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When figuring out how to bet online, one must first understand how sports betting works. This isn’t overly difficult, but is the essential groundwork needed to place winning bets. These basics should get you started.

Spread Betting

Spreads are the way that oddsmakers level the playing field in sporting events, by allocating a point value to each team. The favorite will have points subtracted from their total, while underdogs will have points added to their total, and your mission is to determine which side you want to wager on with that positive or negative value attached to your selection.

Moneyline Betting

Moneylines are the way to bet on sporting events without a point spread, where your goal is to pick the straight up winner of a game. The amount you have to wager varies based on the odds of the game, and whether you choose the favorite or the underdog, but this can be an easier task than betting against the spread.


The favorite is the team or figure that has been deemed the most likely to win a game or other competition. As a result of being seen as the most likely to come out on top, you have to wager more on the favorite to win your desired amount of money. In a spread betting situation, the favorite is the team with points subtracted from their total.

A challenge associated with betting favorites on the moneyline is finding value, as betting large amounts to win small amounts may not be worth the risk and can be an exercise in diminishing returns in many cases.


Underdogs are the opposite of favorites, in that they are seen as the team less likely to win. If you haven’t already noticed, everything in sports betting has an opposite reaction on the other side, which is how sports betting works. The underdog will be less likely to win, but you don’t have to wager as much money in order to win your desired dollar amount, and you will have points added onto your total when you play an underdog against the spread.

Understanding how online sports betting works can be a challenge, but the right mix of skill and discipline can make it a very profitable endeavor for both casual and experienced bettors alike. Here is a handy guide to betting online, filled with tips and important things to remember before placing your bets online.

Choose Your Sports Wisely

The prospect of sports betting online can be an exciting one, given the sheer number of options available to you for wagering at any given time. But specializing in a small number of sports can be more profitable in the long run than wagering on everything you can when you bet online.

The key to understanding how to bet online is to stick to sports you know and knew before you started wagering, as you will tend to make more informed decisions in those sports than you would the others. If you can do a good job of identifying these sports and being honest with yourself about the sports in which you are weaker, you give yourself a better chance to succeed long term.

Manage Your Bankroll

Bankroll management is arguably the most important part of how online sports betting works and the number one lesson to learn when finding out how to bet online. If you are responsible with your finances while sports betting online, just like in any other aspect of life, you will give yourself a clear path to success.

Many less experienced sports bettors follow up their losing online sports bets with bigger bets, in an attempt to regain what they lost with their previous selection. That practice is known as tilting, and is the easiest way to make a small loss into a need to reload your account. Instead of putting yourself at risk by tilting, set a number to wager on each game, and stick to it. Having wagers of a consistently sized unit makes the skill of the bettor the star of the show, rather than needing to hope that your large sized bets outperform your smaller ones.

Know Which Stats Matter

Using statistics to your advantage is essential to success when sports betting online. That is a given, but the key isn’t just to use statistics to win. The key is to know which statistics are valuable and which statistics you can ignore to efficiently use your time and properly analyze as many games as possible to maximize profits.

For example, in the NFL, many inexperienced players cite per game statistics when making their selections, even though that metric is inherently flawed. Per game statistics in football can be altered by a team jumping out to a lead early and running out the clock the rest of the way, or needing to make up a large deficit by throwing all game long, or any number of things that would affect the tempo a team chose to employ over the course of a game.

Instead, it would be smarter to use per play statistics to evaluate football games, as each individual play is less likely to be altered by tempo, and is more representative of a team’s ability to execute its game plan. There are valuable stats in every sport, and less valuable stats, and what sets the best online bettors apart from the rest of the pack is their ability to judge which stats fall into which of those categories.

Don’t Bring Your Feelings into sports Betting Online

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you love the Arizona Cardinals. You watch all of their games, and listen to talk radio shows about them, and you just can’t get enough of the Arizona Cardinals. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but there is when you bring that love of your team into your online betting.

While there’s nothing wrong with wagering on your favorite team, it’s unrealistic to expect to have a neutral and unbiased view of that team or the one they are playing against. It’s just human nature to expect more of the team you identify with, and that’s why staying away from your favorite team’s games is usually the smart thing to do. That’s why professional bettors either stay away from their favorite teams or don’t have favorite teams to begin with.

If you follow the above pieces of advice, you will be well on your way to building a nice bankroll by betting online.