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Sports Betting 101

Sports Betting For Beginners FAQ

Here are some of the most common questions about sports betting to help get you started!

What is sports betting?

Sports betting is the act of wagering or betting money on the outcome of a specific result on a sporting event.

Find out more about sports betting here

How do I bet on sports legally and safely?

A lot of sports betting now takes place online. There are many different sports betting sites to choose from. Finding a legal and safe betting site is now more important than ever.

Find out more about how to bet on sports safely and legally

What sports betting terms do I need to know?

Sports betting can seem like a different language if you're new to the game. That's why we've created a full list of key Sports Betting Terms so you can crack the code and start your journey knowing exactly what's what.

How do I read sports odds?

Reading sports odds can be tricky at first. We have a full guide below that details the different types of odds available and how they work!

Find out how to read sports odds today!

What are betting lines?

The term "betting lines" is another way you can talk about odds. Just like with odds, there are a number of different ways they can be displayed.

Find out more about betting lines here

What is a moneyline?

A moneyline is one of the most common forms of sports bet you make. With a moneyline bet you usually bet on the outcome of a game - win, lose or sometimes even a draw.

You can find more info on moneylines here

What is a parlay bet?

A parlay bet is where you can combine single bets into one bet. But why would you want to do that?

Find out more about parlays here

What is point spread betting?

Point spread betting is a type of betting that is used in many sports. Spread betting helps to level out the difference if one team is very good and one isn't.

Spread betting helps to make a game more competitive and gives a great chance to place a wager.

You can find more info on spread betting here

Where can I bet on sports?

Betting sites and online sportsbooks are now becoming one of the easiest and safest ways to bet on sports. Many Americans are now realizing the benefits to using betting sites to bet on sports.

Learn more about where to bet on sports here

How do I sign up to a betting site?

In order to get access to betting sites you will need to sign up for an account. Most betting sites now have a quick, safe and easy way to sign up for a betting account.

Learn how to sign up for a betting site here

How can I place a bet online?

Once you have a betting account on a betting site you can start to place bets.

We talk more about how to place a bet online here

How much should I bet?

We'll say it straight out. You should only ever bet with what you can afford. Never bet outside your means.

We talk more about how much you should bet below.

What is a bet slip?

You can find bet slips on all betting sites. Bet slips or betting slips help you keep track of your bets.

Find out more about how bet slips work below

What are betting picks?

Betting picks are suggested bets for a specific event or game. Some services will charge you for betting picks and while many are legitimate operators you should be careful.

At BetBlazers our betting picks are safe, legal and free!

Go to Betting Picks now

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What is sports betting?

What is sports betting

Sports betting as defined by the BetBlazers dictionary

Gambling, making a wager or placing a bet. These are all different ways of saying the same thing and that's betting!

Sports betting is the act of placing a bet for a fixed fee of money on the outcome of a sports event. This can be done for a number of sports. Whether it's football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer and many more!

...but can you find sports betting online?

That's an easy one. Yes you can!

There are a number of great betting sites and online sportsbook now offering odds for your favorite sports.

There are many different types of sports betting and many different kinds of sports you can bet on.

Safe and Legal Sports Betting

States with legal sports betting map

Online sports betting is currently legal in these US states

Online sports betting has never been bigger. With more and more states legalizing online betting, many Americans are coming to realize the massive advantage that sports betting online presents.

You can find a full list of all US states who currently have legal sports betting already in place.

*More and more states are making online sports betting legal. Check back to find out updates on your state!

States with Legal Online Sports Betting

Click below to find out if your state has already legalized online sports betting!

Sports Betting Terms You Need To Know

We've collected some of the most common sports bettings terms we think you need to know in order to get started and understand the basics of sports betting as a beginner.

Sports betting terms 1

*It's good to remember that here in the US we have our own terminology for different types of bets and odds. So don't be surprised if you see a lot of different terms that mean similar things. It usually isn't much more complicated than you would think!

Key Sports Betting Terms
  • Odds: The number a sports betting site will give to a team or individual to show how likely something will happen. For example who will win.
  • Betting line: Another term for odds. This can be applied to any type of odds market. For example, moneyline, points spread.
  • Moneyline: A type of bet that means you back one team to win a game.
  • Parlay: A type of bet where you put a number of different bets together into a single bet. This increases the odds but means you have to win all of your bets to win!
  • Favorite: This is the team that is expected to be the most likely to win.
  • Underdog: The team or individual in a game that is expected to lose

Click below to find a long list of key sports betting terms.

