No matter what sports season we’re in, you probably have a favorite sport you relish following. Maybe March madness college basketball, the NFL, baseball, hockey, golf, or soccer. Perhaps you would like to make a little bet, but many sports fans in the United States are leery of the legitimacy and legality of internet gambling. If you live in the United States, your legal sports betting options at brick and mortar casinos are limited to Nevada, and to some degree at Delaware racetracks.
The Supreme Court has heard arguments on a New Jersey challenge which would permit sports gambling at its casinos and racetracks. If the court rules in favor of New Jersey, Gaming experts predict that most states will jump on the bandwagon to legalization, in order to fill state coffers with tax revenue.
If you’re unfamiliar with the particulars of how to bet on sports, the following describes how it all works:
Sports Betting Jargon
Before we get into the specifics, here’s a little jargon explanation to help you understand the process:
- Action – A term for all the betting activity that happens during an event.
- Handle – The total amount of money wagered on events.
- Spread – Giving one of the two teams points to even out the betting action.
- Sports Books – Establishments that take bets on sporting events.
- Juice – A percentage of the win taken from a bettor that won an even money bet. Sometimes called the vig, which is short for vigorish.
Types of Bets
There are many different types of bets. By far, football draws the most action with the biggest handle. The Super Bowl alone draws over $100 million in legal betting activity, and over three billion (that’s billion with a B!) illegal wagers. Now you see why states want a piece of the action.
- Even Money Bets – Players betting on only one team to beat another. The sports book takes the juice/vig from the winning payout amount. A common vig is $11 for $10. (Bettor wages $11, wins $10.) House keeps $1. Most bets will have a point spread (line). If the player is picking the underdog, S/he will take points. If the bettor is picking the favorite, S/he is laying (giving) points.
- Parlay Bets – Betting on multiple (two or more) teams to win. Here’s a scenario on a point spread ticket. Let’s assume that on event #1, Tampa Bay is playing at Green Bay with GB favored to win by at least 3 points. In event #2, Buffalo is playing at Miami and BUF is expected to win by at least 7 points. Your game ticket would look something like this:
Event Visitor Vs Home
1. TB GB. -3
2 BUF. -7 MIA
This means that if you bet on GB they must win by more than 3 points. A bet on BUF would require them to win by more than 7 points. By choosing the favorites you are laying (giving) points. If you were to put your money on GB and MIA, you would be taking (receiving) the points.
One way to eliminate confusion is to jot down a spread score before the games start. for example on this ticket:
The score before the game starts is:
- TB 3 GB 0
- MIA 7 BUF 0
When the games are over just give the points to the underdogs. In most jurisdictions, ties lose for the player. In other jurisdictions the prize payout for one tie is reduced to the next lowest payout factor. A common play in casinos is a four team pick for 10X the bet.Bet $10, win $100, but you can wager from two to twelve games. The more games you play, the higher the winning payouts.
- Over/Under – One scenario is betting that the final score ill be over or under a certain number a preset number.
- Prop Bets – A proposition bet is where you predict the outcome of a preset number of props on a single ticket. Example: Total field goals over/under 4. Total interceptions over/under 3. Total sacks over/under 2. Total receiving yards, total yards, and the list goes on and on.
If you visit Vegas or other jurisdictions that permit sports gambling, Good Luck!