There are many things to know about sports betting if you want to succeed in it, but fortunately, it is not mandatory to learn everything there is to learn to start betting. There are several things you need to know to then risk your money, however, and therefore we have built this guide for beginners. As soon as you have read it, you will have all the basic information that you need to get started. You can learn the rest as you go along.

If you are so much a beginner, one of the first tricks that you must totally grasp is the mechanics of sports betting. The theme of this article, as essential as it is, is finally not very complex.

The foundations of a sports bet

A sports bet, or bet, mainly involves two parties with opposing opinions on the outcome of a sporting event, with each fraction supporting their point of view with a sum of money. The section that is right wins the amount of the other party.

The two parties can be two friends making a bet between them, but the term "sports betting" usually refers to the use of a bookmaker. A bookmaker is an individual or an organization that takes bets from other parties in a professional capacity. A person placing a bet with a bookmaker is known as a bettor. The act of a bookmaker accepting a bet is known as the deposit.

Sports betting

The three components of a sports bet

There are three components to any bet that the bookmaker deposits to a bettor as follows:

  • Selection
  • Stake
  • Chance

The selection is simply what the bettor thinks is going to happen. The stake relates to how much money is risky and must be paid to the bookmaker at the time of the bet. The odds reflect the probability of the selection winning and determine the multiple of the stake that the bookmaker must pay to the bettor if they are correct.

Example of a sports bet

To make this explanation as clear as possible, we use a simple hypothetical example. Let's say there's a football match coming up between Barcelona and Real Madrid. As an example, we will assume that a bookmaker has established odds of +100 on Barcelona to win.

Please note, odds are one of the three formats of odds. The other two are decimal and fractional. +100 is the equivalent of equal sums, which means that the potential winnings would be equal to the initial bet.

Now, let's say you believe that Barcelona is going to beat Real Madrid, and you want to bet PLN 100 on it. The three components of the bet that you must place, look like this.

Selection: Barcelona vs Real Madrid
Stake: 100 EUR
Odds: +100

There are two possible outcomes here: Barcelona will either win or lose the match. If she wins, then you will win your bet. Your EUR 100 bet will be returned with your winnings. As it is a bet with equal sums, your winnings will be equal to your stake. You will receive a total of 200 EUR (participation of 100 EUR plus 100 EUR of winnings). If Barcelona loses, you lose your bet and the bookmaker keeps your original EUR 100 bet.

We've kept it very simple here, but that's basically how sports betting works.

What else is involved in sports betting?

As you can see, the basic mechanics of a sports bet are really very simple. There are many other aspects involved though. For example, we have already touched on the fact that there are different types of odds, and there are several different types of bets that you can place as well. There are also the different factors to consider during the selection, including the probability and the concept of value.

How to bet on a Sport

An obviously important part of sports betting is the actual placing of bets with a bookmaker. This is a fairly simple process that involves first making your selection and then choosing how much to bet. That's about all there is, but there's a reason why our beginner's guide includes an entire article devoted to the act of placing a bet.

As part of the process, you also need to choose how and where to place your bet, as there are a number of different ways to bet with a bookmaker. You can do this by phone, for example, or use the Internet. In some parts of the world, there are bookmaking shops you can visit to bet in cash, and many casinos have bookmakers where you can do the same.

In this article, we briefly explain each of the different methods for placing bets with a bookmaker.

Telephone betting services

Telephone betting services are available in many bookmakers. Their use is very simple: you just make a call to your bookmaker and you let him know the details of all the bets you want to place. It will confirm the odds for your bets at the time.

As a rule, you will have to pay for your bets using a debit or credit card. There may be other payment methods available, and some bookmakers will even offer credit to customers.

The bookmaking shops

Bookmaking shops are very common in some regions, such as the United Kingdom. To place a bet in these stores, you simply go to the counter with a completed betting slip and you give it your money. The cashiers will confirm the odds if they are not already on display in the shop.

To claim payment for a successful bet, you must present your winning bet slip to the cashier. You will usually be paid in cash, unless you have won a huge amount, in which case another method can be used.

The Casino bookmakers

The bookmakers in the casinos are essentially the same as the bookmaking shops, just the location is different. They are very common in Las Vegas casinos, because Nevada is the only US state offering legalized gambling on all major sports.

You will find sports betting in virtually every major casino in Vegas, usually with a lot of large screens showing all kinds of sporting events. These screens are also used to display odds and lines for upcoming events. You can even find them in some online casinos now!

The online bookmakers

The best way to place a bet these days is to use a betting site or an online bookmaker. Since the first sites started online at the end of the last century, online sports betting has become incredibly popular. There are now hundreds of bookmakers on the web used by millions of people around the world.

These online bookmakers are incredibly easy to use. Once you have opened an account and deposited funds, you can place any bet you want with just a few clicks. Most betting sites cover a wide range of sports and events, and some are very competitive in terms of the odds and the lines they offer. They even offer bonuses and fair rewards for depositing and betting with them.

For more information on online sports betting, including our recommendations for the best betting sites, please visit our dedicated section on the subject.

Now that you know about the different ways to place bets, it's time to learn about other fundamental aspects of sports betting. The following article in this beginner's guide covers a very important topic: the odds.