Learning How To Bet Online

Pound Fold While experienced punters make it look easy, sports betting comes in a number of varieties and with it's own unique terminology - so there can be a fair bit to learn for those that haven't dealt with a bookmaker before (be it online or off). If you have wagered with a local betting parlour, but just haven't bet online yet - you should find there's little adjustment required to make the transition.

For the rest of you - here's a primer on how to get started, the different betting options available, finding the right bookmaker, and other things you'll want to know.

Betting Basics:

This much you've probably already got covered - but just in case...
A bet involves an individual wagering a certain amount of money on a predicted outcome, for which they will win money (profit) if they are correct, and lose their wager (money) if they are incorrect. The majority of bets are placed on the outcomes of sporting events, but it's possible to bet on just about anything these days, and bookmakers will frequently take wagers on everything from politics to television events to award recipients.

An example of a simple bet:
You favour Team A to win over Team B in the football match over the weekend, and bet £10 on them to win. (This is typically known as a "Win Bet" or "Straight Bet"). The odds are 2/1 (that's in fractional odds: which is the same as 3.00 represented in decimal odds, and 2.00 in American odds - explained further below). With the odds of 2/1; if Team A wins you will receive £30 from the sportsbook - your original £10 bet, plus £20 profit from the win. If Team A loses of course - you lose your original bet (stake), and that's that.

There are a number of different ways to bet; betting with spreads and handicaps, stringing wagers together to multiply odds, betting on someone or something to place but not necessarily win, and for you pessimists out there - even betting that a certain team won't win. The advent of the internet has made it much easier for sportsbooks and exchanges to offer up just about any type of bet they'd like these days, so there's plenty more options on top of those as well. We'll cover some of the more common types of bets in more detail below, or see our types of bets section for expanded details and additional betting options.

Different Types of Bets:

While sportsbooks and exchanges offer many different types of wagers; there's a few 'main' types that most will fall into:

"Win Bets" (aka "straight bets", aka "match odds", aka "full time result")
As described in the example above under Betting Basics, a Win Bet is the most straight forward of the bunch - you are wagering a set amount of money that a team/player/horse/dog/etc. will win a game/race/etc. The sportsbook will display the odds before you make your bet, which will be locked in once it is placed. If the team/player/horse you wagered on wins as you predicted - you are paid your original bet back as well as profits based on the odds you received.

Making a Win Bet is fairly straight forward. On a online betting form/slip, this type of bet usually looks something like this:

Betting Slip Example
As the match would appear at Ladbrokes

As you can see, the event has three distinct betting options; "Home" - a wager on the home team to win, "Away' - a wager on the away team, and "Draw" - a bet on a tie outcome.

For each event the teams will normally be listed with the home team first and the away team afterwards, the same order as the odds are displayed beside it. (home win/draw/away win). Select the team/side you wish to win (or choose a draw if you'd rather bet on a tie), enter your stake (how much you want to bet) where prompted, and place your bet.

Place Bets:
These can be available for other sports, but are normally reserved for racing events (horse, greyhound or auto) and are a bet that a horse/driver will not necessarily win, but will come in a top place (generally 1st, 2nd, or 3rd.)

If the horse/driver/team you made a Place Bet on comes in one of the "places", then you win the bet. There is no difference between the amount won regardless of which place. If they place - you win, if they don't - you lose. (i.e. your horse coming in 1st place pays no better than if they came in 3rd).

With rare exception; all events offering Place Bets have a Win Bet available as well, which the place bet is normally shown beside on the betting form/slip. The Place Bet should have it's own odds denoted as well.

There's also a third type of bet that essentially combines the Win and the Place, known as the Each-Way Bet.

The Each-Way Bet:
The Each-Way is again generally a racing-related bet (though not necessarily), in which you are basically splitting your stake between a Win Bet and a Place Bet. If the horse/dog/driver/team you wagered on comes in first - you win "both" sides of your bet; the Win Bet and the Place Bet. If they place but don't come in first, you lose half your bet - but still win the Place half of it.

The odds for an Each-Way Bet may be shown separately, but will often be referred to as a fraction relative to the Win Bet. For example, when referenced with the Win Bet...

EW: 1/5 places 1,2,3

...would mean that the Each-Way Bet paid one fifth the Win Bet amount, and would pay off if the horse/dog/person/whatever placed either first, second or third. The relative payouts for an EW Bet will vary depending on how many competitors there are and the number of places that pay.

Lay Bets:
A Lay Bet is basically the opposite of a Win Bet; it's a wager on a specific outcome not happening. This isn't terribly common to find at a sportsbook (as the sportsbook itself takes the 'Lay'), but betting exchanges are becoming increasingly popular which allow punters to take either side of the action.

These above are the most common types of bets made - there's lots of punters that are content to keep betting on just the Win. (It's an easy bet to make and follow when you're trying to make rooting for your favorite team a little more interesting).

That said, there are lots more types of bets that are available at various sportsbooks, some of which we'll go over on the next page...

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