Online sportsbooks have made it possible for anyone to simply get on their computer or mobile device and place a bet. You no longer have to drive anywhere or call anyone to get in on the action. Best of all, it’s easy to dive in and get right to betting. However, to a newcomer, the online sportsbook can look a bit overwhelming. Here’s everything you need to know.

How to Bet at a Sportsbook

Once you choose an online sports betting website (more on that below), you deposit money. The process is the same way as when you make a purchase at a shopping site. With funds in your account, you’re able to choose the sporting event you would like to bet on, select the amount, and lock in your chance to win.

The Different Types of Bets: Pre-Match vs. In-Play vs. Futures

The three major categories of a sports bet are pre-match, in-play, and futures. Pre-Match bets are the most common, where you bet on the outcome before the event begins. In-play, also known as Live Betting, is when you place a bet after a game has already started. A Futures bet is where you bet on a winner further in advance. For example, you can bet on who wins the entire World Cup during the Round of 16 leg.

Understanding Sportsbook Odds

The odds next to each event at the sportsbook represents how much you’d win based on how much you wager. The way the odds are displayed can be in fractions, moneyline, or decimal; and if you don’t have a preference, use decimal. It’s the easiest to understand. To determine how much you can win, simply multiply your desired wager by the decimal odds displayed.

For example, you want to wager $50 on a team, whose odds are 1.5. If you win, your payout would be $50 x 1.5, or $75 ($25 profit).

But no need to break out the calculator. At online sportsbooks, you can select your bet and type in any amount to see what the payout would be.

What’s with the “Point Spread”?

You can bet just on whether a team will win or lose. In that case, the specific points don’t matter. If the one you bet on wins, you win your payout.

However, you can also “bet the spread,” wherein the bookmaker (the one who sets the odds at the sportsbook) will provide adjusted odds based on the final score of the game.

In this case, who wins or loses doesn’t necessarily matter. What matters are the points scored. If you bet the favorite (expected winner), they would need to win by a certain number of points for there to be a payout. If you bet the underdog, they would either need to win or lose by fewer than the specified number of points. This method of betting evens out the payouts for both sides quite a bit. Where a straight win or lose bet might produce odds on the favorite as unappealing as 1.05 ($5 profit on a $100 bet), the spread odds can be much better even though you’re betting on the same game.

Choosing the Right Sportsbook

A lot of online sportsbooks exist. Depending on your location, you likely have your choice of hundreds. Do you have time to sift through them all? Of course not! That’s why you go to respected sportsbook review sites like that already did all the legwork for you. Use their optimized list of legitimate sports betting sites to more easily decide on which outlet is best for you.

What Sets the Best Sportsbooks Apart?

First and foremost, reputation and security are the two most significant factors. If both aren’t glowing, they’re not recommended at Turbo Luck – and should be skipped by you too. Beyond that, aspects like competitive odds, a large variety of events, and the sports you like to bet on are crucial components. Special features — such as combining odds websites with betslips or being able to cancel bets — can be big selling points. And promotions, like sportsbook freebets or deposit-match bonuses, often separate competitors from one another as well. Take the time to consider the recommended choices. It’s worth it!

Can You Be a Guaranteed Winner? Yes!

If you’re looking into sports betting hoping to make money, don’t bet. The key to having fun at any gambling outlet is to focus on the fun and the thrill, not the winning potential. Never gamble with more than you’re prepared to lose, set a strict budget, and limit how much time you invest in this form of entertainment.

With that being said, more than half the world’s population has placed a bet. It’s an age-old pastime that’s exciting, enjoyed every day, and potentially lucrative. Have fun, play smart, and you’ll be a winner at the end of the day no matter how much you win or lose. Good luck!