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Sports betting is one of the oldest pastimes in the world. Betting on fights, sports matches and races has occurred for hundreds of years throughout the world. Some bets were made among friends, while others were made through professional services. Bookmaking moved from an underground business to betting shops in Europe in the 20th century.
Sports betting moved to the Internet in the 1990’s. It all started on January 17, 1996 when Intertops accepted the first online sports wager. It has since exploded into a business worth well into the billions of dollars every year.
The Internet gave access to parts of the world that never had easy availability to sports betting. That changed the industry forever.
Sports betting has become more mainstream and with that comes deals like the IOC and Genius Sports who have agreed to track betting on the summer olympics.
There are many ways to bet on a sporting event. The most common option is to pick an outright winner. Handicapping with a point spread is another way to make a wager. There are different methods of combining this action.
A money line is a way of taking an outright winner in a contest. This can be in a team sporting event, fight, tennis match or any other game where there is just one winner.
This type of wager is made with a money line. Money lines can apply to a straight winner or act as a handicap on a point spread, run line or puck line.
There are two ways that money lines are published:
Most online sportsbooks will publish odds in the American format. This is where one side has a plus and the other side a minus that is based on $100 increments. For example, one side will be -200 and the other side +170.
The minus side, which is the favorite in this example, would need to lay $200 for every $100 the player would like to win. The plus side would bet $100 for every $170 that the player wants to win. The difference is the vigorish the house wins for accepting the wager.
Odds in European sportsbooks are published differently that U.S. books. These odds show as decimals that pertain to a $100 bet. The total decimal number displays what a player would receive by betting $100. This number includes the $100 in the original wager. The decimal odds cannot ever be below 1.0.
In the -200 example, the decimal would show as 1.5. That means a player that bets $100 would receive $50 on the win for a total of $150. The +170 would equate to 2.7. That is the $170 won plus the $100 original wager.
A point spread is a handicap for an American football or basketball game. Some alternative lines in baseball and hockey use this. In baseball, it is called a run line. In hockey, it is called a puck line.
American Football and basketball games often use point spreads alongside money lines. This gives two ways to make a bet.
The point spread shows how many points a team must win by or lose less than by for the ticket to get paid. For example, a favorite that has a -3.5 point spread must win by four points for that side to cover the spread. An underdog that is +3.5 gets paid if that team loses by fewer than four points.
Point spreads may be whole numbers or half points. A whole number can tie. When that happens, all tickets push the same way that a player and dealer 20 would in blackjack. Half points eliminate the push possibility.
Most point spreads require a -110 lay using American odds. This means that a player must bet $110 for every $100 he hopes to win. That same line is published as 1.91 using decimal odds.
American football spreads around 3 and 7 may vary from this number. For example, it is common to see a -3 favorite also require a -115 or -120 lay. This is done because moving a number on or off of three is a major difference in American football.
Alternative run line and puck lines will most often be plus or minus 1.5. This means that the favorite must win by two runs or goals.
There is also a money or decimal line tied to the alternative line. If the underdog only loses by one, then that side wins these alternative lines. It is likely that the side receiving the +1.5 will be the money line favorite. The side laying 1.5 runs or goals will be plus money. That is because winning by two in baseball and hockey is extremely difficult. A very strong team would have to play a very weak one for the 1.5 favorite to also lay money.
Totals are also referred to as over/unders. A total is the number of points scored in a match. In boxing, it means the total number of rounds a match goes.
The points from both sides count in a total. There are alternative lines where the points of just one side count towards the number. Totals may push if they are on a whole number.
A look at sports’ over/unders:
A parlay is when a bettor buys a ticket that wins based on two or more outcomes. This can be money lines, point spreads, totals, alternative lines or a combination of all.
Plays that are correlated may not be placed on the same parlay card. For example, a money line bet on one team and taking the point spread on the same game is not permitted. A total with one of those is typically permitted.
The house edge on parlays is well above 10 percent. The more teams that are involved in a parlay, the higher the payout. Higher payouts also equal a higher house edge. Parlays are typically thought of to be sucker bets because of the high juice charged by the sportsbook.
All portions of a parlay ticket must win. A tie will drop the card’s payout by one team. Some parlay cards disclose that ties lose.
Teasers are available in American football and basketball. A teaser includes two or more outcomes. The bettor receives points in his favor. Football teasers can be 6, 6.5, 7, 10 and 14, depending on what the sportsbook offers. Basketball teasers are typically 4, 4.5 and 5 points.
A bettor picks at least two outcomes on a teaser and adds the number of points in the wager to his team’s point spread. A player that takes two three-point underdogs in a six-point teaser would move the line to nine for those teams. If the bettor took the favorite, it would move the favorite from -3 to +3.
All parts of a teaser must win. A tie typically drops the number of plays on a card down by one. Some teaser cards force ties to lose. This will be disclosed on the card.
Pleasers are reverse teasers. This is where a player gives the house seven points in American football or five points in basketball. Two or more teams must be taken.
