How to Bet – Getting Started Sports Betting

For Intermediate

Dear sports fan, you might have been contemplating taking your fandom for a certain sport to the next level and actually placing wagers on outcomes. Or maybe you just love betting and are interested in how betting applies to sports. Either way, you need a starting point to understand the basics of sports betting and enter the world of online bookmakers in the US. You made a smart move by coming to this website and read this guide first because some basic understanding and knowledge on how to bet will get you a long way and protect you from unnecessary losses. Shall we get started with your first steps into the wonderful world of sports betting then?

Table of Contents

Sports Betting Basics Guide for USA

In this guide:

  • Learn how sports betting works
  • Understand what it takes to become successful at sports betting
  • Understand the key to success by reading moneyline odds
  • Learn how to place a bet yourself

After reading this guide you will be able to place your first online bets and have a basic understanding on how to make a well-advised decision for your next wager. 

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How does Online Sport betting in The US work?

It all starts with this simple question, but the answer has a lot more layers to it then you might think. However, to get involved you simply have to start with picking a good and reliable online sportsbook and register an account. 

After that, the process of actually placing your first sports bet can be guided by the following three simple steps:

  1. Decide what you want to bet on.

What sport attracts you? Of which sport do you have the most knowledge? What kind of bet would you like to wager your money on?

  1. Decide how much you want to bet.

Another simple question, which is of course completely up to you to decide. However, please take the following advice: Never bet more than you can afford to lose. 

  1. Understand the odds.

The odds give an indication of the probability of either winning or losing. You can use them as a guideline for your bet and even use them to your advantage when you gain a deeper understanding of the odds. 

I’m sure that you already have an idea of which sport you’d like to start your sports betting career with. You might also have some amount of money in mind that you will bet. But the third step, understanding the odds, might not yet be so clear to you. We will help you out and we will do in the next section.

sports betting

Understanding the Odds in Online Sports Betting

Odds can be a strange thing to look at when you’re not familiar with them. Odds show you how much you can win on a certain bet and give you some sense of probability of the betting outcome. In other words, odds can give you an indication of the value of the bet, and this is the essence of sports betting. Let’s take a closer look at the two purposes of odds in sports betting:

  1. Calculating the amount you can win on a given bet.

This is the most obvious purpose. Use the odds to calculate the possible amount of money that you could win if you agree to place this bet. In practice, odds can be displayed in the following ways:

  • Fractional odds
  • Decimal odds
  • Moneyline odds

We will keep it simple - for now - by just explaining the moneyline odds. If you want to understand more about the different types of odds and how to read them, we suggest reading our extensive guide on sports betting odds. However, moneyline odds are the most used odds in the US, so understanding them will be enough for now. 

Moneyline odds

Moneyline odds are expressed by either a negative or a positive number. A negative number shows you how much money you will have to bet in order to win $100. A positive number shows you how much you would win if your stake is $100. An example:

  1. The moneyline odds display -150. In this case, you will have to stake 150 dollars in order to win 100 dollars. Your total payout would be your original stake + your winnings = 150 + 100 = 250 dollars.
  2. The moneyline odds display +150. In this case, you will have to wager 100 dollars to win 150 dollar. Your total pay-out would be the same as in the previous example, because your original stake of 100 dollars + your winnings of 150 dollars equal 250 dollars.

Now that you understand how to read odds to calculate possible winnings, let’s see how odds can be used to determine the probability of a certain outcome:

2. Reading odds to understand the probability of winning or losing a bet.

This basically comes down to the next simple principle: the lower the odds, the higher the chance that this outcome will happen. The higher the odds, the lower the chance that this outcome will actually occur. Higher odds are usually assigned to the underdog of the game. The higher the odds, the more unexpected the outcome, the more money you can win. Vice versa: the lower the odds, the more expected the outcome meaning the amount of money you can win will be less. 


How to become successful at sports betting

Now that you have learned how to read odds and find a good online sportsbook, we will give you a few small advices on how to become a successful sports bettor. 

  • Practice reading the odds to gain a deeper level of understanding

Learning how to properly read and understand odds is an absolute necessity in order to become successful at sports betting. This is because you will be able to compare odds across sportsbooks and find the bets that will give you the best value for your money. Identifying value bets determine a big part of success in sports betting. 

  • Make use of sports betting strategies

For each sport on the market, there are specific strategies available that you can apply to heighten your chances of winning. Make use of those strategies! See which strategies resonate with you and which you find useful to work with. You can find betting easy-to-use strategies for individual sports at our strategies page. 

  • Knowledge is power

The more you know about a certain sport, the better you will become at estimating a certain outcome. This is what bookies do all the time and their knowledge is where they base their odds on. But maybe you know something that the bookies don’t know but might influence the outcome of the game. Something that the bookies overlooked and you can now use to your advantage. In order to know such things, of course, you will have to get really familiar with the sport and everything related to it. 



For now, you have enough to work with. We advise you to pick a good online sportsbook from our dedicated toplist or compare them using our in-depth reviews. Simply register and deposit some money and you will be ready to place your first bet. Make sure that you don’t miss out on any good promotions tho! Some online sportsbooks in the US will give you huge bonuses. After that, pick your market and read the odds carefully. If you think that the bet is a value bet, go for it, but remember: never bet more than you can afford to lose. Now go and experience the thrill of making a possible profit from online sports betting!

Sport Betting Basics FAQs

  • What kind of bets should I place as a beginner?

    There are many types of outcomes and occurrences during a game where you can bet on, however, for a beginner just betting on so-called ‘single bets’ is a perfect start. A typical example of a single bit would be deciding a winning team. Single bets are low risk and don’t require too much knowledge of the sport.
  • Which online sportsbook is the best for a beginner?

    A lot of online sportsbooks are very user-friendly and they all feature single bets and moneyline odds. So to pick a good sportsbook to start with all you have to do is navigate to our toplist and select one of our recommended names.
  • Can I also place online bets using my mobile phone?

    Yes, New Jersey allows online bets via mobile app. Our featured online sportsbooks all have very smooth and easy-to-use apps on which you can make real-money bets as long as you are within New Jersey state borders.