Sports Betting Glossary

Sports Betting Terms: A-M

  • Bet slip: This is where your current bets and finished bets will appear on a betting site. This allows you to keep track of your wagers, the price of the odds and how much you are betting.
  • Betting Line: Another term for odds. This can be applied to any type of odds market. For example, moneyline, points spread.

  • Book (see also sportsbook): Any type of establishment that offers wagers for sports betting. Basically a short and sharp way of saying a sportsbook, bookmaker or betting site.

  • Cash Out: A type of betting insurance where you can opt to back out of a bet before the bet closes and claim back some of your original wager

  • Consensus: Refers to the percentage of players betting on either side of a game. If you bet against the "public money" it means you will place a bet against what the majority of people are betting on.

  • Cover (the spread): To win a wager by more than the point spread. If a favorite is to cover they must win the game by a number higher than spread. For an underdog to cover they must lose by less than the spread.

  • Dog (see also underdog): This is the team that is expected to be the most likely to lose in a game.

  • Even (Even Money): A $100 bet to win $100.

  • Handicap: Another term for spread betting. An advantage or deficit applied to a team depending on whether they are a favorite or underdog

  • Favorite: This is the team that is expected to be the most likely to win.

  • Futures (Future bets)A type of bet made on a longer term outcome. For example who will win a division, a championship or a player to come out on top. Also known as an outright or outright betting.

  • Limit: The maximum amount of money allowed to be wagered on a single bet.

  • Moneyline: A type of bet that means you back one team to win a game.

Sports Betting Terms: N-Z

  • Odds: The number a sports betting site will give to a team or individual to show how likely something will happen. For example who will win.
  • Point spread: Used in spread betting. The handicap applied to a favorite or underdog in a match that they must overcome in order to win the bet.

  • Parlay: A type of wager that will combine any number of bets into a single bet. All bets must win if you are to win a parlay. Parlays can be made across multiple games or sports. Same game parlays are when a number of bets on a single game are combined.

  • Prop bet (proposition betting): A type of bet that is not on the outcome of the game. For example, how many runs in a game or the first player to score in a game.

  • Puckline: Another way to say the "point spread" but used only in hockey.

  • Push: Specific to spread betting. When neither covers the spread and it lands exactly on the spread. Bets are usually refunded.

  • Runline: Another way to say "point spread" but used only in baseball.

  • Sportsbook: Another term for betting site. Any type of establishment that offers wagers for sports betting.
  • Underdog: The team or individual in a game that is expected to lose.

  • Wager: Another word for a bet.

How to read sports odds

It all begins and ends with the odds! Understanding odds are crucial if you're going to become successful at sports betting.

But what exactly are odds? Odds are written as a number and are given out by a sports betting site or sportsbook based on the likelihood that something may happen.

This can be whether a team will win a game or whether something specific will happen in a game - for example how many touchdowns will be scored by a team.

How to read sports odds 1
How to read sports odds 2

This is how odds will often look when you are on a betting site or sportsbook.

Betting Odds in Focus

How does a betting site calculate odds?

Good question! There are a different number of ways a betting site will calculate odds:

  • How well a team or individual is doing in recent matches

  • Past meetings between the two

  • Injuries and suspensions (are any key players missing?)

Sports odds calculator 1

Sports odds calculator: odds vs. probability

Probability is the likelihood that something will or will not happen. This is what odds represent.

We've made an easy to read odds probability guide if you're still not sure of exactly what the odds are telling you when you go onto a betting site.

The odds will tell you how likely the betting site or sportsbook think any particular bet will happen. Here you can see what the likelihood (probability) means in real terms.

Get Prepared for the Odds Deep Dive

Still not sure about odds? Don't worry we'll go into more specifics about what different kind of odds are available and how to play them just below! Moneyline, parlays, props and much more!

What is a betting line?

Betting lines are different ways you can write odds which normally are written in three ways.

As you've seen in the graphic above "How to Read Sports Odds".

Scroll up to find out more about how odds work or continue to learn about specific types of betting.

What is a moneyline?

Moneyline betting is the most basic and common form of sports betting available today. A moneyline bet involves you placing a wager on the outcome of a contest.

This is usually to back a team or individual to a win or a loss. In some sports like boxing or soccer there can also be a third outcome which is a tie.

Moneyline odds in the States are written in a plus/minus system (+/-). For example -250 or +168. Like our example here.

How do moneyline bets work?

Why is it written like this? A minus number shows you how much money you have to bet to win $100. With the Packers at -205 you would have to bet $205 to win $100 on top of the original money you put down.

