Online sportsbetting has been around for a long time. However, it’s just starting to take off with legal expansion in the United States.
But just because you can legally bet in many states doesn’t mean you should rush into battle unprepared. First, you need to learn how to bet. This article will not cover everything about betting; we provided a link above that covers the finer details of sports betting. However, we are going to outline a few essential things to know before gambling online.
The three most important things you need to know are related to the philosophy of sports betting, making sure you have a selection of betting lines to choose from and ensuring that you are placing your bets on the up and up.
- You are NOT Betting for or Against a Team
One of the most detrimental misconceptions about sports betting is that you are betting on a team or against a team. In most cases, you don’t bet the winner; you are betting against the line that a particular sportsbook issues before the game.
Most of the time, one team is significantly better than the other, so there isn’t much value in betting on who wins. This is because the sportsbooks set up risk according to the probability of winning. So, if one team has a high probability of winning, you have to risk a lot more to earn a profit. Conversely, you win a lot more money when the underdog wins, but how often do they actually win? That’s why spread betting and totals (OVER/UNDER) are the most popular form of betting.
So, with that in mind, most of the time, you are not betting for or against a team. There is no loyalty involved. You are explicitly betting against the line. And should only place bets where you feel like you have found a specific advantage against the line you took.
- Make Sure You Have the Best Line
Different sportsbooks may have different betting lines for the same game. This is because their clientele is different, so different amounts of action come in on each side. If more action comes in on Team B, they have to adjust the line accordingly. Meanwhile, in another book, Team A may have taken more action. So, to try and break even, that book will adjust the line for Team A.
What does this mean for you? It means that you will find it much harder to be profitable if you only have one account. You should have between three and five sportsbook accounts up and running so that you can immediately make a play with any at the drop of a dime. If your sportsbook has the Dolphins as 6.5 point underdogs, but another top-book has them at +7.5, and you like the Fins to cover, you NEED to take the extra point. If you take the play at your primary book +6.5 and the Fins lose by a TD, you lose your money. However, at the other book with the line at +7.5, if the Fins lose by a TD, you win!
In short, line shopping is critically important to long-term profitability. Always remember that you are in a war of attrition with the sportsbooks. So, every nickel and dime you get from them is important for long-term success.
Make Sure You Are Legal
Make sure you are using an online book that takes players from your area or is a legal state-run operation. If you use a VPN, and the operation finds out that you are hiding your location, your winnings that are sitting in your account may be forfeit. Most books will be kind enough to give your deposits back, but your winnings will likely be deemed null and void.
Check with your local sports betting guidelines along with sites like Bookmaker, BetOnline, and Bovada, who accept US players. Those are also great books to start with for line shopping as well.
If you pay attention to these three aspects of online sports betting, you’ll be well on your way to a profitable sportsbetting venture.