Sports has become a big part of people's lives, with some that enjoy playing the game and some that are content with cheering their favorite teams on. There are some, however, that choose to show their passion for a sport or team by betting on them.
Sports betting has had a long and illustrious history that was first documented more than 2000 years ago with the Greeks. With the Greeks' passion for athletics, they introduced the Olympics to the rest of the world, as well as the first documented wagers on athletic competitions.
Then came the Roman gladiators, where sports betting was eventually accepted and even legalized.
In the 1950s, Las Vegas lent sports betting a sense of legitimacy to the public by having their land-based casinos authorize sports betting. However, there was no other way other than walking into a Las Vegas casino to bet.
However, the emergence of the world wide web has accelerated the growth of sports betting, especially with the boom of the smartphone industry. This rapid technological development meant that sports bettors could place their bets anytime, anywhere, and on any device.
Why do people bet on sports?
The reason why people bet on sports may differ, but sports betting is generally popular for the following reasons.
Most sports bettors are in it for the sake of entertainment. Live sports may be entertaining in itself, but the excitement may be amplified when money is on the line.
Easy to start
While most hobbies take a lot of time and commitment to get into, sports betting is really simple to get started. Players don't need large monetary or equipment investments — even just $5 is enough to start.
Perhaps the thing that pulls most people into sports betting is the possibility of making money. Bettors always have a chance to win regardless of their betting capabilities, and some have even trained themselves to learn the ins and outs of statistics to become professional sports bettors.
Types of bets
Here are some of the common wagers players may see when betting on sports.
Moneyline bets are the simplest and most common bet type. It only involves betting on a team to win. If you bet on Team A and they won, you win. If they lose, you lose.
Point spread bets require a bettor to wager on a competitor's margin of victory rather than a final result. A minus symbol (-) indicates the favorite and a plus sign (+) symbolizes the underdog. If the favorite is priced at -7.5, they must win by more than 7.5 points for a wager to win. Conversely, should a favorite be priced at +7.5, they must either win the game or lose by less than 7.5 points.
Over/Unders involves betting whether or not the total points of both teams go over or under a certain amount. Suppose a game between Team A and Team B has a point total that is set at 45 points. Should the game conclude at 50 points, the 'over' bet wins, and the 'under' wagers lose.
Parlay bets involve relying on multiple bets to win before actually winning. Each parlay bet has 'legs' to bet on. Suppose a punter bets on a four-leg parlay and loses three out of four bets. This means that they hold a losing parlay ticket.
Teaser bets are similar to parlay bets but are specifically designed for multiple point spread bets with a single payout.
Prop bets, or a proposition bet, are not directly tied to a game's final result. The most common prop bets are either player or game props. Player props bet on a player's performance and game stats (like triple-doubles or passing yards), and game props wager on certain events to happen in a game (such as first scorers or first to 10 points).
Middle bets, or middling, is a form of arbitrage betting that involves players placing point spread wagers for both sides of a game. For example, a punter bets on a 3.5 point favorite Team A for Game 1 in one sportsbook and then on a 4.5 underdog Team B in a different sportsbook, but also for Game 1. Since they middled the match, they will win either +1.82 units if Team A wins by four points, and only lose 0.09 units if they don't.
Futures bets are wagers on a future outcome, such as MVP awards, championships, or total wins.
Live bets are wagers that are placed after a game has started.
Sticking to one sport
While certain pros and cons can be made between the case of betting on either one or multiple sports, it's best to start with just one sport — at a time.
If it's NFL season, then bet on NFL. If it's MMA time, then wager on some fights. This way, bettors can get all the advantages of focusing on one sport but none of the boring off-season of sticking to just one sport year-round.