In 2018, the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), allowing each state to create its own sports betting legislation.
More than 30 states have since legalized online sports betting, each with its own set of unique sports betting laws. Make sure to check your state’s regulations if you’re interested in learning how to bet.
You’ll find dozens of different bet types at US sportsbooks, many of which may confuse beginners.
So, if you don’t know your moneylines from your point spreads, this guide is for you. We’ll cover the most popular bet types in the US.
A moneyline bet is the simplest bet to learn.
You predict which team (or athlete in individual sports like tennis) will win a game. If you’re correct, you’ll make a profit. However, you’ll lose your money if you’re wrong.
With American odds, there is an underdog and a favorite. The favorites are represented by a triple-digit number and a (-) symbol, while the underdogs are represented with a (+) plus sign.
The number next to the favorite (-) symbol tells you how much you need to wager to win $100. With underdogs, the number next to the (+) symbol tells you how much you win if you bet $100.
For example, before the 2022 Super Bowl, the Cincinnati Bengals were underdogs with odds of +175. The LA Rams were the favorites with odds of -200.
If you placed $100 on the Bengals and the Bengals won, you would’ve made a profit of $175.
Meanwhile, you would’ve needed to put $200 on the Rams to make a profit of $100.
2. Point Spread
Point spread betting asks you to predict whether a team will win by or lose within a certain margin of points.
These bets will have American odds but also another number with a (+) or (-) symbol. With the (-), this is the number of points a team must win by for you to win your wager.
The number next to the (+) symbol tells you how many points a team can lose by for your bet to succeed. The underdog can also win, and your wager will still come through.
Say the Golden State Warriors are listed at -9.5 and the Memphis Grizzlies are +9.5.
If you wager on the Grizzlies, you will only win if the Grizzlies win the game outright or lose by 10 points or less as they are the underdog.
Alternatively, a Warrior’s bettor must see the team win by more than 10 points.
The American odds next to the point spread bet tells you how much you can win. Yet, this figure doesn’t impact how many points a team needs.
Point spreads make games with a significant favorite more enjoyable, encouraging bettors to wager on both teams.
A parlay (also known as an accumulator) is a combination of multiple wagers into one single bet. Each wager, or leg, must come through for you to win a parlay.
Parlays are much riskier than betting on each game individually, but you also get better odds. In addition, you can wager on more events with one stake.
For example, you could wager on the San Francisco 49ers to beat the Dallas Cowboys, the LA Rams to beat the Arizona Cardinals, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to beat the Philadelphia Eagles in a parlay bet.
You will need all three of your selections to win for your bet to return a profit. You will lose your bet if one of your selections fail to win.
You don’t just have to bet on match winners either, with some sportsbooks offering same-game parlays.
With a same game parlay, you could bet on the Bengals to win the Super Bowl against the LA Rams, with Joe Burrow throwing for more than 250 yards and Odell Beckham Jr. making four receptions.
With an over/under bet, the sportsbook sets a total (number set by oddsmakers) for a particular statistic. You then predict whether the result will be over or under that number.
A sportsbook could offer a total of 220 for a game between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors. You win if you choose the over and the teams score more than 220 points combined.
It doesn’t matter which team scores the points, as long as the final amount matches your prediction. You’ll also find over/under bets for markets like passing yards or 3-pointers.
5. Prop Bets
A prop bet is a wager that doesn’t determine the final score, instead predicting something that may or may not contribute to the result in a sporting event.
As an example, a prop bet could be placed on individual players to score touchdowns. Touchdowns contribute to the final score, but the players that score the points do not.
Prop bets in sport are often presented as an over/under, like a player scoring over/under four runs in an MLB game.
However, you also get ‘+’ prop bets, which are essentially just overs. For example, you could bet on an NFL player to register 90+ rushing yards.
You can also place prop bets on the individual statistics of players or the team as a whole.
Yet, it’s essential to remember that some states prohibit prop betting on college sports. Be sure to check your local regulations before betting.
While all wagers are placed on future events, future bets are specifically significant for events in the far future.
Futures include wagering on the World Series winner or which player will pick up the MVP award.
Odds on futures bets change the closer you get to an event, as more information about injuries and form is known.
Betting on futures at the start of the season rather than midway through is a top way to get the best odds.