3 Tips to Know Before Betting on Sports

If you’re interested in learning about sports betting, there’s hardly been a better time to get started. A wave of legalization has spread across the U.S. since 2018.

There are now 31 live and legal states. Five more states went legal, although they’re not yet operational. 

In 2021, Americans spent over $52.7 billion on sports betting. They’ve wagered $125 billion on sports since legalization began in 2018.

As of September 2022, there are more than 40 legal active sportsbooks in the U.S. 

That’s not counting the billions spent at offshore gambling sites.

Sports betting and the online gambling industry continues to thrive. 

Consider these three basic strategies before betting on sports.

Set a Budget (Bet Only What You Can Afford to Lose)

To begin with sports betting, you’ll want to set a budget. Make sure you bet only what you can afford to lose.

Gambling is a form of entertainment. Setting a budget helps to cut losses and protect your winnings. Your budget might be daily, weekly, or monthly limits.

You should also base your budget on the sports you want to bet on. For example, say you want to spend anywhere from $50 to $250 per week on NFL games. 

The best way to stick to your budget is to maintain your bankroll. Bet anywhere from 1% – 5% of your bankroll to stay within your budget. 

With a $200 bankroll, you can place $2 – $10 wagers. To boost your bets, try expanding your bankroll. 

Choose a Sportsbook That Suits Your Bankroll and Betting Style

There are many online sportsbooks to choose from. You’ll want to find one that suits your bankroll and betting style.

You’ll also need to consider a simple payment method for your deposits. Betting on sports using Cash App is a great option for beginners. 

The best sports bettors open accounts at more than one sportsbook. That way, you can find the best line for your wagers. 

For example, say you want to bet on the Thursday Night Football game in Week 8. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are at home against the Baltimore Ravens. 

Here are Bovada’s current moneyline odds for the game: 

  • Baltimore Ravens (EVEN)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-120)

Using a sports betting calculator, you’ll see that -120 equals an implied probability of 54.55%. 

Here are BetMGM’s current moneyline odds: 

  • Baltimore Ravens (-105)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-115)

At -115, implied probability dips to 53.49%.

Bovada’s -120 line might pay $8.33 for a $10 wager. At BetMGM, a -115 line may pay $8.70. 

You’d get a higher payout at BetMGM. 

That might seem like a minor detail. Spread that strategy out for an entire season to maximize your winning potential. 

Learn About Betting Lines

The moneyline bet is the easiest way for beginners to wager on sports. Consider point spread and total (over/under) bets. 

The previous sportsbooks offer the same spread for the Ravens at Bucs. Place your bets early in the week to get the most favorable lines for your wagers. 

Here’s a look at Bovada’s current spread: 

  • Baltimore Ravens +1.0 (-105)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers -1.0 (-115)

The Bucs are the favorite, while the Ravens are the underdog. For the Bucs to cover the spread, they’d need to win by at least two points. 

Here’s an example of a potential push (tie) for the point spread: 

  • Baltimore Ravens – 26
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 27

Add that point spread in, and you’d get a tie score. That means your bet would get returned. 

For the Ravens to cover, they’d need to win the game. At -105, that’d be a $9.52 payout for a $10 wager. 

Here’s a better spread to consider:

  •  Denver Broncos +2.5 (-110)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars -2.5 (-110)

The Ravens-Bucs point spread might have looked like this earlier in the week. The Jags are the favorite at home. To cover, they’d need to win by a field goal. 

For the Broncos to cover, they’d need to come within two points or win outright. If the Broncos lose to the Jags by two points, that extra half-point will win them the spread. 

Establish a better understanding of the game by learning about betting lines. 

That’s how you’ll become a better and more successful sports bettor. 


Allow yourself some time to learn about sports betting. There are many strategies to consider. The best ones come from experience. 

Professional sports bettors aim to win at least 55% of their bets. Winning a little more than half your wagers helps to cover the juice. 

Betting on favorites means you pay a small part of your wager to the sportsbook. 

If you gamble on a few underdogs and it pays off, you’ll get closer to that 55% or above. 

Remember that sports betting should be fun. Take breaks whenever necessary and leave your emotions on the sidelines. 

Learn more about offshore betting sites and reviews at SBS.

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