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Online Sports Betting FAQ

The world of online sports betting can be exciting and profitable. Unfortunately, it can also be confusing for novice gamblers because of insider terminology, numerous wagering possibilities, and various applications of mathematics.

In this online sport betting FAQ, my goal is to demystify some of the more confusing elements of the hobby. Whether you’re wondering about lay bets or the best sportsbook on the Internet, you should come away from this article with a greater understanding of how sports betting works.

What is “juice” or “vigorish”?

This is the commission that the bookmaker takes for accepting your wager. The oddsmaker attempts to get an equal number of bets on teams or players, which allows him to collect a percentage (often 5 to 10 percent) and generate a profit.

Why do sportsbooks change their lines?

When a large number of people wager on one team or player, the line may be moved in an effort to encourage action on the other option. As mentioned in the previous entry, the goal of the oddsmaker is to get an equal number of bets on both sides.

How does a money line wager work?

With a money line bet, one team or athlete is assigned a number with a negative sign (the favorite), while the other gets a number with a positive sign (the underdog). Here’s an example: Dallas Cowboys -225 vs Cleveland Browns +325.

When a team is favored, you’ll have to wager the amount indicated by their number in order to win $100. In the previous example, a bettor would need to successfully wager $225 on Dallas in order to collect $100.

In the case of an underdog, the number indicates the payout on a wager of $100. In the previous example, correctly betting $100 on the Browns would earn you $325.

How big should my bankroll be?

Your bankroll can be any size; it’s just a matter of what you feel comfortable with. For some, this might be $2,000. For others, it might be $50,000. Whatever the case, just make sure that it is money you can afford to lose. If you manage to deplete your bankroll, take some time off and don’t gamble again until you’ve rebuilt it to a certain level.

Is there a betting system that allows gamblers to win the majority of the time?

No. The most effective system for sports betting success is hard work and study, and even these elements don’t guarantee a payout. A successful sports gambler is likely to have a winning percentage of 54% to 58%. Anyone who boasts of a higher lifetime percentage is probably lying.

Here are some general tips though.

How does a point spread work?

In point spread betting, a number is added or subtracted from the final score of a team. If the New York Yankees were -1.5 favorites, for example, the team would have 1 ½ runs subtracted from their final score. If this reduced total was still enough to win the game, then anyone who wagered on them would receive a payout.

In sports betting, what is a “unit”?

A unit is the amount of money you most often wager on a game. A $100 unit is common, while others use $50 units or $1,000 units. If you use units of $100 and decide to wager $500 on a contest, then you would be betting 5 units.

How does the over/under work?

Also known as a “total,” the over/under is an oddsmaker’s prediction for the combined score of a game. If the over/under for an NBA game is 175, the bettor can wager on the combined score being above 175 (over) or less than 175 (under).

Is gambling on sports legal in the United States?

The only U.S. state where land-based sportsbetting is entirely legal is Nevada. A few states offer more limited options, but Las Vegas is easily the destination with the most choices.

As for online betting, there are no federal laws that prohibit gambling over the Internet. Some falsely believe this to be the purpose of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, but it’s concerned with the transfer of funds for the purposes of gambling. A few individual states, however, have made it a crime to gamble online.

How do you use a betting exchange?

A betting exchange brings gambling enthusiasts together and cuts out the bookmaker (thus eliminating the juice). A participant can post their own betting lines, and they have the option to “back” or “lay.” If they back a team or athlete, they are wagering on a win. If they lay a team or athlete, then they’re betting on a loss. Whichever position they take, they must find another bettor willing to take the opposite position in order for the wager to have action.

Which sport is the hardest to bet on?

If you perform a Google search for this question, you’ll find that opinions vary wildly. The answer also depends on the oddsmaker you’re going against, as some are far more knowledgeable about certain sports. In general, however, American football is considered to be among the most difficult, as its popularity ensures that oddsmakers pay special attention to the betting lines.

How do parlay bets work?

The bettor chooses two or more teams or athletes to wager on. If all predictions are correct, they win a payout that’s much larger than a series of individual bets. The catch is that all parlayed wagers must be correct or the bettor loses. Two to four-game parlays are common, but some bettors string together as many as 14.

Which sportsbook is the best?

That’s a difficult question to answer, as each individual has different needs when it comes to a sportsbook. Our mission is to showcase the most legitimate sportsbooks and gambling sites, meaning the ones you’ll actually be able to withdraw your winnings from.

As far preferences go, some bettors prefer a wide range of sports options (your best US option for this is, while others are only concerned about the quality of the line (your best US option for this is My suggestion is to join several leading sportsbooks when you have a large enough bankroll, as this allows you to sample their services like a sports betting buffet.