The Basic Concepts of “How to Bet on Sports”
If you navigate to a sportsbook website right now, you’ll notice there are hundreds of fields with who-knows-what numbers.
You’ll find a settings menu where you can dial in your bet slip settings. You can browse through various sports and the offered markets.
The bottom line is, a sportsbook website is just as intimidating as it can be for the newcomers in betting. But if we eliminate all the chaos around it and break it down to the basics, we’re left with a few concepts like odds, teams, and markets. If you understand what these 3 aspects mean, you’ll learn how to bet online like it’s a walk in the park.
So, before we actually go into our how to bet guide, let’s sum up what these 3 core ideas of sports betting mean.
How to Bet on Sports: Understanding Odds
Odds are the fundamentals of any bet. The money you place is associated with the odds and so are the winnings you generate. There are 3 main formats for odds, all of them mean the same thing but the representation is different. In Canada, you’re most likely to come across decimal odds so we’re going to stick to it.
The odds refer to the amount you can win against your bet. At the same time, it projects an approximation of likely the outcome is. Canadian punters prefer decimal odds because it’s the easiest to understand and apply. It’s a direct multiplier to your stake.
Teams in sports betting refer to the parties for the bet. When you learn how to bet on sports, you’ll notice that a lot of different teams participate in a single event. At the same time, teams signify individual sports like tennis and golf.
Remember, “team” is not a glossary in the betting industry, it’s just a concept that distinguishes the 2 parties in a match.
Sports betting markets are where the magic happens. A “market” in betting is an outcome you can place your money on. If it’s a hockey match and you place money on your favourite player to score first, that’s a market. Or, you wager in favour of your home team winning, that’s another market.
Any sport can have lots of markets and they can vary quite drastically from bookmaker to bookmaker. Usually, there are a few common markets that all bookmakers offer. Outright, over/under, points spreads, etc. belong in that category. Other markets are often different at different betting sites in Canada.
How to Bet: Understanding Favorites and Underdogs
Now that you know about odds and teams in sports betting, we start our how to bet on sports guide with a bang.
The first concept we’re targeting is the age-old rivalry between the favourites and the underdogs. In any sports match, be it hockey, football, tennis, golf, or anything else, there will be 2 participants. One of them is going to be the favourite and the other one will be the underdog. The greater the difference in skills between the teams, the greater the difference in odds. Speaking of odds, you can identify which team is the favourite and which team is the underdog just by looking at the odds.
The decimal odds represent how much you can you’ll win against your stake. If the odds are 2.50, it means you’ll win $250 if you wager $100 on the market. So, you make a $150 profit. Now, if we introduce another team into the mix with 3.50 odds, it means you can win $350 from the bet where $250 is your profit.
Now, if the 2 teams were to face each other at 2.50 and 3.50 odds, which one do you think is the favourite? The team with 2.50 odds, of course.
Because you win less for the same bet on this team. This is the more likely outcome when you learn how to bet on sports. If you study the sport and the team statistics, you can determine it beforehand. So can the sportsbooks. That’s why favourites have relatively short odds while the underdogs have longer odds.
Now, we’ve used the decimal odds as the example but the same principle applies to both American and fractional odds. In American odds, there’ll be a minus (-) sign along with the odds on the favourite. That’s just how the punters in the US determine their bets.
The Simplest of its Kind: Moneyline/Straight UP/Outright
In pre-match betting (where you decide your bets before the match starts), moneyline is the simplest type of market.
Also known as straight up or outright, this market focuses on which party will win the match. It can be a team or a player. The odds are relatively straightforward when you learn how to bet on sports in Canada. Also, moneyline bets tend to have longer odds than other markets.
For obvious reasons, this is the favourite market for the majority of the punters. It’s simple and it’s easy to determine. If you bet on a hockey match between Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators, it’s easy to determine who’ll win, right?
All you have to do is place your money and wait for the match to end.
Our Favorite: The Over/Under
Also known as totals, over/under is a great market for bettors of all levels. This is a universal market and pretty much all Canadian bookmakers offer it.
