Beginner’s Guide to Sports Betting

Gambling is a pastime for many people around the world. And when talking about the popular types of gambling, sports betting is one to mention. Many online sports betting sites in the iGaming space feature numerous sports competitions and tournaments that players can bet on.

If you are new to sports betting, the idea can seem overwhelming. This is especially true if you hear people speaking sports gambling lingua such as odds, markets, bet types and so on. However, the truth is that betting on sporting events is not difficult. In fact, you can understand how the entire process works within a few minutes. 

This comprehensive guide will explain everything you should know about sports betting and how it works. It will explain the rudiments and other important details so you can start wagering money on your preferred sporting events without hiccups. As part of this guide, we will discuss some vital strategies you should consider to improve your chances of winning when you bet on sports. So for all that and more, keep reading. 

What Is Sports Betting?

Sports betting is the act of wagering money on a sports team. It is a form of gambling, so the goal is to win money. However, this does not mean you have a guaranteed chance to win every time you place a sports bet. Like every form of gambling, betting on sports has risks, and you may lose some wagers. This is why it is vital to have a defined bankroll for gambling, and you should bet with money you can afford to lose. Besides, play at the best sportsbooks like for a fair and fun gambling experience.

Is Sports Betting a Good Option for You?

There is no easy answer to this question. Sports betting is fun as it offers the thrill of winning money. However, just because you have a chance to win money by betting on sports does not mean that this is the best type of gambling for you. So how, then, can you determine if sports betting is the perfect form of gambling for you? Well, consider these questions:

  • Do you love watching sports?
  • Are you good at predicting sports scores and outcomes?
  • Do you think you have good knowledge of a particular sport?
  • Do you want to make money betting on sports?

If your answers to these questions are yes, then sports betting may be right for you. However, this is not to say that you cannot bet on sports even if you are not yet good at predicting outcomes. After all, you can learn how different sports work and what factors to consider when predicting sports outcomes. And the good news is that the internet is filled with plenty of resources that can help. 

Popular Types of Sports to Bet On

There are numerous types of sports you can bet on at the best online sportsbooks. However, some sports are more popular than others. For instance, football is a more popular sport worldwide compared to water polo. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that some countries or regions may have sports more popular than others. If you are in India, cricket is considered the most popular sport. But in America, American football and basketball are more popular.

Regardless, when you play at the best online sportsbook, you can bet on different sports and events. Here are a few of the popular ones:

  • Football
  • Basketball
  • American Football
  • Cricket
  • Tennis

How to Bet on Sports

If you are a newbie looking to bet on sports, you’ll be happy to know that the process is pretty straightforward. There are two ways you can bet on sports. First, you can bet offline at a retail sports shop, but this requires you to leave the comfort of your home, which is unsuitable for every player.

The second way to bet on sports is to do so online. This offers more comfort and flexibility, as you can place bets on your favourite sports and players from the comfort of your home. So for the purpose of this guide, we will explain how you can bet on sports online.

Choose a Top Online Sportsbook

This is the first step to betting on sports online. Choose a top legal online sportsbook, like, that operates with a valid licence in your jurisdiction. Register an account with the gambling site by clicking the “Sign Up” or “Register” button. This will take you to the registration form, where you will be required to provide details like your name, email address, phone number, and so on. To avoid problems later on, make sure you provide accurate information.

Fund Your Sports Betting Account

The next step is to fund your betting account. Depending on the online sportsbook, you may need to provide verification documents before you can have full access to your betting account. Once you do, click the “Deposit” button in your sportsbook’s “My Account” section. This will display a list of the payment methods available for deposits. Select your preferred option, specify the amount you want to deposit, and authenticate the transaction from your payment account.

Select Your Preferred Sports and Events

With money in your betting account, select the “Sports” tab or something similar, which should take you to the sportsbook section. Here you will see a list of all the sports available to bet on, and you can click on your preferred sport to reveal the competitions, leagues, and tournaments. You will see the events to bet on for each competition. For example, in football betting, you may see England in the options and the Premier League under it. In the league, you may see games with teams like Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester United.

Select Your Predictions

Next, select your predictions for the sporting events you want to bet on. Once you select an event, the available markets and corresponding odds will be displayed. As you click on the odds, it will reflect in your bet slip section, which may be on the right or bottom corner, depending on your sportsbook’s design. You can switch between different sports and events to select your preferred predictions.

Place Bets

After filling the bet slip with your predictions and markets, proceed to place your bet. However, depending on how many selections are on your bet slip, you may place the bet as singles, accumulators, or round robins. Once that’s done, enter the amount you want to wager and place your bet. The potential payout amount will be displayed, and the bet should be in your betting history.

What Are Sports Betting Odds?

