What is online sports betting?

Most online casino players will have come across the term ‘sports betting’ before, even if they have never tried it themselves. Today, we will be talking about what sports betting entails and how to get involved.

What is sports betting?

At its foundation, sports betting is simply the placing of a wager on the outcome of a sporting event. Two teams or individuals are pitted against each other and the bettor bets money on one side winning the game or match. Simple!

Football (soccer, for our friends across the pond) is a hugely popular sport for betting but many other sports are available too, including American football, boxing, basketball, hockey and others.

Non-athletic events can also be wagered on. Anything from reality television show contests to changing interest rates to the outcomes of national elections frequently appear as wagering options. Non-human events like horse racing and greyhound racing are also included.

What are odds?

Perhaps the trickiest part of getting involved in sports betting is understanding how odds work. Simply put, odds are an indication of a bet’s chance of winning.

There are three ways of presenting odds: American odds, fractional or UK odds and decimal or European odds.

American sportsbooks most often use American odds, which will look like this: -110. This odds system works by showing the bettor how much they would have to bet in order to win $100. In this case, they would have to bet $110.

As an example – the Chicago Bulls are -110 to win an upcoming NBA game. If you had to bet $110 on the Bulls and they win the game, you would receive $100 in winnings in addition to your original $110, resulting in a total of $210.

British bookmakers use fractional odds. These odds show the net total the bettor can expect to win, relative to their stake.

For example: Crystal Palace are due to play an English Premier League match this weekend and are given 5/1 odds. This means that a gambler betting £20 on Crystal Palace will receive 5/1 x £20 = £100 if their team wins, plus their original £20 stake back.

Decimal odds are often used in Europe, Canada and Australia. They are quite easy to understand as they involve a little less maths. Decimal odds are equivalent to the decimal value displayed by fractional odds plus 1.

An example: You bet on the New Zealand All Blacks winning an upcoming rugby union match. In fractional odds, the even-money odds would be displayed as 1/1. In decimal odds, however, it would be displayed at 2.00 – that’s 1.00 (the original stake) in addition to the 1.00 even-money bet. Winners will take home 2.00 times their original wager.

Where can I play?

A number of online casinos have a sports betting section available and several independent sites offer just sports betting. The latter are often the online presence of land-based bookmakers, which are immensely popular in the UK. The term ‘sports book’ is sometimes used to indicate the sports betting options a site offers.

Below is a selection of online casinos that also offer sports betting options.

8 Casinos with sports books

Last updated: 13 Nov 2019

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