This is going to be a valuable lesson for your journey to learn how to bet on sports. In over/under betting, the bookmaker determines a score for a match before its played. The market pretty much applies to all sports so it really doesn’t matter which one we use for the example.
If it’s a hockey match, the over/under prediction will be in goals. The same goes for football. For tennis, the prediction may be on points, games, or sets. The bottom line is, over/under bets apply to any sport that uses a scoring system. The idea is that you place a bet on either under the bookmaker’s prediction or over it. For example, if a hockey match over/under prediction is 5.5 goals for the match, you bet on “the final score will be lower than 5.5” or “the final score will be over 5.5”.
Now, you might be confused with the decimal place on the goal because goals are always integers. It’s done to make sure that the final score is always over or under the prediction. Otherwise, you might tie with the prediction and it’ll complicate the whole thing. There’s no easier way to explain what over/under betting is. We sincerely hope that you’ve learned something new for your how to bet online journey.
Points Spread: The Art of Betting Mastery
If moneyline betting is the simplest approach to betting in Canada, points spread is the most complicated one. In fact, it’s true for sports betting markets all over the world.
There are a lot of parameters that go into. If you master the points spread market, you can officially claim that you know how to bet on sports.
The primary idea of the market is bridging the gap between the favourite and the underdog by “spreading” out the score. Before the match start, each team gets a spread value from the bookmaker. The favourite team gets a minus (-) before the spread to indicate the spread. It’s not to be confused with American odds. It’s not the odds, it’s the spread. For example, if the Toronto Maple Leafs get a -5 spread on a match against Ottawa Senators, it primarily means Toronto is the favourite. Now, if you place your money in favour of Toronto, it must win the match but at least 5 goals or more.
At the same time, Ottawa Senators also got a spread which is +5. It indicates how far behind Ottawa can finish the match. If you put your trust in Ottawa, all it has to do is not lose by more than 5 goals. As you can see, which team or player actually wins the game doesn’t matter for points spreads. All that matters is whether the individual scores are within the spreads bracket or not.
How to Bet on Sports at Canadian Bookmakers?
That’s quite a broad-spectrum question you’ve asked there. Betting is a complex activity before you learn how to actually do it. Although there are hundreds of aspects that bettors must consider, we can boil it down to a few pointers.
Placing a Bet
Every bookmaker has something known as a “bet slip”. You don’t need to sign up to see how it looks. Just go into any sportsbook website and you should find it somewhere on the homepage. Every bet you select from the menu will be added to this bet slip.
Of course, to use the bet slip, you need a real account with the bookmaker first. That’s the first thing you should do after you learn how to bet on sports. If you’re confused about which bookmakers to go for, our website has plenty of lists based on unique characteristics. Once you log in, browse through the sports library to pick an event. It can be anything as long as the site is accepting the bets. You can see the odds and all offered markets by simply clicking on the event as well.
Finally, when you click to learn how to bet on a market, it’ll be added to your bet slip. From there, you can decide whether you want to add any more selections to your bet or not. If you go over 4, it becomes an accumulator or the infamous ACCA bet. You can always stick to singles, doubles, or trebles.
After you’re certain of your selections, you need to decide how much you want to bet. Of course, it’ll depend on the offered odds and how confident you are with them.
How Much to Bet
Determining how much to bet on a market is a real dilemma for the majority of new punters. It’s also one of the biggest challenges when you learn how to bet.
The best way to approach this challenge is to look at your bankroll first. It’ll always come down to how much you afford to lose from your bankroll. As a rule of thumb, we always discourage punters to use any money they can’t afford to lose.
Because at the end of the day, betting requires the element of luck no matter how proficient you are in the craft. Unless you can know for sure what the outcome will be, you always stand the chance for a loss.
Ideally, experts advise using between 1% to 5% of the bankroll for each bet. The initial bankroll is however much you’ve deposited into your account. If it’s a $100, you should stick to $1-$5 bets. Some experts even advise to make it for 1 game but we think it’s a little too low for individual markets.
