Regular sports bettors have evolved their game just as the whole world of online wagering has changed over the years and so are well aware of all the world’s sports betting opportunities. For the uninitiated however this can prove to be a minefield.
What you’ll discover is that no one type of sports wager is better than another but rather they all simply cater to people with different tastes and skills.
Exchanges for example are good for those who prefer to take the negative view, especially within horse racing, and like to ‘lay’ horses they are pretty sure will be beaten. Other bettors prefer sports such as basketball or rugby where it’s about points and therefore spread betting is their thing.
Here we’ll cover some of the more common types of online sports bets, from traditional fixed odds and spread betting to the more modern inventions of in-play and exchange wagering to help you better understand what is available out there.
Fixed Odds Sports Betting
There are various types of fixed odds, different countries using either fractional odds, decimal odds or moneyline.
Fractional odds are favored in the UK and Ireland and also in the US for things like horse racing, where odds of two-to-one will be displayed as 2/1. This simply means that if you place a $10 wager and it wins, your overall return will be $30 (2/1 = $20 plus $10 stake).
Australasia, most of Europe and also Canada tend to use decimal odds which always include the equivalent of a $1 stake, so 2/1 in this case would be displayed as 3.0 and 5/2 would be displayed as 3.5 etc.
Moneyline is a little different and is used in the States for things like football and basketball wagering. The figure listed can either be positive or negative and is not connected to the point spread (more info below).
If the odds are better than even, then a figure will be displayed based on how much you will win for a $100 wager. The aforementioned 2/1 odds would in this case be listed as +200. If the figure is negative, such as 1/2 in fractional betting or 1.5 in decimal betting, it would be displayed as -200.
Live, in-play betting has completely changed the way we now bet and is not just seen as convenient for those who couldn’t get their bets on in time for kick-off, but is now used tactically very well by bettors who can see the way a game may pan out before laying down any cash.
As well as being great fun and perhaps increasing your enjoyment of watching a live sporting event, live betting can also help you get better odds. In soccer for example, a team’s starting odds may be 2/1 but if it is 0-0 after 20 minutes this will be reflected in the live odds, so they may now be 5/2.
So long as we remain confident our team can win, we can take the risk of leaving the bet for a while and waiting until the odds increase which adds a whole new dimension to the wagering world.
As part of the live betting revolution we can now ‘cash out’ in play, meaning that if our selection is winning then an amount will be offered by the sportsbook which will be a profitable amount, though lower than the original expected winning amount, which we can bank regardless of the final outcome of the game.
Growing in popularity since their inception around the millennium in England, exchanges are essentially betting bazaars where players can bet for or against a horse, team, player etc. In other words, on an exchange you can be the bettor or you can be the bookmaker.
Players can ‘back’ the outcome or ‘lay’ the outcome and, going hand-in-hand with the transformation of betting in the internet age; can trade in real time throughout the event too. Some gamblers play both sides on the exchanges, backing a selection when they are confident it can win or laying something they believe has no real chance of winning. The exchange makes its money by taking a small commission from winning bets.
Given its overall nature, spread betting is popular with those not simply looking for a sports bet, but also those looking to place bets on the movement of stocks and shares, commodities or even currencies all of which can be done via most modern sportsbooks.
When using it in this way, spread betting can offer the opportunity for players to get into what was previously a closed world, open only to city workers with access to stocks and shares information and the means to play the markets.
Although the opportunity has arisen for traditional sports bettors to now play the markets, this has led to a crossover also of city types using sports based betting companies to place their spread bets and thus become sports betting customers, increasing turnover of modern sportsbooks.
Famously part of sports betting for years though, spread betting is essentially a way of betting on market movements rather than the overall outcome of an event.
For instance, with a traditional sports bet you are required to bet on the outcome of the event at a fixed odds price set by the bookmaker (or sportsbook) however with a spread bet your success or otherwise is based on how successful you are to predicting how close the game is.
For example if the spread on a game is listed as 14, you are betting whether or not your team will win or lose by more or less than 14 points. If you back your team to win and bet ‘under’ and your team wins 105-95 then you will win your bet. If your team still wins but by 14 points or more, you have lost.
Daily Fantasy Sports
Daily fantasy sports, known as DFS, is a subdivision of fantasy sports games which in a more rudimentary sense have been around for the last 70 years.
As was always the case with renowned traditional fantasy sports leagues and games, players build a team of pro players from real life teams and leagues and compete against each other. DFS are an expedited version of the traditional games and conducted over shorter time periods, sometimes even just a single day of competition.
Fantasy baseball, basketball, football, golf, hockey and even congress are all popular in the modern day and attract hundreds of thousands of players.
Given that we’ve known on-track betting as pari-mutuel betting forever, most people think of it simply as a title and don’t really understand where the format comes from.
The term is French and literally means ‘mutual betting’ and is a system under which all bets are pooled together with potential winning odds calculated by sharing the overall pool among all the winning bets.
For example, in fixed odds betting a horse in a race may remain at a short price, say 8/5, because the bookmakers themselves believe it has a great winning chance. In pari-mutuel betting however, should this horse not have many supporters and so not much money in the overall pot is being placed on it then it’s price can drift upwards at a much higher rate.
Stylized as eSports, naturally the name comes from electronic sports and they are a form of competition using only video games.
Professional players from the world of video gaming often come together for multiplayer competitions and this has now led to a sports betting subculture given than the labelling of video gaming as a sport, although controversial, has led to people not only wanting to play but also wishing to bet on the outcomes.
Betting on these events is guesswork for most people, however for those who know their stuff this can represent a great opportunity to find good value in what it a very niche betting market.