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How Does Betting Work? – A Guide to Betting 2020

Have you liked the idea of making a bet but then started wondering how betting actually works? Well, look no further. This guide aims to equip future players with everything they need to know to bet on sports successfully.

Top Betting Site 2020

  • UK LICENSED
  • SECURE & TRUSTED
  • FAST WITHDRAWALS

Array ( [product_id] => 28 [product_name] => 888 Sports [primary_colour] => #201e1f [secondary_colour] => #ffffff [show_bonus] => 1 [banned_time_from] => 00:00:00 [banned_time_to] => 00:00:00 [hide_bonus] => 0 [hide_toplist] => 0 [bonus_name] => 888 Sports Bonus [bonus_amount] => [bonus_match] => [exclusive_bonus_amount] => [exclusive_bonus_match] => [bonus_currency] => GBP [bonus_codes] => [bonus_summary] => 888 were one of the first online casinos, opening up to the public in 1996 they have grown massively since then. Recently they have begun moving out into sports betting with their very own sportsbook.

New customers are able to claim a welcome bonus consisting of a £30 Free Bet & £10 Casino Bonus when they bet £10 (T&Cs Apply). [minimum_deposit] => 10 [bonus_tc] => New Players Only | £10 Min Dep using deposit code 30FB | A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market | Min odds of 1/2 (1.50) | Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days | Free bet stakes not included in returns | Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days | To withdraw bonus/related wins, wager bonus amount x40 within 14 days | Wagering req. vary by game | Deposit methods, Withdrawal restrictions and Full T&C’s apply [user_bonus] => [bonus_type] => bonus [terms] => T&C Apply [slug] => 888-2 [go_link] => go [term_link] => terms [download_link] => download [rating] => 7.4 [freespin] => 30 [freebie_name] => Free Bet & £10 Casino Bonus [show_freebie_currency] => 0 [supported_language] => [supported_platform] => [product_assets] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [id] => 209 [name] => 888-sport-orange-logo_68x68 [file_name] => 1596466983_888sport 68x68.jpg [type] => product_asset [url] => https://media.maxfreebets.co.uk/1596466983_888sport 68x68.jpg [asset_category_name] => product_logo ) [1] => Array ( [id] => 244 [name] => 888sport-orange-logo_102x102 [file_name] => 1596466982_888sport 102x102.jpg [type] => product_asset [url] => https://media.maxfreebets.co.uk/1596466982_888sport 102x102.jpg [asset_category_name] => product_logo_102x102 ) [2] => Array ( [id] => 708 [name] => 888sport-logo_180x120 [file_name] => 1582724168_888sport_180x120.png [type] => product_asset [url] => https://media.maxfreebets.co.uk/1582724168_888sport_180x120.png [asset_category_name] => product_logo_180x120 ) ) [review_link] => /betting/888-sport/ [review_overview] => A Top Name in Betting || 888sport has a great reputation, and with very good reason. Not only does is have a great layout and lots of markets, but its customer service is one of the best in the business. Definitely a site to recommend! [product_licences] => Array ( ) [asset_category_name] => product_logo_102x102 [cta_button_text] => Claim Offer )

New Players Only | £10 Min Dep using deposit code 30FB | A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market | Min odds of 1/2 (1.50) | Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days | Free bet stakes not included in returns | Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days | To withdraw bonus/related wins, wager bonus amount x40 within 14 days | Wagering req. vary by game | Deposit methods, Withdrawal restrictions and Full T&C’s apply

Advertiser Disclosure
We believe that every customer deserves a safe and secure betting experience, so we independently review every bookmaker on our site to make sure that they are fully regulated and compliant. All reviews are fair and true based on our experiences of the site. We do accept compensation from the bookmakers on our site, however, which may affect the position they hold. We are always looking to add more bookmakers to our site to keep offering the most up to date lists and to provide you with reviews that are current and true.
Advertiser Disclosure
We believe that every customer deserves a safe and secure betting experience, so we independently review every bookmaker on our site to make sure that they are fully regulated and compliant. All reviews are fair and true based on our experiences of the site. We do accept compensation from the bookmakers on our site, however, which may affect the position they hold. We are always looking to add more bookmakers to our site to keep offering the most up to date lists and to provide you with reviews that are current and true.

Why Use a Sports Betting Guide?

Gambling used to be a big taboo, but it is becoming more mainstream recently. One result of this increasing acceptance has been the proliferation of the multi-billion pound sports betting industry.  However, navigating how to place bets online can be a tricky business because there are so many variables to consider. 

How to Place Sports Bets

Once you’ve mastered the essential factors of how to place sports bets found in this guide, you can start playing. 

