The basics of Sports Betting
Before we start, make sure you have a picked an operator from our list of top online betting sites and are aware of the different deposits methods and bonuses they give so you pick something that is suited to your needs.
So, what are sports betting and how do you do it? Sports betting is the activity of wagering (placing a bet) on the outcome of a game. The game in question sometimes called a ‘market’ can be anything from Football, Basketball, Boxing, Tennis, Rugby, Cricket or even Virtual Sports. It all depends on what the betting site in question offers, some of these sites even offer what is called ‘novelty markets’ where you can bet on non-sports related markets, the name of the new royal baby or the winner of a political race.
To be able to find the best matches to bet on and understand how much you can win, you first need to learn the idea of ‘odds’. Odds can be described as the chances or likelihood of something happening, some betting sites use what is called ‘Fractional Odds’, some use ‘Decimal Odds’ and some offer both versions depending on your preference.
What is Fractional Odds?
Fractional Odds are displayed for example as 5/2 or 10/1, the easiest way to think about this is “how much can I win” and “how much is my stake”.
An example of fractional odds as seen WilliamHill.com
In this example, for an English Premier League game where Chelsea plays against Arsenal, you see the fractional odds of ‘1/12’ for Chelsea to win, ‘17/2’ for the game to end in a draw and finally ‘25/1’ for Arsenal to win.
If you’re an Arsenal fan and placed a bet that they would win this match, then the odds you’re getting are 25/1. What this means is that if you place a winning bet (also called ‘stake’) of $1, you get $25! You will also receive your bet back which means the total amount you get is $26 since you placed $1 originally and made a profit of $25.
If you see an example of odds that look to be ‘the wrong way around’, such as ‘1/12’, this means this is an ‘Odds-On’ selection. In this case, Chelsea is the heavy favorite team to win, almost a sure bet which means you must bet $12 to win $1!
That means you have to pick your bets very carefully, even if there is a strong favorite predicted to win that means the chances of you winning are big, but you have to place a big bet to make it count. Likewise, there is a small risk of you missing the mark which is why you need to do your homework if you are to make a lot of money on sports betting.
Most betting sites show you your potential winnings on your bet slip, like the following bet slip from William Hill:
Here we have placed a bet to predict Huddersfield the winner against Man City. For this bet, William Hill offers us odds of 28/1 and as we’ve learned this means if our prediction is correct, we receive returns of €29 which includes our original stake of €1. Man City are clearly the favorites in this game for us to be able to make such a large profit of only €1.
What is Decimal Odds?
Decimal odds are thankfully much easier to understand than fractional odds and more and more bookies are using decimal odds. Examples of decimal odds are 1.50, 2.30, or 10.20.
With decimal odds, you simply multiply your bet/stake with the value of the decimal odds. It’s that simple!
The above odds are for the same game we used in our previous example, but these are taken from Betway.co.za where they display odds using the decimal system.
Now if you go ahead and place a bet for Man City to win, you are offered odds of 1.08. This means if you were to place 100 ZAR on Man City to win, and if they do, you end up with 108 ZAR. This is your bet, 100, multiplied by the odds of 1.08 for a total of 108.
Man City are the clear favorites in this game, but the question we want to ask ourselves is; are we so sure of their win that we are willing to risk 100 ZAR for a profit of 8 ZAR? Huddersfield, on the other hand, would give us great win of 158.85 ZAR if we only place a bet of 5 ZAR for them to win ( 31.77 x 5 = 158.85) but of course, we know the chances of them winning are very slim.
The below image shows you what this scenario would look like on your bet slip at Betway.co.za
This wraps up our introduction to our sports betting guide series, we have barely scratched the surface so if you want to maximize your chances to win make sure to go through the entire series.
Next up, we will go through the different bet types. Click here to continue.