Odds are an essential part of sports betting. They refer to the measure of how much your prediction can win. When online sportsbook operators decide on the odds to assign for each outcome, they consider the probability of the outcomes happening. For example, a favourite team with a much better chance of winning in a football match will be given much lower odds than its opponent, who is the underdog.

But how do the odds of an outcome affect you as a player? Well, odds determine how much you can win betting on an outcome. The higher the odds of an event, the higher the potential winnings. To understand this, consider this example: Say you bet $100 on an NBA game with odds of 2.0. Then, in that case, you stand a chance to win $200 ($100 x 2.0) in return, including your original wager amount. This explains why many pro sports punters play at online sportsbooks that offer higher odds.

That said, be aware that odds can be represented in different ways. Most top online sports betting sites will even allow you to choose how you want the odds displayed. You can display the odds as fractions, American, or decimals. But at the end of the day, odds are a sportsbook’s perception of the probability of your bet winning.

Popular Sports Betting Markets

Want to bet on sports? The fundamentals of the most popular markets should be mastered first. You should look for a sportsbook that offers a wide variety of betting markets, or possible outcomes for wagers. Nonetheless, we’ll go over some of the common sports betting markets below.


Also referred to as a “three-way match-winner market,” moneyline involves betting on the team or player to win a sports match. For instance, if the Lakers are playing the Rockets in an NBA game, you can bet on the Lakers to win or the Rockets to win. In other sports like football, a third option is also common: betting on the game to end in a tie.

Totals Under/Over

This is another betting market available for most sporting events. In totals under/over, you are betting on the total number of occurrences in a game to be under or over a value specified by the sportsbook. For instance, in an NFL game, you can bet on the total touchdowns to be over 5.5. If the total number of touchdowns made in the game is six or more, your bet wins. Totals under/over are also applicable for goals, points, cards, fouls, corners, and so on. However, availability depends on your sportsbook.

Spread Betting

Spread betting is also called handicap betting. While this market is not popular among newbie bettors, it’s a great option that can help you get some decent wins. With spread betting, a sportsbook gives a team a positive or negative, and you can bet with the advantage. For example, if you bet on a football team to win with a +2 spread, your bet wins even if the team loses by 1 goal difference. You can just think of spreading as adding or removing points/goals from a sports team or player before the start of a game.

Correct Score

Correct score is another sports betting market available for most sports. It is not the easiest to predict but often offers high odds. In this sports market, you are predicting what the score of a game will be. So assuming you bet on the correct score of an English Premier League game to be 4-4 and the game ends 4-4, in that case, you win the bet. However, note that the correct score can be offered for half-time and full-time.

Proposition Bets

These are betting markets that have nothing to do with the outcome of a game. They are not common among beginners, but a few intermediate and pro sports bettors prefer prop betting over regular markets. With prop bets, you may be able to bet on more specific outcomes concerning a team or player. For instance, in a football game, you can bet on the player to win the “Man of the Match” award. You can also bet on the team to score the first point or on the player to score goals.


An accumulator bet is more of a betting option and not a market. After selecting outcomes to bet on to fill your bet slip, you will usually have the option to place the bets as singles, parlays, or round robins. If you bet the game as “singles,” then you are simply wagering a specified amount on each game. But “parlays,” also called accumulators, allow you to combine single events to form a combined single bet slip.

The good thing about parlays is that the odds of the event are multiplied, giving you a massive chance to win. However, if you lose one of the games in a parlay bet, you lose the entire slip. The only time this does not happen is if you play at a sportsbook that offers a form of insurance, where you still get something even with one game losing in your accumulator.

Futures Betting in Sports

Futures betting in sports means that you are staking on an outcome that will be decided much later in the future. For example, when the NCAA regular season starts, you will often find some top sportsbooks offering players a chance to bet on conference winners. And as you may expect, the odds of this type of betting can be pretty high, but predicting correctly is not easy. Betting on futures is not limited to league or tournament winners. You can also bet on the player to get the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award or to score the highest number of goals (the Golden Boot) in a football league.

Pre-Match Betting and Live Betting

As a punter, you can bet on sports through pre-match or live betting. But what do these terms mean? Pre-match betting refers to staking money on a game that will be played at a later date or time. This can be days, hours, or minutes. Betting before the start of a match usually offers higher odds since sportsbooks do not have all the last-minute information that may affect the game’s probabilities. Besides, you will have plenty of time to analyse the sports match you want to bet on, leading to better decisions on which market to go for.

However, it is worth noting that you cannot predict what will happen minutes or seconds before the game, which can hurt your prediction. For instance, if the star player of a hockey team has the flu or an injury after you’ve already bet on the team to win, you cannot reverse your bet. Even worse, the injury might lead to the team losing, which is totally impossible to plan for.