The first thing you need to do is to select your sport and decide how much you’d like to stake. Next, you’ll want to choose how to place your bet: by phone, internet, or the brick-and-mortar bookies? 

Betting through a top online bookmaker is an increasingly popular choice these days thanks to its accessibility. You’ll be able to wager once you’ve registered an account and deposited some funds. The best sites offer a massive range of sports which can be accompanied by fantastic bonuses

Our Top Betting Sites

Online gambling has rapidly become a massive international industry, and entrepreneurs have certainly taken note. Although there’s an abundance of online casinos and bookies, you should shop around to find ones that suit your needs. Here are some of our favourite betting sites.

Top Betting Sites 2020

  • UK LICENSED
  • SECURE & TRUSTED
  • FAST WITHDRAWALS

Array ( [product_id] => 43 [product_name] => Unibet [primary_colour] => #f8f3f3 [secondary_colour] => #ffffff [tag] => Array ( [0] => howbetting ) [show_bonus] => 1 [banned_time_from] => 00:00:00 [banned_time_to] => 00:00:00 [hide_bonus] => 0 [hide_toplist] => 0 [bonus_name] => [bonus_amount] => [bonus_match] => [exclusive_bonus_amount] => [exclusive_bonus_match] => [bonus_currency] => GBP [bonus_codes] => [bonus_summary] => Unibet is a very popular name in the betting market and for good reason. It has an impressive selection of sports and markets. Furthermore, it is excellent for betting on the go with a great mobile site and app. [minimum_deposit] => 10 [bonus_tc] => New customers only | 18+, BeGambleAware.org | Min deposit £10 | Money back as bonus | Wagering requirements: Sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), Casino 25x | Only one bonus can be used at a time, Sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited | Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in | Further T&C’s apply. [user_bonus] => [bonus_type] => bonus [terms] => T&C Apply [slug] => unibet [go_link] => go [term_link] => terms [download_link] => download [rating] => 9.4 [freespin] => [freebie_name] => Up to £40 Money Back & £10 Casino Bonus [show_freebie_currency] => 0 [supported_language] => [supported_platform] => [product_assets] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [id] => 235 [name] => unibet-logo_68x68 [file_name] => 1594805352_Unibet 68x68.png [type] => product_asset [url] => https://media.maxfreebets.co.uk/1594805352_Unibet 68x68.png [asset_category_name] => product_logo ) [1] => Array ( [id] => 272 [name] => unibet-logo_102x102 [file_name] => 1594805352_Unibet.png [type] => product_asset [url] => https://media.maxfreebets.co.uk/1594805352_Unibet.png [asset_category_name] => product_logo_102x102 ) [2] => Array ( [id] => 716 [name] => unibet-logo_180x120 [file_name] => 1596635704_Unibet 180x120.png [type] => product_asset [url] => https://media.maxfreebets.co.uk/1596635704_Unibet 180x120.png [asset_category_name] => product_logo_180x120 ) ) [review_link] => /betting/unibet-review/ [review_overview] => A Big Betting Brand || Unibet is a well recognised name for a reason, as it offers a great site with the very best sports and markets available as well as great live play betting. It's also got a pretty decent mobile app too. Would be good to see Neteller added as a payment option, but that's just a small issue [product_licences] => Array ( ) [asset_category_name] => product_logo_102x102 [cta_button_text] => Claim Offer )

New customers only | 18+, BeGambleAware.org | Min deposit £10 | Money back as bonus | Wagering requirements: Sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), Casino 25x | Only one bonus can be used at a time, Sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited | Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in | Further T&C’s apply.

