A Quick Guide to Sports Betting for Beginners

About 19% of Americans say that they’ve bet on sports. It’s an entertaining way to earn a little extra money that you can use to play around with or catch up on bills. 

If you’re not careful, however, you’ll end up losing more money than you earn. There’s a bit of research that you need to do before you get started. You won’t get too far if you don’t even understand the differences between underdogs and favorites. 

We can help kickstart your research. Check out this handy sports betting guide for a few tips that all beginners should take to heart. 

Understanding Underdogs Vs. Favorites 

Before you head to and start comparing sportsbooks, it’s important that you understand the difference between underdogs and favorites. 

The favorites are the team that’s most likely to win the game. They’re represented by a minus sign in sportsbooks. The minus tells you how much money you have to put down to win $100. 

Underdogs are the team with the biggest disadvantage. They’re favored to lose and are represented by a plus sign next to their odds. The plus sign indicates how much money you can make off a $100 bet. 

Betting Options 

Now that you know what underdogs and favorites are, it’s time to choose your betting method. 

Spreads, Moneylines, over/under, and parlays are some of the most popular options. 


When you bet on a point spread, you’re gambling on the margin of victory. For example, let’s say that the favorites of the game have a -4.5 advantage over the underdogs. That means anyone betting on the favorites needs them to win by 5 points to turn a profit. 

Spreads are the most popular type of sports betting because there are many ways to win, and if the spread falls right on the point margin, bettors get their money back. 


Moneyline betting is a favorite with beginners because it’s simple. All you’re doing is gambling on who you think will win the game. It’s centered around you winning $100. 

If you bet on a -300 favorite, you’ll have to put $300 on the chopping block to win $100. 

On the flip side of this, if you bet $100 on a +300 underdog, you’ll win $300 if they come out on top. 


Over/Under betting is about as simple as Moneylines. You’ll wager on the overall point total of both teams. 

The way this works is that the bookie will come up with a number before the game. If you bet over, you’re hoping that the combined total of both teams goes over that number. The opposite is true if you bet under. 


Parlays can be a bit complicated for beginners. That doesn’t mean you can’t give it a try. 

You’ll put multiple wagers on a single bet. If you hit every single leg in the spread, you’ll take home big winnings. 

The catch is that you have to hit every leg. If you make five wagers and four of them hit, the entire bet is a bust. 

Start Small

When you’re still learning the ins and outs of sports betting, it’s best to start small. Set a budget of $20 or so, and don’t go over it.

You’re going to make mistakes, and losing $20 is a lot less painful than losing $200. 

Set aside the money you’re going to use for sports betting, and don’t lump it in with your other cash. This will prevent you from dipping into your rent by accident. 

Narrow Your Focus

A huge mistake that beginners make is betting on everything and anything. By dipping your toes into the NBA, MLB, and NFL all at once, you make it difficult to take mental notes. 

Focus on a single sport until you get the hang of things. This will allow you to better analyze players and teams before you place a bet. You’ll double your chances of bringing home winnings! 

Avoid Playing Favorites

There is a temptation to bet on your favorite team. After all, they’re your favorite for a reason. To you, they can do no wrong. 

You may also feel like you’re betraying them by betting on their competition. However, since you’re putting real money on the line, you’ve got to be as unbiased as possible.

If that’s something that you can’t do, avoid betting on games that involve your favorite team. 

Compare Sportsbooks

When it comes to sportsbooks, you’ve got options. You can meet up with local bookies or explore one of the many sports betting sites on the web. 

Look at different sportsbooks and make comparisons to find the most profitable lines for each game. 

Bet With a Clear Head

Everyone likes to unwind with a beer or two when watching a game. There’s nothing wrong with indulging, but you want to do so before you start placing bets. 

This will prevent you from taking any unnecessary risks while you’re under the influence. 

Stay Away From Dangerous Sports

Fixed games don’t happen often, but they’re still a possibility. Individual games like golf and tennis are the most guilty of this because only one person needs to throw the match. 

Team sports are a bit more difficult to fix because multiple people would have to be on board. 

Sports Betting Tips for Beginners 

Sports betting is an entertaining but risky way to make extra money. Before getting started, you’ll have to do your homework. 

By simply analyzing players and teams, you can almost double your chances of bringing home serious winnings.

It’s also important to keep up with all the latest sports news. Check out the General Sports News section of our blog to stay in the know. 


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