Sports Betting: A Newbie Bible of Sorts

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Want to bet on sports but don’t know how to start, where to bet or what kinds of wagers are available, look no further for answers.

Since the United States Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May 2018, legislation that stood for a quarter-century, legal sports betting has spread from the Sin City and Atlantic City meccas to almost half the states in the country and counting.

Here is a comprehensive breakdown of the top sportsbooks, best deals, betting options, and much more for one of life’s most exciting fixes.

Getting started:

Tier 1 Sportsbooks (in alphabetical order)

These sportsbooks are major players in the industry and offer high-dollar promotions to customers creating and depositing money into their new accounts.

Although subsequent promotions change as the sports calendar turns, DraftKings, FanDuel, TwinSpires, and WynnBet consistently have offered a risk-free first bet up to $1,000 for their respective new patrons.

BetMGM recently increased its welcome offer from $600 to $1,000 on a risk-free wager and Caesars, formerly William Hill, tops all market competitors with a $5,000 risk-free bet.

A risk-free bet is literally that. Sports bettors can deposit any amount and partake up to the designated limit in a new-customer welcome offer. If your initial wager loses, these sportsbooks will refund your bet amount back into your account as credits. Credits are not eligible for the withdrawal but can be used on additional bets before dipping into deposited funds. Profits from winning bets placed with credits are withdraw-eligible.

Tier 2 Sportsbooks

The sportsbooks in our second tier still offer great value. In some respect, they are ahead of the heavy hitters in certain factions across the sports betting market. These sportsbooks’ welcome promotions look different than the cut-and-dry, four-figures offered in Tier 1.

Betfred and PointsBet each split their offer into two parts.

At Betfred, new customers receive a $150 free bet just for creating an account. Plus, their first bet is insured, win or lose, up to $500. The amount you wager will be returned no matter the outcome of your bet.

PointsBet offers a risk-free first bet up to $500 and a maximum $1,500 refund on your initial “PointsBetting” wager. PointsBet sportsbook is exclusive in that it allows its patrons to gamble with their bet through PointsBetting – the more you’re correct on a wager, the more you win. Conversely, the more you’re wrong, you guessed it, the more you lose.

For example: If a bet wins by one point you’ll win 1x your wager amount, and so on. The adverse is true if your bet loses. PointsBet allows customers to cap potential losses, so fear not If your bet goes up in flames it won’t break your bank.

Rounding out Tier 2 are BetRivers and FOX Bet. For welcome offers, FOX Bet provides a risk-free first bet up to $500. BetRivers will match your first deposit up to $250.

Terms and conditions apply to every promotion no matter the book, so it’s good to develop a habit of browsing this information before opting into any promotion as the T&C’s vary slightly from book to book. The more you familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions tied to any promotion, the easier it’ll be to decipher what is stated.

Getting started with an online sportsbook can be nerve-racking but once you take the plunge it’s enjoyable, especially if you’re treating it as entertainment. There is a variety of welcome offers from which to choose, from depositing $1,000 to as low as $5. Many of these sportsbooks also accept wagers of under $1.

So, now you have an online sportsbook account. Woohoo! What can you bet on?

Available betting options

Every legal online sportsbook across the country offers these four, straightforward wagering types on almost any game: Moneyline, point spread, total points, and parlay.

Moneyline

Bet one team to win a game or an individual to win a match (think tennis and golf). There is no point spread associated with Moneyline bets so the team you bet doesn’t have to win by a certain margin for you to also be a winner. Moneylines are set-it-and-forget-it wagers. But, since there’s no point spread to even the field between two teams, Moneyline favorites can be expensive. On the flip side, Moneyline underdogs can be lucrative.

Example: The defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers are favored to beat the Dallas Cowboys when they host Dem Boyz from Jerry World to kick off the NFL season on Thursday, Sept. 9. The Bucs opened around -285 on the moneyline to win the game. A bettor would have to wager $285 to win $100 on the Bucs because Tampa Bay is a heavy favorite. The Cowboys, on the other hand, opened as a +225 underdog. A $100 bet on Dallas to win will profit $225.

Of note: Winning wagers also return the amount you bet no matter the type. In the example above, Bucs backers receive $385 and Cowboys backers get $325.