On the other hand, live betting refers to staking on a game that is currently in play. Some players prefer this type of betting because they can make decisions based on the current occurrences of the game. However, the live betting odds may sometimes be lower than the pre-match betting odds since sportsbooks have been able to make their decisions based on the winning probabilities. But in cases where a star player is injured, the live betting odds may go up.

Live Streaming at Online Sportsbooks

Some top online sportsbooks offer live streaming to complement live betting. At such sites, you can stream live games and catch all the actions of your favourite sports teams and players. However, depending on the gambling operator, you may need to have an active sports betting account that is funded before you can stream live sports. Some operators may also limit live streaming to VIP players. And in cases where you can’t stream live sports, most online sportsbooks have a statistics panel where you can check the live scores and other details of an in-play game. 

Choosing the Best Online Sportsbooks

You must play at a top online sportsbook like if you want to enjoy the best gambling experience. The internet is filled with thousands of gambling sites offering sports betting services. However, not all of these sites are a good choice. Some are scam sites that want to rip players off of their money.

So how can you choose the best online sports betting platforms? Well, you must consider some important factors explained below.

Licensing and Security

Licensing is an important factor you should consider before joining any online gambling platform. The licence of a sportsbook will let you know if it operates legally in your jurisdiction. For instance, operates with a Curacao eGaming licence that allows it to operate in many locations. Some of the top regulatory bodies out there are the UK Gambling Commission, the Malta Gaming Commission, and the Gibraltar Gambling Commission.


In addition to licensing, check the security of the sportsbook. Top online sports betting sites use Secure Sockets Layer and other advanced firewall technologies to encrypt information on their platform. They can thus prevent unauthorised access to user information.

Types of Sports

You should also consider the sports selection at a gambling site before choosing it. Make sure you have plenty of sports to bet on and that the operator covers a wide range of competitions and tournaments. If you have a particular sport that you are comfortable predicting and betting on, it’s also a good idea to ensure that it’s available at the sportsbook you want to choose.

Odds and Markets

Another important factor to take into account when choosing the best online sports betting site is the odds and markets. Make sure you play at a gambling platform that offers highly competitive odds, so you can enjoy higher potential winnings. Likewise, check the markets to see the types of bets you can place and ensure the common markets are covered.

Bonuses and Promotions

Bonuses are freebies that can boost players’ bankrolls and allow them to place more bets. So when selecting an online sports betting site, take your time to check the bonuses and promotions on offer. Make sure you can claim different kinds of bonuses and also consider the terms and conditions that apply. 

Payment Methods

The payment methods that an online sports betting platform accepts will determine how you can deposit and withdraw winnings. Play at a sportsbook that accepts numerous easy-to-use and safe banking options. You can check the banking page of a gambling site to see its available options, processing times, and fees. 

Customer Support

While it may not seem like it, the customer support options of an online sportsbook can determine if it’s a good choice. After all, the available support options will determine how to get assistance when you need it. So before you register with any gambling operator, ensure it provides good support services via methods like live chat, email, and telephone.

Types of Sports Betting Bonuses

As mentioned earlier, bonuses can help boost your bankroll, thus allowing you to place more sports bets without risking too much of your money. However, there are different types of bonuses at online sportsbooks. In this section, we will discuss some of the common types of sports betting bonuses and what you should consider before claiming them.

Welcome Bonuses

A sports welcome bonus is a promotional offer that is exclusive to new players. Online sportsbooks offer this bonus as a way to welcome newbies on board and to help them kickstart their betting adventures. The bonus can come as free bets, risk-free bets, or match deposit bonuses, depending on the gambling site offering it.

Free Bet

This is a sports betting promotion where a sportsbook gives you a percentage of your wagered amount as a bonus. For instance, an online sports betting site can offer players a “bet $10, get $20” free bet on a particular game. So if you wager $10 on the specified game, you get a $20 free bet regardless of whether your initial wager wins or loses.

Risk-Free Bet

A risk-free bet is pretty similar to a free bet. You get a percentage of your wager amount as a bonus. However, the only difference is that this bonus is added if your original wager loses. So in a case where you claim a risk-free bet and wager on the specified game and win, you won’t get the risk-free bet bonus.

Match Bonus

Top sports betting sites like offer match bonuses, where you get a percentage of the amount you deposit as a bonus. However, there is usually a cap on the bonus amount you can get. For instance, a bookie can offer a 100% match bonus of up to $100. So if you deposit $100 or more to claim the offer, you get $100 as bonus money.

VIP Programs

Some online sportsbooks have a VIP or loyalty reward program to incentivize their loyal players. As a VIP member, you can enjoy special perks like faster withdrawals, exclusive bonuses, a dedicated account manager, invitations to VIP events, and so on. Besides that, sports betting sites with loyalty programs also allow players to earn points for real-money wagers. These points can then be accumulated and traded for bonuses.