Another important aspect to consider is how many selections you’re going for. If you go with ACCA bets or parlays, all of the outcomes must be true for it to be successful. If you’re coming into the betting space just know and still learning how to bet online, it’s best to avoid the multi-selection bets.
How to Bet on Sports: Live Betting Takes the Win
Live betting has gradually proved itself to be a sustainable betting practice over the last few years. Before live betting was a thing, the only type of sports betting was pre-match betting.
Pre-match betting is where you place the bets before a match rolls out. The bookmakers call all bets off at some point. From there, you have to live with whatever the outcome of the match is. If it goes in your favour, you win the bet. If it doesn’t, you lose. The whole idea of live betting is to change it. Also known as in-play betting, this phenomenon allows the punters to bet on new outcomes in real-time! As a match unfolds, whatever the outcome may be, the odds will adjust accordingly.
Many bookmakers even allow early cashouts during a match to minimize losses. If you see that a match is not going the route you thought it would, you can settle your bets before it’s too late.
Sounds a lot like the stock market, doesn’t it?
Compare Before You Settle Down
Interestingly, there’s an abundance of “best” betting sites in Canada. Every one of them claims to be the best.
But the very definition of “best” doesn’t allow that to happen. So, what can you do as a Canadian punter?
Your job is to compare the odds, live betting features, sports library, offered markets, etc. at more than 1 bookmaker at a time to find the best one for you. It’s not necessary that what you find best will also be the best for another punter.
As a rule of thumb, you should opt for the longest odds without compromising security, functionality, or anything else that matters to you.
The Importance of Self Reflection in Learning How to Bet
It might sound too philosophical to many of you, but hear us out. If you want to enjoy the trait of sports betting, you must be aware of your strengths and weaknesses.
Unlike the online casino industry, betting is not entirely based on luck. You can have significant input in the matter.
For example, it’s up to you which sport you want to bet on, what markets you want to go for, and how much you want to spend. If you don’t know the sport very well or don’t understand how the odds work, you can’t expect to win, let alone enjoy it! So, you need to dedicate a lot of hours in research to find the sport that resonates the most with you. Unfortunately, this is the phase where many new punters realize that betting is not for them. They just can’t stick to the immense research that’s required.
Our advice to you is exactly what Socrates said, Know Thyself.
FAQ: How to Bet on Sports Online in Canada
In retrospect, it’s relatively simple. You need a valid betting account and you need to understand what sports betting entails. The more you study, the more options will unlock for you. The sky is often the limit.
Odds are one of the fundamentals of sports betting. It projects the likelihood of a team/player winning as well as how much the punters will win if the bet works. There are 3 major types of odds. American (Money line), English (Fractional), and Decimal. In Canada, punters are more comfortable with decimal odds. Hence, the majority of bookmakers stick to decimal odds.
Well, that’s an impossible predicament. But it’s still possible if you get no deposit bonuses from the betting sites in Canada. Otherwise, you can’t bet for free as sports events don’t offer demo markets.
If you’ve seen the odds, they look like (-150) or (+200). The digits might be anything but there will always be the (+) and (-). The (-) indicates the favourite while the (+) indicates the underdog.
(-150) means you must wager $150 to win $100 in profits. And (+150) means you can win $150 from a 100 wager.
Once you’ve gathered some experience under your belt, you can start experimenting with the strategies. There are plenty of them including Martingale, Fibonacci, D’Alembert, and whatnot! But always keep in mind that a betting strategy is never a guarantee for a win.
Wrapping Up the How to Bet on Sports Guide
Learning how to bet is one of the best things you can do if you have a passion for sports and betting separately. It’s a great way to pass your time while making some money on the side (hopefully). It’s a relatively complex industry when compared to online casinos. So, the learning curve is a little steep.
But we’ve tried our best to include all the basic concepts of betting in one place. If you’ve understood the discussion, you are now ready to try your luck in betting.