In-Depth Beginner’s Guide to Sports Betting in 2024

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If you have never tried wagering on your favorite teams or players, then this sports betting beginner’s guide is for you. This page will cover everything you need to know about sports betting online and in person. You’ll learn about whether it’s right for you, the different types of wagers you can make, how to place a bet, and much more!

Below, you will find an abundance of information on sports betting for real money, along with several resources to help you gain a better understanding as a whole. If you’re entirely new to the process, then we recommend that you read through the entire sports betting guide.

If you already have a basic understanding or have tried betting before, then feel free to use the jump links below to find the section that you need:

How to Know If Sports Betting Is Right for You

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Not sure if betting on sports online is right for you? A simple way to find out is by taking a look at these questions and answering them as honestly as possible:

  • You enjoy watching sports?
  • You consider yourself knowledgeable on certain sports?
  • You are good at predicting game winners/scores?
  • You have spare cash to use?
  • You want to earn money while watching sports?

If you answered “yes” to all or most of these questions, then it sounds like sports betting is right for you! The next question is, “What kind of sports bettor do you want to be—a casual bettor or a full-time sports bettor?”

Casual Betting

Casual sports bettors make up a good chunk of the sports betting market. They enjoy watching sports, have spare cash to spend on betting, and know a little bit about what is going on in the sports world.

However, as a casual sports bettor, you most likely will not be placing extremely large wagers on any single game or event. In fact, casual bettors tend to try and make profit steadily through a sports season to increase their total bankroll.

Questions to determine if you should be a casual sports bettor:

  • You are likely to place most of your bets on your favorite team or sport?
  • You plan to make less than five bets per week?
  • You do not plan to wager more than $1,000 on any given bet?
  • You plan to start sports betting with a small budget?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, then it sounds like you are more of a casual sports bettor!

Full-Time Betting

Full-time sports betting is a huge commitment and requires a large amount of risk on your end. However, many successful full-time sports bettors earn a living through their betting decisions.

Questions to determine if full-time sports betting is for you:

  • You plan to do thorough research before making a betting decision?
  • You plan on betting as much as possible?
  • You are willing to wager large sums of money at one time?
  • You have a large amount of money to spare on betting?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, then it sounds like you are willing to take the leap and try to become a full-time sports bettor. If so, make sure you do a ton of research before you get started to learn about other full-time sports bettors and the methods they used to become successful and profitable.

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Understanding Sports Betting: The Basics

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Before you can begin betting on sports for real money, you need to understand the basics of doing so. While some of these may seem obvious, they are all greatly beneficial to know and will help put you on the fast track to becoming a successful and lucrative sports bettor.

Here are some great resources for understanding the basics of sports betting.

Mechanics of Sports Betting

Similar to most things in life, it’s important to understand how sports betting actually works before you dive in headfirst. This page will help you better understand the mechanics from bet selection to your stake, and even betting odds.

Benefits of Sports Betting

Sports betting for real money is one of the most popular forms of gambling there is. This is partially due to the popularity of sports but can also be attributed to the great benefits of wagering. Check out this page to learn more about them.

Understanding Sports Betting Odds

The entire purpose of betting on sports is to make money, right? Therefore, you should gain a full understanding of how sports betting odds work before wagering your money. This will help you better understand the potential reward based on the size of your risk.

How Sportsbooks Make Money

You may be asking yourself, “If sportsbooks pay you for winning bets, how do they make any money?” Through specific techniques and tactics, they ensure that they stay in business by collecting money on nearly every bet placed. This page explains more about their process for making money.

Understanding Probability and Value

Knowing how to identify great betting opportunities is crucial in your ability to become a successful and profitable sports bettor. This page will explain the concept of value and how it plays into probability.

How to Place Sports Bets

There are many options when it comes to placing your sports bets. If you have never placed a sports bet before, then check out this page to learn about several betting methods, including online sports betting, telephone betting, brick and mortar casino sportsbooks, and more.

Useful Resources for Betting on Sports

Now that you understand the basics of sports betting, here are some other useful resources you should check out in order to improve your success at the books.

