If you’re like many Americans, you might be looking to drop a few dollars on Your favorite sporting event. Whether heading to the local sportsbook or simply taking out a cell phone to place that wager, knowing the process and what to expect will make things easier. Here’s everything you need to understand on how to bet in a sportsbook.
In 2022, Americans wagered $179.8 million on the Super Bowl, an increase of about 32% from 2021. It’s a good bet that’s only increased this year despite the failing economy. If you’re looking to risk some hard-earned cash for potential returns, here are a few things to keep in mind.
When heading to a sportsbook, it’s important to realize you’re not actually betting the casino. As any slot or blackjack player knows, casinos aren’t in the business of losing money. The sportsbook is simply a facilitator when it comes to sports betting.
It’s not as easy as simply picking the winner of the game. Casinos created betting lines to make it more difficult for potential bettors. Otherwise, everyone would pick obvious favorites. The goal of the book is to get about the same money on both sides of a matchup. In other words, a sportsbook wants as much betting on the Chiefs as the Eagles.
The betting line allows that to happen. For example, the Chiefs are favored by 2 points, expressed at a book as -2. If a sportsbook sees more action (i.e., cash) moving more on one side than the other, bookmakers can adjust that line to get more bettors swinging the other way.
So how does the house make money? The sportsbook takes a percentage of the entire prize pool, about 10%. This ensures the house makes money no matter who wins. The more bets made, the more the house wins.
For example, for that total of $179.8 million bet on the 2022 Super Bowl, the sportsbook scored $15.4 million – not a bad haul for one game. Learn How To Throw The Perfect Superbowl Party!
Simply betting on one team isn’t the only thing to know about making a bet. When heading to a sportsbook, knowing some of the jargon can help. Here are some of the terms you may want to know when making those wagers.
Action – Money bet on a game.
Against the Spread (ATS) – A bet on one side of the point spread.
Betting Line (aka “odds” or “point spread”) – How much one team is favored over another.
Buying Points: This allows a bettor to move the point spread a bit for a better chance of winning.
Cover: This means a team wins against the spread. If the Chiefs are a 2.5-point favorite (-2.5) and win by 3 points, those bettors cash in. If they don’t win by more than 2.5, Eagles bettors get paid.
Futures Bet – A bet on future events like winning the Super Bowl or World Series.
Laying the Points – When a bettor takes the favorite.
Moneyline: A wager where you simply pick the right team to win. However, payouts are less depending on the odds. The odds are usually posted like this:
Cowboys -160 – You’d need to wager $160 on the Cowboys to win $100. Cowboys +160 – You’d get back $160 for a $100 bet if the Cowboys win.
Over/Under – Betting on the total number of points scored in a game. For example, the over/under in this year’s Super Bowl is 49.5. If you bet the “over” and the final score is 27-21 (48 total points), that would be a losing bet. If the score ended 30-21 (51 total points), the “over” bet would be a winner. It’s that simple.
Parlay – A bet where you pick more than one game against the spread but have to hit on them all to win. Payouts are higher based on the number of events, but this is more difficult than it seems.
Pick them: A game in which there is no clear favorite, so no betting line. The two teams are considered equal, and bettors must simply pick a team.
Point Spread – The margin of victory a sportsbook sets for a game determined by the oddsmaker. Point Spreads may be posted like this:
Steelers -3.5: The team is favored by 3.5 points and must win by 4 or more for the bet to win.
Steelers +3.5: This means the Steelers are a 3.5-point underdog. If they lose by 3 points or less, you will cash in with a bet on them.
Push – A bet that sees neither team win against the spread. If one team is favored by 3 points and wins by 3, that’s a push.
Vig or Juice – The commission or percentage of the betting pool that the sportsbook) takes.
When hitting the sportsbook for some gambling, there are a few things to consider. First, don’t bet more than you’re willing to lose. Gambling the kids’ college fund probably isn’t a good idea.
It’s also important to avoid becoming an “action junkie,” someone who bets on as many games and events as possible. Pick a few wagers you feel good about, and don’t go crazy.
Statistics and key injuries can offer players some key metrics. Other key factors bettors may not usually consider offensive and defensive line play. A QB under fire may struggle, while a gunslinger with healthy big boys up front may be primed for an excellent performance. Look for similar comparisons when considering your options.
The Super Bowl is only days away, so get those wagers in. And for those heading to the sportsbook, one last piece of advice – don’t lose your ticket.
If you are a big fan of gambling, you might also enjoy this: How To Bet On The Kentucky Derby