Array ( [product_id] => 264 [product_name] => MrPlay [primary_colour] => #00a4f4 [secondary_colour] => #ffffff [tag] => Array ( [0] => howbetting ) [show_bonus] => 1 [banned_time_from] => 00:00:00 [banned_time_to] => 00:00:00 [hide_bonus] => 0 [hide_toplist] => 0 [bonus_name] => Mr Play Bonus [bonus_amount] => [bonus_match] => [exclusive_bonus_amount] => [exclusive_bonus_match] => [bonus_currency] => GBP [bonus_codes] => [bonus_summary] => Mr Play sports prides itself on offering great in-play betting markets on sports such as football, tennis ice hockey, badminton and more. If you want to test out their markets, then head over today and sign up for your £10 Free Bet [minimum_deposit] => 10 [bonus_tc] => New Players Only. Max £10 Free Bet. Qualifying bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 (2.00) or greater. Paid as bonus tokens with min. odds req. (Paypal, Skrill & Neteller no eligible). T&C Apply. 18+ [user_bonus] => [bonus_type] => bonus [terms] => T&C Apply [slug] => mr-play [go_link] => go [term_link] => terms [download_link] => download [rating] => 8 [freespin] => 10 [freebie_name] => Free Bet [show_freebie_currency] => 0 [supported_language] => [supported_platform] => [product_assets] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [id] => 681 [name] => mrplay_logo_black_68x68 [file_name] => 1596453202_Mr Play 68x68 (1).png [type] => product_asset [url] => https://media.maxfreebets.co.uk/1596453202_Mr Play 68x68 (1).png [asset_category_name] => product_logo ) [1] => Array ( [id] => 682 [name] => mrplay_logo_black_102x102 [file_name] => 1596453202_Mr Play 102x102.png [type] => product_asset [url] => https://media.maxfreebets.co.uk/1596453202_Mr Play 102x102.png [asset_category_name] => product_logo_102x102 ) [2] => Array ( [id] => 724 [name] => mrplay-logo_180x120 [file_name] => 1585907931_mrplay logo (1).png [type] => product_asset [url] => https://media.maxfreebets.co.uk/1585907931_mrplay logo (1).png [asset_category_name] => product_logo_180x120 ) ) [review_link] => /betting/mr-play-sport/ [review_overview] => A Fun New Sports Site || Mr. Play is a really fun and cool new sports site that offers a great number of sports and markets, as well as some fantastic offers and promotions. It can be a little slow to load at times, but the overall site offers a great experience [product_licences] => Array ( ) [asset_category_name] => product_logo_102x102 [cta_button_text] => Claim Offer )

New Players Only. Max £10 Free Bet. Qualifying bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 (2.00) or greater. Paid as bonus tokens with min. odds req. (Paypal, Skrill & Neteller no eligible). T&C Apply. 18+

Array ( [product_id] => 293 [product_name] => Hopa [primary_colour] => #000007 [secondary_colour] => #097bcd [tag] => Array ( [0] => howbetting ) [show_bonus] => 1 [banned_time_from] => 00:00:00 [banned_time_to] => 00:00:00 [hide_bonus] => 0 [hide_toplist] => 0 [bonus_name] => Hopa Bonus [bonus_amount] => [bonus_match] => [exclusive_bonus_amount] => [exclusive_bonus_match] => [bonus_currency] => GBP [bonus_codes] => [bonus_summary] => Hopa has been around for over 15 years and brings a wealth of experience. It has a huge number of in-play betting markets and very generous odds on the most popular sports. [minimum_deposit] => 10 [bonus_tc] => New players only | Min deposit (methods exclusions apply) £10 | Bet £10 at min. odds of 1/1 (2.00) | Paid as bonus token with min. odds of 4/5 (1.80) [user_bonus] => [bonus_type] => bonus [terms] => T&C Apply [slug] => hopa [go_link] => go [term_link] => terms [download_link] => download [rating] => 8.4 [freespin] => 10 [freebie_name] => Free Bet [show_freebie_currency] => 0 [supported_language] => [supported_platform] => [product_assets] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [id] => 881 [name] => hopa_logo_180x120 [file_name] => 1588264042_Hopa Logo 180x120.jpg [type] => product_asset [url] => https://media.maxfreebets.co.uk/1588264042_Hopa Logo 180x120.jpg [asset_category_name] => product_logo_180x120 ) [1] => Array ( [id] => 882 [name] => hopa_logo_102x102 [file_name] => 1594993334_Hopa 102x102.png [type] => product_asset [url] => https://media.maxfreebets.co.uk/1594993334_Hopa 102x102.png [asset_category_name] => product_logo_102x102 ) [2] => Array ( [id] => 883 [name] => hopa_logo_68x68 [file_name] => 1594993334_Hopa 68x68.png [type] => product_asset [url] => https://media.maxfreebets.co.uk/1594993334_Hopa 68x68.png [asset_category_name] => product_logo ) ) [review_link] => /betting/hopa/ [review_overview] => A Generous Betting Site! || This is definitely a betting site worth another look. They not only have a very decent welcome offer to get you started, but also plenty of generous odds available for the best markets out there. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re a beginner or pro. [product_licences] => Array ( ) [asset_category_name] => product_logo_102x102 [cta_button_text] => Claim Offer )

New players only | Min deposit (methods exclusions apply) £10 | Bet £10 at min. odds of 1/1 (2.00) | Paid as bonus token with min. odds of 4/5 (1.80)