Tips for Beginner Sports Bettors

It never hurts to receive some free advice, especially if you’re new to sports betting online. Start with the basics and check out this page to find some sports betting tips and get started on the right foot.

Common Sports Betting Mistakes

Mistakes happen, and you can’t expect to win every single bet you place. However, you can aim to avoid some common betting mistakes that new sports bettors tend to make. This page highlights some of the most common sports betting mistakes that you should aim to avoid.

Sports Betting Glossary

If you haven’t spent a lot of time on any sports betting sites, then you are likely going to come across some lingo that you are not familiar with. This sports betting glossary will help you understand this lingo so that you do not have to pause your betting action to look up certain definitions.

Types of Sports Bets

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One of the most exciting things about getting started with sports betting is that you have a ton of options to choose from when it comes to the type of bet that you want to place. While some bet types are simple to understand, others are more complicated and can prove to be more difficult to win for less-experienced sports bettors.

Take a look at these different types of sports bets below to determine which one sounds like the best fit for you.


Moneyline bets are the best bets for beginner sports bettors. For moneyline bets, all you need to do is bet on who you think will be the winner of a game, race, matchup, etc.


Total bets, also known as over/under bets, are another great beginner sports bet that lets you bet on whether you think a projected total is above or below the true number of points, runs, or goals that will be scored.

Point Spreads

Point spread betting is another extremely popular sports bet that you can choose. This type of bet gives you the chance to apply your own knowledge and lets you root for a team even if you expect them to lose the game.


Parlay bets are one of the highest-paying bet types there is. However, they are also one of the most difficult to win. Parlay bets let you roll multiple single bets into one, requiring 100% accuracy in order to earn a payout.


Teasers are a more advanced bet; however, you should still learn about them as a beginner. They provide opportunities for good returns on low-risk wagers and are a favorite among experienced sports bettors.


Pleasers are some of the most complicated and difficult bets to win. However, expert bettors are able to cash in on some passive payouts when they do win.


A futures bet, also known as an outright bet, gives you the opportunity to bet on an event long before it happens. This is great for knowledgeable sports fans who are good at predicting future outcomes. They also offer some extremely attractive betting odds.

If and Reverse Bets

If bets and reverse bets are a bit more complex than other types of sports bets. But once you are familiar with them, you will realize the potential money that there is to be made from them.

Prop Bets

Prop bets, or proposition betting, let you bet on aspects of a sporting event that are not tied to the final score or outcome. Instead, prop bets can get really specific and offer great opportunities for high payouts if you are willing to take the risk. Prop bets are extremely popular during the Super Bowl every year.

Live Bets

As its name suggests, live bets are placed while the sporting event is happening. There are many different types of live bets and they all offer intriguing betting odds, especially when it comes to live parlay betting.

Sports Betting Online

Sports betting is more popular today than it ever has been before. And with the ability to bet on sports online, your options as a bettor are nearly endless.

Starting is simple. But before you jump in, there are a few things every gambler should know about sports betting online.

How to Get Started

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The first step to starting sports betting online is choosing a top-rated sportsbook. There are plenty of bookies available to potential customers, and it’s best to find one that offers the sports you want to bet on.

You should also check to make sure that the gambling site you choose offers competitive betting lines as well as attractive bonuses. That way, you can make sure you have the potential to earn as much money as possible from your wagers.

After finding your sportsbook, it’s time to make an account with them. This process takes a few minutes and usually requires a valid email address and a working phone number for verification purposes. You will also need to provide some other basic information, such as:

  • Date of birth
  • Home address
  • First and last name

Once you have given the sports betting site all of this information, you will then be asked about how you’d like to fund your account.

Most online sportsbooks now accept a wide range of different payment methods. You can choose to still use a traditional wire transfer from your bank, or you can even cash in on some of the intriguing bonuses that sports betting sites offer for using cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin.


There are also sportsbooks that offer their customers the option to deposit directly through PayPal, or even by using prepaid credit cards.

Once you’ve submitted all of your sportsbook account information, it will take a few minutes for them to verify your account. Once they have done so, they will usually send you an email confirming that your sports betting account has been successfully created and is now available for use.