A plus number shows you how much you will win on top of what you first bet. So if you bet $100 on the Eagles to win at odds of +168 you would win $68.

Let's say you have two teams in a game like the Packers and the Eagles. The favorites will most likely be written with a minus and the underdogs with a plus.

In this case the Packers are the favorites at money line odds of -205 with PointsBet. Let's say you bet $100 on Packers. that would mean you would win $48.78. A bet of $100 on the Eagles who are the underdogs would win $68.

What is a moneyline

Shopping around for the best odds

Not every betting site will offer the same odds. Some betting sites will have lower or higher odds. That's why it's a good idea to shop around a little.

Here we've taken the example of PointsBet and FanDuel. In this case PointsBet are offering higher odds than FanDuel.

By comparing the odds offered on both sites we can see that a winning bet with PointsBet would return more winnings.

What is a parlay?

A parlay bet is where you take a number of individual single bets and combine them into one bet.

Pro: A great way to increase the value of odds or excitement

Pro: It can allow you to bet on multiple games or outlets at once

Con: You need all of your bets to win. If you lose one, you lose them all

Con: The value can often be difficult to calculate and can be higher with single moneylines

Parlays can be any combination of single bets added into one bigger bet. Whether, it's two, three, four bets or even more - parlay is the catch-all term!

  • Same game parlays are where you combine different bets for the same game!
What is a parlay 3

How do I win a parlay bet?

Parlay betting is where you combine more than one bet together. To be able to win a parlay bet you need to win each individual bet within the parlay in order to claim your winnings.

For example. Let's say you have a three way parlay bet (x3 bets single bets)

  1. Green Bay Packers to win over Philadelphia Eagles

  2. Boston Red Sox to win over Minnesota twins

  3. Manchester United to score more goals than Liverpool

If you win every bet you will win your parlay.

Bet 1: ✅ Win

Bet 2: ✅ Win

Bet 3: ✅ Win

Outcome: You have won the parlay!

Even if only one bet does not win, this means you will not win your parlay!

Bet 1: ✅ Win

Bet 2: ✅ Win

Bet 3: ❌ Loss

Outcome: You have not won the parlay

This is why you should always choose parlay bets carefully

What is the maximum number of bets for a parlay?

There is no limit to the number of bets you can combine to make a parlay. But we must advise you to use discretion. The more bets you put into a parlay the higher the stakes are!

Remember you have to win every bet to win a parlay.

You've now reached intermediate betting

Congratulations! You've now learnt the very basics of sports betting for beginners.

Now it's time to introduce some more advanced types of betting such as point spread betting and how to use betting sites!

Point spread betting

Point spread betting or "the spread" is a number that appears next to a sports team or individual and their opponent to show the difference between how good the two competitors actually are.

It will often be written with a + or - next to the number. For example "+3.5" or -"3-5". You can see the example here.

The spread basically acts as a form of handicap between the two teams in order to level the playing field when betting on who will win the contest.

Point spread betting 380 380px
An Example of Point Spread

As we can see in our example. The Packers are the favorite to win the game.

A -1.5 spread has been applied to them before the game gets underway. The final score was 28 to 20 in favor of the Packers.

They had to win by two points or more to cover the spread which they had done. The Eagles had a spread of +1.5.

The final score finished 28-20 with the Eagles losing the game. The Eagles lost by eight points. They did not cover the spread because they had to lose by two points, tie, or win the game.

What is covering the spread?

Think of spread betting as basically applying a handicap or an imaginary advantage or disadvantage to two teams. This is done so it makes a game more worthwhile to bet on if there is already one clear favorite.

Let's say the favorite has a big handicap applied but they still score more points to beat that handicap. That would mean the team would cover the spread.

The opposite would apply to the underdog. If they score less points than the spread they would then cover the spread.

See the image for an example of spread betting.

How to bet on sports

Now you know the ins-and-outs of how sports betting works, it's time to put that in practice! In this section we'll show you how to actually bet on sports online.

How to bet on sports 1

A lot of sports betting is now taking place online with many more Americans choosing to use betting sites. Those players are really beginning to appreciate the many benefits that are available.

The benefits of using betting sites & online sportsbooks
  • State regulated betting sites are legal

  • Up to date security features make betting sites a safe option

  • Betting apps make your favorite sites available everywhere

  • A wide range of odds and betting options

  • Betting sites let you take a break when you feel you need one

  • America's favorite sports are given full coverage

Just below you'll find out how to sign up and use betting sites. We only recommend fully licensed, trustworthy and top of the line sportsbooks!