For example, a team that is a seven-point favorite in American football would move to a fourteen-point favorite on a pleaser. This puts the player at a massive disadvantage but also gives the player huge payouts if the long shots hit.
The house edge is often 40 percent or higher on pleaser cards. Ties typically lose.
Futures bets are when a player picks an eventual winner in a field. This may be the winner of a division, league, championship, golf event or tennis tournament.
There is typically just one winner in a futures bet. The house edge on these bets is typically about 15 percent.
An in-play wager is when a player bets on an event that is already in progress. A bettor can enter the action during breaks in play, typically television timeouts. Bettors use this to get into action when late to a match or to hedge a bet.
A propositional bet, often called a prop for short, is a wager that is exotic. It may be a wager on an individual player’s statistics. It may be a play between two athlete’s performances. It can also be the number of points scored by a team.
For major events like the Super Bowl, it can be as odd as the coin toss, halftime show performance, amount of money bet on the game, or statements made by the announcers.
The house edge of propositional bets is often double or triple that of a straight bet. This is due to the lower volume of action.
Elections and entertainment bets are exotic wagers that are similar to futures bets. This is where a bettor picks a winner in a major election or popular reality television show.
Virtual sports betting is a computer generated event with the winner decided by an algorithms.
The old school way to make a sports bet is to go into a betting shop. These are on many street corners in Europe. They are also spread in most Nevada casinos.
The bettor looking to make a straight bet on single events can see the prices for games on the board or on sheets provided by the sports desk. A bettor should find the three- or four-digit number by the bet and tell that to the ticket writer along with the amount he would like to wager. This process is the same for in-play and futures bets.
Parlays, teasers, pleasers and other exotic bets have a different procedure. There are often cards throughout the sportsbook. These have the list of all the events available to put in a multiple-outcome ticket. These will be attached to a bubble form. A player uses a pencil to mark the sides he wants to choose for the ticket. The ticket writer simply puts this card into a machine that writes the card.
Whatever method of placing a bet your local shop uses, there is one very important part of the transaction. Always make sure that the ticket is correct before leaving the betting window. An incorrectly written ticket can only be fixed immediately after the transaction is made.
Sports betting is easily accessible to players in most countries. The procedure for opening an account at an internet sportsbook varies by region. Most European countries’ sportsbooks ask a player his name, age, and address. Software verifies the player’s identity and then permits a deposit to be made.
The minimum age in most countries is 18. Some countries, especially where sports betting is not regulated, require no such verification process. European players and those in many other countries outside the U.S. can deposit funds without ever setting foot inside a betting shop.
Nevada players have a different procedure. A Nevada online and mobile sports bettor must make an account in a sportsbook. This requires a player to be at least 21 years of age. A valid photo ID is required. Anybody of age can create a Nevada sports account. A Nevada residency is not mandated.
Once an account is created and funded, the process of making an online or mobile sports bet is simple. A player logs into his sports account with a username and password.
The next step is to choose a type of bet. The options online typically include straight, parlay, teaser, in-play or future. Some exotic bets like elections or entertainment may also be options, depending on the country where the wager originates.
The next step is to choose sides within a sport. This is as simple as clicking the corresponding box within the app or website. A player then chooses how much to wager on this. A secondary window will confirm the wager. The app or website then ensures that a player is within the proper jurisdiction to make the wager. Once that process is complete, the bet is booked.
One convenience of online sportsbooks is the ability to make a deposit remotely. This eliminates the nuisance of having to visit a betting shop.
Many online sportsbooks offer a wide variety of deposit methods. The options available depend on the country of the player. Sportsbooks outside of Nevada offer Visa, MasterCard, Neteller, Paypal, Skrill and debit cards common in the local jurisdiction. Some also permit bank transfers. The deposit minimum is often just $5 or $10.
Nevada sportsbooks often require a player to walk into the local shop to make a deposit. The deposit minimum in Nevada is at least $50, but it is common to find books that demand $100, at least when opening an account.
William Hill offers two ways for players in Nevada to deposit without having to visit a sportsbook. There are more than 50 taverns with deposit kiosks. These operate in the same bars where Golden Gaming owns the slot route. The minimum deposit at a kiosk is $5.
William Hill also accepts PayNearMe. This is a cash transfer service similar to Western Union and MoneyGram. A player gets William Hill’s merchant information and goes to a kiosk at any of the 217 7-Eleven convenience stores. The minimum deposit is $20. The maximum is $500.
Station Casinos has a prepaid debit card. This is a carryover from its failed online Ultimate Poker venture. Players may deposit by Visa, MasterCard, Discover or an electronic funds transfer, often referred to in the online gaming world as an eCheck. Credit card deposits will incur a cash advance fee.
Players outside the U.S. may withdraw through any method available for deposits. This includes Visa, MasterCard, Neteller, Skrill, bank transfer and local debit cards.