When you start making sports bets online with your sportsbook of choice, you’re going to want to look closely at each bet to ensure that the odds being offered are fair. Sportsbooks update their posted lines quickly in order to ensure they keep as many customers as possible happy with their betting options.

Online Betting vs. Land-Based Betting for Beginners

Online Sports Betting vs. in-Person Sportsbooks

If you are completely new to real money sports betting, then there are some differences you should know about when it comes to placing your bets online compared to placing them in-person at a physical sportsbook.

First and foremost, sports betting online offers bettors much better odds than sportsbooks give you when you make bets in person. When sportsbooks want to offer the best possible odds for their customers to ensure as many sports bets as possible are made, they do so by limiting the amount of money available to be won on long-shots and making it easier to win on favorites.

You will also need a valid credit or debit card in order to place sports bets online because your sportsbook will instantly charge whatever you choose to deposit. Another advantage of sports betting online is that they accept most major credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard, so you should not have any struggles with choosing a payment method.

Of course, this does not mean that you should never bet on sports at a physical sportsbook. If you are an enthusiast and would like to interact with other sports fans, then bookies in your area might be the perfect place for you.

Betting sports at a sportsbook can often win you extra money from their generous bonuses that online sportsbooks don’t offer. You will also have access to some great food and drink specials that will make it easier on your wallet when the action starts heating up during important matchups on the gridiron.

In-person sports betting is always fun because every bettor gets to watch all of the games they want while enjoying access to live customer service staff who can answer any questions they may have about sports and wagering options.

Understanding the Legality of Sports Betting

When it comes to sports betting for real money, many people are in the dark about the legality of it. Of course, the laws for real money gambling tend to vary from country to country, but the US specifically can be hard to keep up with in regard to the legality of sports betting—both online and in person.

While federal law technically prohibits the act of wagering real money on sporting events, individual states have the authority to legalize the act and collect revenue from it.

Online Sports Betting

Online sports betting in the US is legal in select states. But you have to keep in mind that sports betting laws in the US vary from one state to another. In some states, it is not legal, while others permit it only through land-based casinos or racetracks.

BetUS Laptop Sports Betting

Finally, there are several states that allow sports betting both online and in person. Many gamblers are permitted to do so using their phones, tablets, and laptops connected to various sportsbook operators’ websites.

Brick and Mortar Sports Betting

In-person sports betting in the US is currently more widely accepted than online sports betting. There are bookies, casinos, and racetracks throughout the country where fans can place wagers.

State laws in physical locations will vary. States that do allow sports betting in person often require sportsbooks to pay a certain percentage of their revenue to state governments.

American sports leagues have been fighting against it for decades due to the potential of negative influence. Most notably, Major League Baseball pressured Congress into passing PASPA (the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) in 1992 which made it illegal for states other than Nevada to legalize sports gambling within their borders.

However, this law was struck down by the Supreme Court of the United States and has failed to have any impact on current-day sports betting.

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Sports Betting FAQ

Below, you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions about wagering on sports. To find even more frequently asked questions, check out our dedicated sports betting FAQ page.

Can You Make Real Money Betting on Sports Online?

Yes, you can make real money from betting on sports. In fact, this is one of the many reasons why it has become so popular across the world.

What Sports Can You Bet on for Real Money?

There is virtually no limit to the different sports that you can bet on. This includes some of the most popular including football, baseball, and soccer, and gets as specific as darts, bowling, and even games like cricket.

Is Sports Betting Legal?

The legality of sports betting is dependent on where you live. Make sure to check your local and state laws before signing up to bet on sports.

Can Anyone Bet on Sports?

As long as sports betting is legal in your area and you are above the legal age limit, then you can bet on sports. However, not just anyone can bet on sports, as there are many restrictions put in place to prevent illegal gambling.

Do I Need to Be a Sports Expert to Bet on Sports?

No, you do not need to be an expert on sports in order to bet real money on them. However, we always recommend at least learning about a sport before betting on it. After all, how else would you know what to bet on unless you understood the game?

What Are Betting Odds?

Betting odds represent the potential payout based on a specific number. For example, American betting odds represent payouts that are based on a $100 wager.

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