Point spread

A wager on a team to cover a certain amount of points. This goes for favorites and underdogs.

Example: Betting the Bucs to win outright at $285 is pretty expensive, but Tampa is favored by seven points at a price of -110, meaning you’d bet $110 to profit $100 if the Bucs win by more than seven points. If you bet the Cowboys as the underdog, they can lose the game and so long as the loss margin is under seven points (i.e. 34-28, 27-21, 19-14, etc.) you win.

Total points: Also called the over/under (O/U). This is a bet not associated with which team wins the game, rather, how many points will be scored in the game. Sportsbooks will set the O/U and you’ll pick whether the combined score will go over or under that amount of points.

Example: The Bucs beat the Cowboys 31-21. The O/U was set at 51 points. The “over” wins because the combined score is 52 points.

Parlay

Grouping multiple wagers into one ticket at a cheap price. In a parlay bet, the more wagers you add to a ticket, the more lucrative the payout. All wagers on the ticket, however, must win for the ticket to cash.

Example: If you bet every favored team for Week 1 of the NFL season, your ticket would include 16 picks at +56000 on DraftKings. A $1 bet on this example profits $560. But remember, every bet in a parlay ticket has to win.

Additional betting options

Before the nationwide legalization of sports betting and the subsequent boom of online and retail sportsbooks across the country, these four aforementioned wagers were pretty much all that was available to bettors.

Now, there is a smorgasbord of wagers to pick from. To find more wager variety on a specific game, such as player and game props, quarter and half scoring, alternate lines, etc., select a game from the list displayed for any league and you’ll be redirected to an extensive list of betting options for that game.

Beyond the promotions welcoming new customers, all online sportsbooks offer additional promos. Some sportsbooks, DraftKings especially, have a long list of varietal promotions.

Now is a great time to hop in the betting waters. With the NFL and college football readying for kickoff there is an abundance of advantageous offers from sportsbooks to attract new customers and opportunities to pad your bankroll. DraftKings is offering one of its “No Brainer Bets.” Bet the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to cover a +73 point spread. The Bucs can lose by up to 72 points and you win your bet.

This could sound too good to be true with no string attached. It isn’t. What makes DraftKings live up to the second half of its name is that this sportsbook is the kingfish in catering to its customers on numerous fronts. The “No Brainer Bet” is just one example.

To see what any specific sportsbook brings to the table, click the “Promotions” or “Offers” tab to browse its menu. These typically include daily odds boosts where the odds on a wager are enhanced to the bettor’s advantage. BetMGM prominently features its exclusive “Lions Boost” on its homepage.

Now you’re familiar with how to start, what sportsbooks offer, and what bets are available. Where you can bet with each sportsbook is equally vital knowledge.

Sportsbooks and their states

BetMGM:

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

Caesars:

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

DraftKings:

  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi (Retail only and Scarlet Pearl)
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York (Retail only at Del Lago Resort)
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

FanDuel:

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

TwinSpires:

  • Colorado
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee

WynnBet:

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia

Betfred:

  • Colorado
  • Iowa
  • Nevada
  • Pennsylvania

BetRivers:

  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey (SugarHouse)
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

FOX Bet:

  • Colorado
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania

PointsBet:

  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • West Virginia

Multiple sportsbook accounts

Having multiple sportsbook accounts enables line shopping, which is essential when placing a wager. Line shopping is comparing odds to get the best price.

If one sportsbook offers the Kansas City Chiefs to win the Super Bowl at +200 and another offers the Chiefs at +300 then the better investment is +300. A $1 bet returns $3 instead of $2. Extrapolate that to larger wagers and your return on investment increases.

Many of the leading U.S. sportsbooks use Kambi, a sports betting services provider to licensed gaming operators, to power the odds offered. So, odds won’t differ much across top-tier sportsbooks. There is, however, some variation on odds across sportsbooks as public and “sharp” (professional gambler money) flows to certain games.

Having multiple sportsbooks accounts isn’t a necessity to enjoy online sports gambling, but it is advantageous in the long run so you’re not at the mercy of the offerings from one book.

Lucky for you we’ve covered the best books to use and that’s one of the main roots of sports betting: luck.

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