Advertiser Disclosure
We believe that every customer deserves a safe and secure betting experience, so we independently review every bookmaker on our site to make sure that they are fully regulated and compliant. All reviews are fair and true based on our experiences of the site. We do accept compensation from the bookmakers on our site, however, which may affect the position they hold. We are always looking to add more bookmakers to our site to keep offering the most up to date lists and to provide you with reviews that are current and true.
Advertiser Disclosure
We believe that every customer deserves a safe and secure betting experience, so we independently review every bookmaker on our site to make sure that they are fully regulated and compliant. All reviews are fair and true based on our experiences of the site. We do accept compensation from the bookmakers on our site, however, which may affect the position they hold. We are always looking to add more bookmakers to our site to keep offering the most up to date lists and to provide you with reviews that are current and true.

UniBet Logo SmallUnibet

Unibet is licensed in the UK and offers fast withdrawals. The £40 welcome offer doesn’t hurt either. To receive your bonus, you’ll have to make a minimum deposit of £10 and place a £20 bet at minimum odds of 1.40.

888sports white on orange logo888sport 

888sport is another also stands out from the crowd. It offers a £30 free bet welcome offer. You’ll have to make a deposit and place a £10 qualifying bet to secure it, though. It also provides fast and secure payment methods.

Hopa Logo 70x70Hopa

It won’t be too long before it becomes a household name in the UK. Hopa offers a user-friendly experience with a sleek design. This bookie offers a £10 free bet welcome bonus, similar to many others on the market. You’ll have to deposit at least £10, after which you’ll receive your free bets of £10 to bet on any sport.

How Do Betting Odds Work?

The odds tell you the amount you stand to make if your bet wins. It correlates to your stake. Betting odds are an essential aspect of all sports wagers and will help you decide if it’s worth trying your luck. Using a combination of your stake and the relevant odds help you calculate the possible payout. 

Odds don’t only impact your possible payout; they also show the likelihood of a particular outcome taking place. A key feature of figuring out how betting odds work is that they are lower when the result is more likely. Consider a boxing match where the best fighter in the world is up against the 120th ranked boxer. You expect the best boxer in the world to win. Therefore, betting on him would return lower odds in comparison to the higher odds for his opponent. 

Your payout and the overall chances of winning: Have we answered your question of “how do betting odds work”? Not so fast! There are three subdivisions of odds you’ll encounter in sports betting. Let’s take a look, shall we? 

MoneylineMoneyline Odds

This format is favoured in the United States and is also sometimes referred to as ‘American Odds’. It’s displayed as a positive or negative number. The positive shows how much you would make on a winning wager of £100, whereas a negative shows how much you need to wager to win £100. Let’s look at an example. 

If the odds are +190, your return on a correct wager would be £190 as well as your initial stake. If the odds were -190, you would have to wager £190 to win £100 on top of your initial stake. 

FractionalFractional Odds

This format is commonly used in the UK, although decimals are becoming increasingly popular in online betting. Every fraction displays how much you stand to make if your bet wins. It could show as, for example, 7/1; this means for every £1 that you wager your stake return will be £7. The denominator won’t always be one, but the rule stays the same. These terms should help you calculate the total payout. 

DecimalDecimal Odds

As mentioned above, decimal odds are most common in online betting. Players prefer its simplicity compared to the other two formats. The decimal, using two decimal places, shows precisely how much your bet stands to return. It works by simply multiplying the decimal odds with the wager to find your potential return. Therefore if the decimal odds are 3.50 and your wager is £20, then your winnings will be £70.

Understanding Probability

Although odds and probability are linked, it’s not the same thing at all. Recognising the difference could help you make profitable wagers. Many factors affect the odds, and some of them don’t reflect the outcomes. For example, if someone places a very large bet on a horse, this may drop the odds lower as the bookmaker hedges their bets. However, this has no impact on the horse’s chance to win. 

On the other hand, probability is straight forward. Probability usually varies by about five to ten per cent. To place a successful sports bet, you’ll want to figure out what the probability of a specific outcome is and calculate whether the odds would be profitable. 

Betting Formats

With such a massive variety of sports to bet on, it stands to reason that there’d be various types of bets too. To successfully wager on sports, you must have a working knowledge of the terminology and how it works. 

question markHow Does Each Way Betting Work?

This type of betting is commonly used in horse racing. If you enjoy spending time at the tracks but have been too embarrassed to ask “how does horse betting work?”, we hope the rules of odds we presented above has enlightened you. However, when punters are discussing this more complex betting system, and you’ve wanted to ask “how does each way betting work?”, we’ll answer that for you now. 

