How to Make a Sports Bet
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 1/14/2010
There are countless options to choose from when it comes time to make a sports bet but before you can even start breaking down different teams and point spreads first you have to choose how you plan on betting. The following guide for how to make a sports bet is intended for novices.
Just about every town in the country has a local bookie that will take your bets but for this discussion we will stick with the legal means. In the United States, Nevada and Delaware allow sports betting although they cannot really be compared
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Throughout Nevada, most notably Las Vegas, bettors can bet on just about anything and just about any way they would like. The state of Delaware is the country’s newest licensed sportsbook. The limitations are extremely strict with only NFL games on the betting menu and all bets have to be three-team parlays, where a bettor must win all three games to win his or her bet. Wagers can be placed on sports at Delaware’s three slots casinos.
In the past decade another option has begun to flourish, offshore betting. These offshore books have Web sites where bettors can deposit money and then wager on sports, entertainment, politics and just about anything else you can think of.
To bet online after you deposit your money you can either do it directly on the Web site or over the phone. All you need is enough money in the account to cover the bet, your account number and password.
Before wagering online be sure to consult your local laws on online gambling.
In Nevada you can either set up a phone account with an in-state sportsbook or you can wager yourself at one of 150 state-licensed sportsbooks. Often the rotation numbers assigned to specific teams are used to make these wagers. A company out of Las Vegas assigns the rotation numbers to the games and they are uniform throughout the sports betting world. Games are listed in order of the rotation number and this makes it easy to find exactly the teams you are looking for.
Another major question that comes up with first time bettors is what exactly is the vigorish, or vig or juice. The juice is generally 10-percent for all bets and it is a fee charged by the bookmakers.
In a perfect world for the bookmaker, equal amount of bets will come in on both teams and allow the house to be uninterested in the outcome of the event and just take their 10 percent. For example, if one bettor bets $550 to win $500 on the Steelers and the other better takes the Cardinals, $550 to win $500, then regardless of the outcome the house makes $50 dollars. In other words the vig is a 10-percent fee paid for the bookmaker’s services.
This 10 percent, shown as -110, can change depending on different circumstances. Sometimes in a football game when a line settles on three or seven points, rather than making a drastic point spread shift to 2.5 or 7.5, some books will adjust the side that is being bet heavier to -115 or -120 or higher while the other side would become -105 or +100. In the case of +100, whatever is bet, is returned in a win. So a $100 bet wins $100.
When there is no point spread involved, usually the case in baseball and hockey betting, the oddsmakers set a money line. The money line is simply picking which team you think will win. There are no points involved, they just have to win. The money line is available for just about every football and basketball game as well.
In money line betting a minus sign denotes the favorite while the plus sign denotes the underdog. If a football team is favored by seven points they will likely be set as money line favorites of around –250, meaning to pick the favorite to win the bettor would have bet $250 to return $100. The opposite would be taking the underdog and that line would be around +225 meaning that a $100 bet would return $225. The difference between the 250 and 225 is another form of juice and another way for the bookmaker to increase his profits.
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