Signing up for a betting site

Sports betting 101 betting sites

Every betting site is a bit different in its own special way. In most cases the sign up process is fairly smooth when you're choosing a legal and professional betting site.

Step by step sign up

  1. Click one of our links to go to a betting site of your choosing

  2. Start the registration process

  3. Enter your details and ID information

  4. Make a first time deposit to claim a bonus

  5. Start betting on your favorite sports

What you will need to sign up to a betting site
  • Your Social Security Number

  • Email address

  • Phone number

  • Home address

  • A way to fund your betting account

  • A utility bill or ID with your address

*What you may be required to submit can differ depending on in which state you currently reside but this is a general list.

How to sign up to DraftKings Today

Still not decided on a sportsbook just yet? One of America's favorites is DraftKings and we couldn't agree more. Many US players are now turned on to the great range of odds and service that DraftKings provides.

Here's a quick guide on how to sign up in just five minutes.

Swipe across to see the full step by step guide.

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how to place a bet online

In order to place a bet online you need to sign up to a betting site and become a member.

If you haven't already signed up to a betting site we recommend taking a look at the previous step and then joining us back here after you've done that.

Sign up to a betting 1

1. Sign up to a betting site

The first step to placing a bet online is to sign up to a betting site. Find and choose a legal betting site from our list above and get started with the sign up process. But in all honesty you really can't go wrong with any of the following:

Sign up to a betting 2

2. Find and select your odds

Once you've chosen one of our recommended betting sites it's really easy to find odds for your favorite sports.

Moneylines, parlays and much more, there are a number of different ways you can find odds for your favorites.

  • Live betting and big events are usually up front
  • Check the sidebar for different leagues and sports
  • Use a search bar function to narrow it down
Sign up to a betting 3

3. Decide how much you want to bet

Once you've found your odds it's time to decide how much you want to wager on each bet.

When you select odds for a game they will automatically be loaded in your bet slip. You can access your bet slip by desktop or on a betting app.

Within the bet slip you can choose how much you would like to bet. The betting site usually shows you how much you can win.

Sign up to a betting 4

4. Check your bet slip

Your bet slip will show all your current bets. This is same whether you are betting on different games, different sports or even have different types of bets.

Always make sure you check your bet slip. Ask yourself: right bets, right stake? If so then you're good to go!

A lot of betting sites will give you access to your bet slip (for current and past bets) through your account setting. You can find out more about how bet slips work just below!

how much should i bet?

You've found the odds for the game you want but you're not sure what to do next. We understand that it can be difficult to know how much to stake with any given bet.

How much should I bet is a big question and not one so easily answered. In this section we'll teach you how to maximize your ability to make a success of your sports betting.

Bankroll Management in Sports Betting

We're big believers in sports betting in the long term. By utilizing a strategy known as bankroll management we'll show you how to set up your betting like the pros.

If it ever feels like it's getting too much many betting sites have a cooling off period or allow you to limit how much you stake. Never be afraid to seek help.

Bankroll management sports betting

What is a bet slip?

A bet slip or betting slip is the place on a betting site where you can see all of your active bets. Your betting slip allows you to keep track of how many bets you have in play at any one time and how much you have wagered.

What is a Bet Slip

We break down everything there is in a bet slip. So you know exactly how it works in practice!

From odds to bet slip!

On a betting site or sportsbook on your computer or phone - odds will appear and once you select them they go straight to your bet slip. This is where you can start to place bets!

Bet details

Take a look at our example right here. There are two different bets. You can see all the info you need about the bets within your bet slip.

  • The game itself
  • What type of bet it is (Moneyline, Spread)
  • The odds (in this case +110 and then -110)


This is how much you want to bet. You enter this manually. Always double check the amount before you place the bet.

To win

Most betting sites will show you how much you stand to win if you win the. This is based on how much you enter in the Wager option.

Option to Parlay

A parlay is where you combine two or more bets. On some sportsbooks that offer parlays as an option you may be given the option "to parlay" - that means take these bets and make them into one. Be aware if you take single bets into a parlay, you will need to win each of those bets to claim winnings on a parlay!

Placing your bets and checking your bet slip

Always make sure you double check your bets before you confirm and place wagers! Check the type of bet, the game itself and of course the amount!

Accepting odds movements

This can be phrased in several different ways. It basically means that if odds change in between the time you select the bet and actually place the bet then you accept those alterations without a check. We recommend you do not select this.

Other options you might see on a bet slip

Cash out

On some wagers you may have the option to cash out. Cash out is a type of live betting option that allows you to back out of your bet while the game is still in play. Some betting sites offer it and some don't if you have the top it will appear in your betting slip!