about combining modern research with a hunch. Although it won’t guarantee success, it will improve the chances of it.

Crypto & Bitcoin sports betting

Is Offshore Sports Betting Legal?

It depends on the jurisdiction where you are located. Some countries don’t allow sports betting at all, so offshore betting is the only option. However, it may be illegal. As a result, bettors must weigh up the risk themselves as to if it’s worth it.

Offshore betting with unlicensed sites increases the potential for unfair treatment. If the country of residence finds out it can create legal issues. As a result, users must find out for themselves if offshore gambling is legal and trustworthy within their own jurisdiction.

Get Help for Gambling Addiction: Supportive Organizations

Gambling addiction is one of the most critical issues facing bettors in the modern world. It can strike anyone, so it’s vital to understand how it can work. Players must be aware of gambling addiction, with characterization typically coming under a constant urge to bet or consistently thinking about betting.

However, there are signs to look out for which can indicate a problem.

Bettors must look out for the following potential issues.

  • Impulsive urges to place bets
  • Regularly thinking about gambling when not actively betting
  • Chasing losses with increasing stakes
  • Hiding gambling from friends and family
  • Stealing to fund gambling
  • Isolation from people to keep gambling a secret

There are multiple ways to get help with gambling problems, and the two most prominent support organizations are the National Council on Problem Gambling in the US and Gamcare in the UK.

National Council on Problem Gambling in the US bettors can contact at 1-800-522-4700

Gamcare in the UK is available through 0808 8020 133.

Bettors can get help with problem gambling through therapy, but this will have a personal cost to gain access.

Any user struggling with gambling addiction must get help right away, as waiting can lead to significant issues further down the line.

Final Verdict

Overall, sports betting is an excellent option for bettors looking to take control over their betting. With the use of research and finding the best odds, players have the opportunity to increase their chances of making a profit.

Sports betting covers a vast number of options, with eSports a recent addition. As a result, it appeals to a significant section of the betting community. Anyone looking for a way to combine statistical knowledge with gambling can do so when signing up to a sportsbook.

Our guide makes it simple to learn the basics of sports betting, vital for anyone just starting.

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18+ only. Gambling can be addictive, please play responsibly.

    Will Wood

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    A pro gambling writer since 2015, immersed in the world of crypto since 2016. I've built up a wealth of knowledge and experience in both crypto gambling and crypto betting, making me one of the most prominent voices in the industry.

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    Will Wood


    Updated on 16/04/2024