Part 1: Types of Sport Bets

Below is a sports betting guide for all of those who have thought about placing a sports bet but don’t know exactly know how or where to get started.

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Get a Little Action In
Unless you've lived under a rock then you know that if there’s football being played then there's gambling going on. It’s like peanut butter and jelly, a hand in a glove or a pea in a pod. They just naturally go together but if you are unfamiliar with the terminology or how it works, the process can be intimidating to the novice sports gambler. Oh, and it's not just football but just about any sporting event. Below we will break down the rudimentary aspects of sports gambling. Things like point spreads, money line wagers, parlays, teasers and pleasers. Trust us when we say, it’s easy to learn and before you know it, you’ll be ready for action!

Point Spreads
The math is simple and so is the bet. Even the most casual fan knows that there are great teams, good teams and lousy teams. The point spread is designed to even the playing field for the weaker teams and allows the bookmakers to deal point spreads for all kinds of sporting events including the big mismatches.

Think of it like this: If a high school football team was to play the Green Bay Packers, no sportsbook on the planet would allow you to bet the game because everyone would rightfully bet the Packers. After the game, the bookie would be broke because all of the bets went on Green Bay and none went to the high school team. But if the high school team got a 100 point head start, all of a sudden this isn’t as simple as it was without the point spread.

The aforementioned example is anecdotal of course but it allows you to understand why point spreads are necessary. In a real world scenario consider a game where the first place New England Patriots are playing the last place Miami Dolphins. New England would, for this example, be installed as the favorite while the Dolphins would be deemed the underdog.

In order to even the playing field the NFL odds makers would give the Dolphins a 10-point head start. At the end of the game we take the final score and add 10 to Miami’s total. Thus, if the Patriots won 24-10 then those that bet the Patriots would win (or "cover") because the score according to the spread was 24-20 (Miami’s 10 points + the 10-point head start equals 20). If the score had been Patriots 20-10 then it would be considered a tie, or a push in the betting vernacular. Also know that the sportsbook needs to make money so all point spread bets are 11-10 which means you must wager $11 to make $10 or $110 to make $100 or $1100 to make $1000 and so on. That 10 percent commission is called the vigorish or simply – the vig.

The Money Line
The money line is a way to play a team without worrying about the point spread. Toss the spread away and just pick the winner of the game. Now this doesn’t always work out so great if you like to play favorites and they lose the game outright because in the example above, if the New England Patriots were a 10-point favorite against the Miami Dolphins then to bet the Patriots without laying all those points would cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 ½ to 1 (-450 to win 100). This means instead of your betting $11 to win $10, you must now bet $45 to win $10. You get the benefit of not giving away any points and all the Patriots have to do is win but if they do lose, your wallet will feel it.
Conversely if you bet the Miami Dolphins on the money line without the 10 points you would be handsomely rewarded with approximately a +400 return (not 450 because the book needs to make money which is the difference between what they pay out and what they receive in losing bets). Betting big underdogs on the money line can yield big returns but letting go of all those points can be the difference between winning with the points and losing on the money line.

Totals
Totals don't care which team wins or loses or which team covers or doesn't. This bet is based on the final score of the contest. The oddsmakers assign different totals to different games because some contests will be higher scoring than others depending on the teams playing. All you as the bettor have to do is simply predict whether the game will go over or under the posted total.
For example, if the total on the game between the Bears and the Vikings is 44 then you must pick whether the combined score of both teams at the end of the game will be greater or less than 44 points. If you believe it will be a defensive battle then you would bet under 44. However, if you believe the offenses will shine then you would bet over 44. These bets are identical to point spread bets in terms of the vig, which would be $110 to win $100.

Parlays
Parlays are simply a series of two or more bets rolled into one. But remember if one bet loses they all lose. Football cards are actually parlay cards where picking two, three, four, five or more winners all on the same card will give you an increasingly high return. Understand that rolling multiple wagers under one bet will give you much greater odds than if these bets were all bet separate from each other. Assume each team is a winner below:

Straight Bets:
Steelers +4 $110 wins $100
Jaguars +7  $110 wins $100
Broncos -8 $110 wins $100

If you add up those three winning wagers separately ($100 + $100 + $100) they equal $300 in winnings. However, if those three wagers were put into a parlay where every bet within the parlay must win (if even one loses, the entire parlay loses) the payout would yield $600 for a 3-team parlay on a $100 wager. Please note, there is never any vigorish on parlays as it is already built into the price if you win. Therefore, a $100 parlay would lose just $100 not $110 but you must win all the bets within the parlay. You can put point spread or money line wagers in your parlays but the amounts you win will vary with the number of bets and the corresponding money line. Try out a parlay calculator to determine the odds on your own parlay.

Teasers
Teasers are somewhat akin to parlays in that you must win all the bets within a teaser. But unlike parlays many sportsbooks charge a standard 10 percent vigorish on teaser wagers. In a teaser the bettor must include either two, three or four teams or totals rolled into one wager. These are all point spread based bets and the benefit for the bettor is that you get to add or subtract points to each of your bets. Below is a simple chart:
2-Team Teaser: Bettor gets 6 points on each side or total.
3-Team teaser: Bettor gets 9 points on each side or total
4-Team teaser: Bettor gets 12 points on each side or total.

Example:
Seahawks (-5) vs. Rams (+5)
Colts (-8) vs. Browns (+8)

I must choose either the Seahawks or Rams as the first leg of my teaser and either the Colts or Browns as the second leg of my teaser. Both must win and the payout is exactly what you would get in a straight bet because of the extra points the oddsmakers are giving you.
Therefore, let's assume I use the Rams (+5) as the first leg of my teaser. I would add 6 points to the Rams +5 I already have which means I now have the Rams +11. In the second leg I will use the Colts (-8) which means I would subtract 6 points from the Colts -8 and now I have the Colts -2.
Therefore, if the Rams (+11) either win the game outright or lose by less than 11 points that leg has won but I still need the second leg to win. If the Colts (-2) win by greater than 2 points I win that leg and would thus win the bet.

Pleasers
Pleasers work the same way as teasers only in reverse. Instead of getting points in your two or more wagers rolled into one, you are giving points away but increasing the return on your investment much like a parlay. It is sort of a parlay/teaser in one. Just remember that each leg of your pleaser must win just as in parlays and teasers in order to cash.

If Win Bets
This is what we call a contingency wager. There's nothing better than working with the house's money and that's pretty much the thrust of this type of wager. It basically states that if you win your first bet then you take those winnings and use it to wager on a second bet. If the first bet loses, the second bet never goes through.

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Move on To:

Part 2: Understanding the Odds

Part 3: Opening Your First Account

Part 4: Sportsbook Bonuses