gambling on sports

Once relegated to the darkness of smoky pool halls and newsstand back rooms, sports gambling has now come into the light. Legalized sports gambling caught fire in many state legislatures.

Maybe your state legalized sports gambling and you want to get in on the action. Gambling on sports can turn up the fun on any game, but before you take your hard-earned cash to the casino, there are a few things you need to know.

Read this helpful guide to learn more about sports gambling before you make your bets.

Know What You’re Betting

There are so many people who offer sports betting tips, but to take advantage, you have to know how to gamble on sports. There are terms and wagers you need to comprehend before you lay down your cash.

Favorites and Underdogs

These two terms are the basis for every other aspect of sports gambling. A favorite is a team or individual expected to win the game/match. An underdog is who is expected to lose.

Favorites and underdogs are determined by the casino’s sportsbook operators. Most big sportsbooks have in-house handicappers who determine who they think will win and lose any game, and release the numbers associated with each.

Moneyline Bets

When it comes to team sports like football, there are three basic wagers offered that you need to know. The first is the most simple. A moneyline bet is a bet made for a team to win by any score.

Let’s use a real-life example to better explain how this works.

Say you want to bet on today’s football game featuring Los Angeles and Tampa Bay. When you walk into the casino you’ll see those teams with a bunch of numbers next to them. These numbers are “the line.”

Let’s say you see Los Angeles +175 and Tampa Bay -200. The ‘+’ symbol means Los Angeles is the underdog, while the “-” means Tampa Bay is the favorite.

These numbers determine how much money you’ll win by making a moneyline bet. If you bet $100 on Los Angeles, you will win $175. However, to win $100 betting on Tampa Bay, you have to bet $200.

The reason the payout is so high on Los Angeles, but so low on Tampa Bay is because the casino thinks the probability of Tampa Bay winning is much greater. Favorites on the moneyline always carry a lower payout.

Spread Bets

The second number you’ll see is the spread. A point spread is a number the casino thinks a team will win or lose by. Let’s use the above example to explore this a little more.

After the moneyline numbers, you’ll see a smaller number. Los Angeles has a +4.5. If you bet on Los Angeles +4.5, that means you’re betting on Los Angeles to win, or lose by less than 4.5 points.

Tampa Bay is set at -4.5 as the favorite. To bet them on the spread means you’re betting on them to win by more than 4.5 points.


When you make a spread bet, you’ll see another number associated with the point spread. It may be different, but the standard number is -110. If you bet LA at +4.5 or bet Tampa Bay at -4.5, you’ll win $91 on a $100 bet.

This $9 on each side of the bet that’s collected by the casino is known as the juice or the vig. The juice is one way a casino sportsbook makes money.

Over/Under Bets

Otherwise referred to as totals, these are bets on the combined score of the game. For Los Angeles vs. Tampa Bay, you see an O/U of 48.5. You can bet on whether the teams will combine for more than 48.5 points or less than 48.5 points.

Each of these wagers has a number associated, like a spread bet, with the standard being -110.

How to Make Money Gambling

Now that you know the basics terms, there are a few concepts you need to understand to learn how to make money gambling.

Line Movement

The above example numbers are subject to change. Let’s say a big-time gambler walks into a casino and loves Tampa Bay at -4.5. He or she lays $10,000 on that number.

The sportsbook adjusts the number to Tampa Bay -5.5 and Los Angeles +5.5. Why? They want to even the money on each side of the bet. They want to draw gamblers to bet on Los Angeles to recoup money for a possible big payout.

Understand that casinos always want to even their books. Use this to your advantage to find numbers you can take advantage of.

Watch Your Money

Of all the sports gambling tips, this is the most important. To break even over the long haul, a sports gambler must win 52.4% percent of their wagers. To turn a profit, you must not just pick well but manage your money well.

Know what you’re going to bet and by how much before you do it. Don’t get carried away making bets you don’t like in an attempt to break even should you lose a round of bets. Stay disciplined with your betting strategy and your money.

Look for Free Money

As sports betting becomes legal in more states, the more competitive the business is. Casinos and online sportsbooks all want you to make your bets with them.

Because of this, sportsbooks now offer a plethora of sign-up and player bonuses. These bonuses are free money you can use to your advantage. Spread your bets across multiple sportsbooks to get the most bonus money you can.

Any veteran sports gambler will tell you the importance of gambling through multiple outlets. Do this to get the most out of their sign-up bonuses and daily specials.

Now You Know the Theory of How to Make Money Gambling on Sports

Turning a profit gambling on sports is tough. The best gamblers top out at a 55% winning percentage. To win, do the research and learn how to work the numbers.

To begin gambling, learn the basics and start slow. Get a feel for the game before you bet massive amounts of money. A great way to do this is to find the most profitable sign-up bonuses to play with.

Gambling is a money investment. Do you need more tips on how to manage your money to make money? Make sure to check out our other financial advice articles.

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