Nevada players must go to a sportsbook to pick up winnings. The only exception to this is the Station Casinos prepaid debit cards, which can be used at ATMs.
The fees associated with the Station Casinos prepaid debit card equal about $5 per transaction. This may make it worthwhile for these players to go to a sportsbook to pick up the cash, especially since a trip to a cash machine may be required.
A straight bet is where a player picks one side. It wins if that team either covers the point spread or wins outright, depending on whether a money line or point spread wager was made by the player.
A money line is where a bettor picks a team or player to win a match outright. A bettor either chooses the favorite and lays money or takes the underdog and receives more money than was wagered.
A point spread is a handicap applied to a favorite. The team most likely to win lays points, while an underdog gains points. The point spread hopes to find the most likely number that a favorite is predicted to win by in a team sport. Point spreads are often found in American football and basketball. Alternative lines in hockey and baseball use point spreads on 1.5.
A parlay is a bet that includes two or more outcomes. The more teams picked, the higher the payout. All teams in a parlay must win. Ties will lower the payout by one team unless otherwise disclosed by the betting shop.
A teaser is similar to a parlay. Its payouts are lower because a bettor receives extra points to apply to each leg of the teaser. American Football teasers are typically 6, 6.5 or 7 points. Basketball teasers are normally 4, 4.5 or 5 points. A six-point football teaser on a +3 team and +7 team would become +9 and +16, respectively.
Teasers must be at least two teams. Teaser bets are accepted with as many as 10 teams, depending on the shop.
A pleaser is a reverse teaser. This involves a player giving points away from the published line. That number is typically seven. Pleaser cards are often even where ties lose so books will try to place the lines on important numbers. Pleasers are normally available only in American football. Sportsbooks will try to place teaser lines on important numbers like 3, 7, 10 and 14. Ties lose in a pleaser.
A futures bet is where a player makes a wager on a winner of a division, tournament or league.
Many online sportsbooks accept bets on games that are in progress. This is called in-play. Most in-play bets are only accepted when a game is on commercial break. Bettors making these wagers should note that television feeds often run behind the actual event.
Vigorish, often referred to simply as vig or juice, is the price a sportsbook charges for accepting a bet.
The vig on a straight bet of -110 is 4.5 percent.
If the sport exists, you can probably find a sportsbook that will take action on it. In Nevada, it may be difficult to find lines on sports outside of the U.S. that are relatively niche.
Online sportsbooks outside of the U.S. will often take bets on nearly any sports.
European sports bettors must be at least 18 years of age. This is a common minimum age in many other countries. Nevada requires players to be at least 21 years of age.
Sports betting is available on Android apps in most countries outside the U.S. and in the state of Nevada.
Most online sportsbooks outside the U.S. offer iPhone apps. Many Nevada sportsbooks also provide an iOS platform.
Most countries outside the U.S. offer legal sports betting sites. The only one available in Nevada is at Sportconnection.com. That website is operated by Station Casinos.
Nevada is the only state where us online sports betting is legal. Sports betting websites that accept action from other states are illegal and unlicensed.
European sportsbooks like Bet365 accept a variety of credit and debit cards. eWallets, which include Neteller, Skrill, Ukash and Instadebit, are also available as deposit options.
Nevada sportsbooks require bettors to deposit cash in sportsbooks with narrow exceptions. William Hill offers kiosks in more than 50 taverns in Nevada. Cash may also be deposited through PayNearMe at 217 convenience stores under the 7-Eleven flag. Station Casinos offers the Sports Connection prepaid card that accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover and electronic checks.
Station Casinos offers an online sportsbook at Sportsconnection.com. It requires players to have a Cox Communications high speed internet connection.
Nevada sportsbooks use geolocation technology to locate players. William Hill and NV Sportsbooks (operated by South Point) permits players to use wifi connections. This method maps nearby wifi routers and pinpoints the user through Google technology. All other sportsbooks require three cell phone towers that use ping speed to determine a bettor’s location.
Sports Connection is the website used by Station Casinos. Players must have a Cox Communications internet connection. A player that logs into Sports Connection enters into an intranet. Access to the full internet is restricted at this time. That prevents remote logins.
Station Casinos, William Hill, CG Technology, Aliante Casino, Treasure Island, Boyd Gaming, MGM, Wynn and South Point all offer mobile apps to players located in Nevada.
Nevada does not permit wagering on elections.
Nevada does not permit wagering on reality television.
There are only three states, other than Nevada, where sports betting of any type is allowed. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which basically outlawed sports betting in most jurisdictions, grandfathered a few states in:
New Jersey actually passed a law allowing sports betting in the state. However, the state cannot offer sports betting during an ongoing court case. Should New Jersey prevail in the case, the state would be allowed to offer sports betting through New Jersey casinos and tracks immediately.
Several other states have also introduced sports betting bills, but until either 1) NJ prevails in its case, or 2) PASPA is repealed, a sports betting law is not likely to go into effect.