This is a paid guest post.
Sports betting is an increasingly popular pastime, thanks in part to the fact that it has been legitimized by a supreme court ruling and is gradually being embraced across a growing number of US states.
If you have never experienced the thrills and spills of betting on sports before, you might not know where to start. To bring you up to speed before you dive in, here are a few things that every beginner needs to know.
Finding the right site to use
The first hurdle you need to overcome is that there are so many different sites out there that cater to the sports betting crowd, meaning it is difficult to work out which are reputable and respected and which are worth avoiding.
Thankfully you can check this expert list to find and enjoy the finest selection of sports betting websites that will offer you the best experience as well as the widest array of features.
To narrow your list of options further, it makes sense to see what sign-up bonuses are currently being offered by the top sports betting operators. This could help to sweeten the deal and allow you to place a wager or two without risking any of your own cash. You could even take advantage of new player perks at more than one website if you wish.
Setting a budget
The best way to gamble responsibly is to decide how much money you can comfortably afford to lose and use this as your baseline budget.
Establishing limits like this early on will ensure that you can have fun with this pastime, rather than getting in over your head.
Choosing an event to bet on
Modern sports betting sites will be able to offer you a wide variety of options in terms of the wagers they will accept on the competitive events they cover.
As well as mainstream sports like football, basketball and hockey, plenty of operators will also allow you to predict the outcome of more obscure sports, including esports.
While you can pick and choose from any of these events, it makes more sense to bet on a game that you are already intending to watch, or a sport that you actually understand. Without a little bit of knowledge to back up your betting decisions, you will be flying blind and might not have as much fun.
Getting to grips with odds
One of the issues that newcomers to the world of sports betting will encounter is that of interpreting the various odds that are at the heart of this process.
In short, bookmakers will use odds to not only suggest the likelihood that a given outcome will occur, but to show players exactly how much they stand to win if they place a wager on said outcome.
The issue of odds can seem intimidating at first, but there are a few simple ways to understand this. In general the higher the odds, the lower chance you will have of winning and so the bigger the payout will be. Meanwhile lower odds will give you a greater chance of winning, albeit with a smaller payout associated.
Odds can be expressed in various ways, including as fractions or as decimalized figures. Thankfully most book-making sites make things simpler for players by letting them know exactly how much they stand to win based on a specific amount wagered to clear up any uncertainty. Likewise the more you use betting sites, the better acquainted you will become with the way odds work.
Managing your expectations
Keeping a level head when betting on sports is the best way to go about enjoying this hobby. You should not expect to win big with every wager you make, nor opt only for high risk, high reward bets because you have some feeling or intuition about the outcome of an event which has so many other factors at play in determining its trajectory.
The most seasoned sports betting fan in the world will still make the wrong call a surprising amount of the time, so beginners also need to prepare themselves for the reality that they will likely lose just as frequently as they win.
There are some people and organizations out there that will claim to be able to provide you with insider information on sporting events that will allow you to place a bet that has a very high chance of paying out. Such tips may come with a price in their own right, which could be tempting to take.
As with all industries, underhanded practices are present and selling fake tips is a widespread practice that you need to be aware of. Ultimately it is important to bet on sports responsibly and only use the most reputable bookmakers.