What is Sports Betting?

If you are an avid sports fan or are simply chasing some exhilaration in your life and you have never tried sports betting, you are in for a treat. Sports betting is simply betting on sports. You take sporting events and you pick a side. Now, what sides are there? Well, there sports betting gets a bit tricky. 

There are multiple bets that one could place including spreads, money lines, props, and futures but it is important to know what the best is and what exactly you are putting your money on. You might think that the best NFL bets are betting on the Kansas City Chiefs to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars. Now while that most likely will happen, it might not be the best bet. The oddsmakers have a strong understanding of these sports and milk the outcomes into the lines. We’ll learn more about this later. 

If you are a new sports bettor, here are the 3 basic bets that you must fully learn before becoming a heavy bettor. 


What is a spread? Understanding a spread works best with an example. Check your favorite sportsbook and click your sport of choice. Suppose you are betting football, and the Buffalo Bills are playing the New York Jets this Sunday. You check your sportsbook and see

Buffalo Bills -16.0 

New York Jets +16.0. 

These are the spreads. In basic terminology, the Buffalo Bills must win by 17 or more points for your bet to win, assuming you choose Bills -16. If you chose Jets +16, you need the Jets to lose by 15 points or less or win. In 2022, the Bills beat the Jets by 17 points and Bills bettors cashed on their spread. 

The spread is a bet developed to reduce the odds you must pay but for the oddsmakers to develop more trappy lines. For example, every NFL spread is going to be close to a multiple of 3 or 7 because of the football scoring system. If you were a Jets +16 bettor, you would have been trapped by that line since the Jets merely missed the mark by 1 point. 

Money Lines

Money lines are the most easily understood bet. The bet simply relies on wins and losses. Again here is an example… 

Buffalo Bills -1800

New York Jets +850 

These are two examples of money lines. If you expect the Bills to win, you can place a bet on the -1800 where you would have to pay 18 times your winnings. So to make 100 dollars, you would risk 1800. And if you expected the Jets to win, you would make 850 dollars off the 100-dollar investment. 

Money lines are the reason why spreads became a thing. Who wants to pay the -1800 odds? Is the play likely to happen? Yes. But risking 18x your winnings is something most bettors stay away from. 


Props are betting on individual athletes. For example, you could bet on LeBron James to have over 25.5 points in his game versus the Heat. You may take the over 25.5 or the under 25.5 Similarly, players around the entire league have lines (point totals) set for them and you can take the overs or under. 

Props are a great pick because you are able to focus on the output of one player. Oftentimes, team sports can go south of the production of one player. So if you were to be the -1800 odds on the Bills and somehow Josh Allen has the worst game of his career, you are in a world of hurt. However, if you individually bet athletes there are much fewer variables. 

Also, Read to Know: What Makes a Good Underdog Sports Bet?


These three bets are the backbone of sports betting. Wherever sport you go towards, there will be spreads, money lines, props, all three, or just one of them. They are the basic sports bet. Now after these bets you can get accustomed to more niche bets that are popular in individual sports such as the NRFI in MLB or round totals in MMA.

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