With this wager, you’ll be placing two separate bets. Your first bet is on your pick to win; the second one is in a place. Placing means coming first, second or third. Bookmakers may offer a wide range of each-way bets with varying odds and could offer places outside the top three.

question markHow Does Matched Betting Work?

Matched betting uses a combination of back and lay betting formats to utilise free bets. Most online bookies and casinos offer welcome bonuses these days, but it’s not always easy to turn that into real money. That’s where this type of wager comes in. 

Simply put, you’ll place the back bet and place an equal bet against the same outcome, known as the lay bet. No matter what the results are, you’ll win. By making use of this back and lay betting approach, you stand to make a profit using free bets. You could stand to make up to 80% of the free bet. 

The math behind matched betting can be pretty complicated, so even though doing it yourself is possible, it’s usually better to use match betting software.

question markHow Does Spread Betting Work?

Some sports, like football and basketball, allow point spread usage for betting. So, we can hear you asking, how does spread betting work? The point spread helps to level the playing field for the weaker side. In money line betting, you select an outright winner. 

Assign points or goals to the weaker team. Say, for example, you have a Premier League Team playing a team from League One, and you think the League One team will only lose by two goals. Now, the top team would have to win by three or more goals to lose your bet.

question markHow Does Lay Betting Work?

Lay betting is a fun option if you’ve ever wanted to play the bookmaker. Instead of backing a bet, you’ll be offering odds to sell. The player can guarantee a win by backing and selling bets on a game. So essentially, a lay bet means you’re betting on something not to happen.

For example, let’s say you believe that Arsenal has no chance of winning the Premier League, but you don’t know who will. In this case, you’d place a lay bet. You’ll be betting on the fact that Arsenal loses the league. This means if any team other than Arsenal wins, your wager wins as well.  

question markHow Does Handicap Betting Work?

Handicap bets are very similar to point spread bets. This betting type works by giving a handicap to the team with the advantage to level the playing field. Players will find that there are different types of handicaps, namely single, level or split handicap. Read on to solve the mystery of how handicap betting works.

  • Single Handicap – This happens when there’s an obvious difference in ability between the two selections. Place the handicap on the favourite, or you could say you give a handicap advantage to the inferior team. This could be +0.5, +1.0 or +1.5 goals.
  • Level Handicap – This refers to a match where the competitors are evenly matched pre-game. The player will only need to select their favoured team, and if the selection wins the bet is successful.
  • Split Handicap – Your stake can be split when the difference between the teams is minor.

question markHow Does Placepot Betting Work?

This bet is for horse racing. Your stake goes into a pool which is divided among the winners. Win this bet by selecting a placed horse in the one to six races on a specific race card. 

Live and In-Play Betting

In-Play betting, also referred to as betting in the running, allows players to place bets after the game has started. These are sometimes allowed at every stage of play. Patrons can wager on a load of different outcomes and factors while the game is taking place, making it a perfect choice for thrill-seekers. 

The website where you play has a big effect on the types of wagers you can place. You will usually find this at online casinos and bookies where technological advancements can handle the requirements of in-play betting.

Bankroll Management

Now that you know what sports betting is all about and how to find value in odds, it’s time to talk about financial strategies. Although people seldomly talk about this, it’s one of the most important factors when choosing to gamble. Right decisions should always take precedence over how much you stand to win, whether you’re a frugal gambler or a high roller. 

By setting a budget, you’ll know exactly how much you have to spend. It also makes it easier to spot any possible gambling problems.

FAQs

  • How Do Sports Betting Odds Work?

    As mentioned in the odds section above, three different odds formats are used in sports betting. Moneyline, fractional and decimal odds are the options. Moneyline is popular in America, fractional is popular in the UK, and decimal is slowly taking over the online market. Moneyline - Displayed as positive or negative. Fractional - Displayed as a fraction. Decimal - Displayed as a decimal.
  • Why Would You Bet on Negative Odds?

    Although a negative odd pays out less than your original wager, the outcome is much more likely to take place, which makes this a safer bet for beginners.  
  • Who Sets the Odds for Sports Betting?

    The odds compiler, working for the casino or bookmaker, is responsible for setting the odds for any given sports event.
  • Why Do I Need to Understand Sports Betting Odds?

    Understanding the difference between odds and probability could mean the difference between winning and losing. Odds tell you how much you stand to make on a wager. This means that understanding the odds helps you determine whether or not a bet is worth it.
  • What Do the Odds of +200 Mean?

    As mentioned above, this is known as money line odds. American odds are displayed as positive or negative. +200 means that if you place a £100 stake, you stand to make a £200 profit for a correct selection.