What is Sports Betting?

Sports betting is the act of predicting the outcome of a sporting event. It is a hugely popular past-time in many countries around the world and it encompasses a number of different sports. The most popular sports for wagering are: football, horse racing, basketball and hockey.

Sports Betting Online

There are a number of operators who offer customers the chance wager on a possible outcome with a price that they believe reflects the probability of said outcome. The chances will be reflected in the Odds and these can take many different forms: Decimal (Australia), Fractional (UK) or Moneyline (USA).

The operators are known as bookmakers, bookies or online sportsbook and there are a number of different options for those who wish to place a wager. One of the most appealing aspects of sports betting is the opportunity to outsmart the bookmaker. It can often seen as a head-to-head battle between yourself and the bookie. (here Sport betting definition from wikipedia)


Placing a Bet

Before you place a bet, you must pick an outcome. Most sporting events will have two outcomes, giving you a 50/50 chance of success however the odds won’t always be reflective if one of the two participants are deemed stronger than the other.

In sports such as soccer, there are three possible outcomes; Home Win, Draw or Away Win. In horse racing, there could be multiple different outcomes depending on the number of runners but the odds will always reflect this.

Every sportsbook will price up the event days in advance and the traders will look at aspects such as current form, player injuries and suspensions and head-to-head record before offering a price to customers. Odds will also change depending on the amount of bets placed. The price will be reduced if there is significant interest in one particular team or player. 

Betting is essentially making a prediction and being confident enough to place money on it. If you are successful, you will see your stake returned with interest.

You can find review of bookmakers in the internet. For example here: sportsbookreview, top100bookmakers, BettingZebra



All sportsbooks will offer prices on a number of sporting events and the amount of money you place on a selection should depend on your confidence. If you feel confident that your bet will win, you are likely to increase your stake.

There are often minimum stakes on some bets, for example in the UK, you will need to place a minimum 10p on a bet.

Once you have selected your bets, you can choose your stake. Wagers which involve more than one selection (multiples, accumulators, parlays etc) tend to require smaller stakes as they will produce greater returns if successful.



Unlike wagering at a casino, the probability of winning is only estimated by the bookmakers. Every event is live and therefore unpredictable. Better teams tend to win more often but occasionally, they underperform. One horse may be faster than the rest of the field but it may find its route to the finish blocked off.

The bookmakers will have a good understanding of the probability of a bet winning but it isn’t necessarily as straightforward as the best teams or players winning every single time. That is part of the fun.

Odds of 2.00 (1/1 in the UK) imply that it has a 50% chance of winning and if you place a £10/$10 wager on this selection, it would return £10/$10 plus your stake (£/$10 + £/$10 = £/$20). The greater the odds, the less chance of winning you have, according to the bookmaker.


Calculating the Odds

It is fairly straightforward to calculate your odds. Using the fractional and decimal format, you will be able to determine your chance your success.

For example:

1/1 (2.00) is calculated as 1 divided by (1+1) = 0.50 which implies a 50% chance of success

4/1 (5.00) is calculated as 4 divided by (4+1) = 0.20 which implies at 20% chance of success


Variety of Sports

Bookmakers will always place their most popular sports towards the top of their website but you can place a wager on virtually any sport nowadays. Whether you’re a football fan or you have a keen interest in alpine skiing, there is always something to bet on.

Sports such as golf, tennis, horse racing and rugby are all very popular wagering events and these can easily be located on the book-makers homepage. Every sport will have different terms and a number of alternative options. For example, you can bet on a horse to finish in the top three or on a golfer to finish in the top ten of any given tournament.


Appeal of Sports Betting

Sports betting is hugely appealing and if you have a good working knowledge of a sport, it is possible to make a decent profit out of wagering. It takes a great deal of discipline and control to be profitable but many bettors are able to enjoy regular success.

Most people wager on sports regularly and it is a great way of following all of the action. Outsmarting the bookmakers is hugely satisfying and it’s now easier than ever before to place a wager on your favorite sports.

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