Sports Betting Bonus Terms and Conditions

We’ve explained the common types of sports bonuses you can claim. However, before you take advantage of any bonus, you must consider the applicable terms and conditions. This will let you know how good the offer is and if you have a good chance of winning money from it. Here are some vital terms and conditions to consider:

  • Wagering/Rollover Requirements: This is the number of times you must bet the bonus before you can collect the winnings.
  • Minimum Odds: Refers to the minimum odds of events you can wager with the bonus.
  • Maximum Win: This is the maximum amount you can win from the bonus.
  • Validity Period: This represents how long you can claim the bonus before it expires.
  • Valid Sports: The sports and events you can use the bonus for.

Banking Options for Online Sportsbooks

Before you can start betting on sports online, you must fund your sportsbook account. The best online sportsbooks support a wide range of banking options that make it easy for players to deposit and withdraw winnings from their accounts. Here are a few payment methods you can use for online sports betting.

Credit/Debit Cards

Credit and debit cards are the most popular payment methods used for online transactions. They are connected to users’ bank accounts or credit facilities, allowing them to make payments online and have them deducted from their bank account or credit balance. An impressive thing about using credit/debit cards is their security and availability for both deposits and withdrawals. However, payout processing via this option is usually slower and can take between 3 and 5 business days. Some credit/debit cards available at online sportsbooks are MasterCard, Visa, and Maestro.

Prepaid Cards

Many top online sports betting sites accept prepaid cards as one of their primary payment methods. Prepaid cards are prefilled with an amount, and you can spend up to that amount. This offers more security since you don’t have to share your banking details. However, one drawback of this option is that it is usually not available for withdrawals. But the processing of deposits made at online sportsbooks via prepaid cards is instant and usually fee-free. Some popular prepaid cards you can use for sports betting are Play+ prepaid card, American Express prepaid card and Paysafecard.


You can use e-wallets to deposit and withdraw winnings at most online sportsbooks. E-wallets are electronic-based payment methods that let you store and transact online. They offer faster processing of payouts, and their limits are usually high. Some e-wallets may come with native apps you need to download to use them. However, it’s worth pointing out that e-wallet providers often charge small fees for processing some transactions. Examples of the top e-wallets you can use for online sports betting are Skrill, Neteller, and MuchBetter.

Bank Transfers

Most sportsbooks accept online bank transfers for deposits and withdrawals. Online bank transfers sometimes come as a mobile app connected to users’ bank accounts, allowing them to perform instant transactions without visiting their financial institutions. However, it is worth noting that the processing is pretty slow for withdrawals, and it can sometimes take between 3 and 7 business days to receive winnings via bank transfers.


The online gambling industry has integrated cryptocurrency solutions into some of its provisions. One such instance is when it comes to depositing and withdrawing winnings. You can now use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum to make payments at sports betting sites, and the processing times are fast. In fact, crypto offers improved security since it operates using blockchain technology. You may also be able to gamble anonymously using cryptocurrency payments.

Tips to Improve Your Winning Chances

Sports betting is fun, but you can win or lose money. For this reason, it is best to bet with money you can afford to lose and not get addicted to gambling. However, there are a couple of ways you can improve your chances of winning when you bet on sports. But none of these strategies offers a 100% guaranteed winning chance. They only help you figure out what market to bet on that has the highest percentage of winning.

  • Choose a specific sports competition and master it.
  • Consider team news such as transfers and injury reports.
  • Check the team’s form and head-to-head statistics.
  • Take into account fatigue and the importance of the game.
  • Consider the rivalry between teams.
  • Follow expert predictions.
  • Use matched betting to your advantage.


We’ve explained all the basics of sports betting to help you get started as a beginner. Remember, betting on sports is pretty easy, and it involves creating an account with a top sportsbook, funding the account, and selecting your predictions. Before choosing a sportsbook, you should think about things like licensing, odds and markets, bonuses, and payment methods.

Also, like every form of gambling, sports betting has its risks. So play with the money you can spare and use strategies to improve your chances of winning. With all the information in this guide, you can surely start betting on sports like a pro in no time. 


What is sports betting?

It is the act of predicting and wagering money on a sports team or player. The goal is to win money if your prediction is correct.

Can I bet on sports on a mobile device?

Yes. Top online sportsbooks optimise their platforms for mobile devices. Some even have a native app for iOS and Android that players can install to bet on mobile.

Can I win money betting on sports?

Yes. You can win money betting on sports if your prediction wins. However, if you play with a bonus, you must fulfil the specified rollover requirement.

What are sports betting bonuses?

These are freebies that a sports betting site offers players to help boost their bankrolls and place more sports bets.

How old must I be to bet on sports?

It depends on the gambling laws of your country. However, the minimum sports wagering age in most countries is 18 years old.