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Sports’ gaming has risen in popularity over the last several years. There have been many sports books that have opened around the world. Almost every major hotel and casino now operates a sports book. Off shore countries have seized the opportunity to benefit from this phenomenon. They have significantly improved their economies based on the revenue derived from sports betting.

Sports’ gaming is enjoyed by millions each year. If you’ve never tried sports betting before, this introduction will help you prepare for a unique and exciting experience in sports wagering.

An abundance of betting opportunities are available to players. They vary from two-dollar parlay cards to wagering hundreds of thousands of dollars accepted by some sports books when previous arrangements are made with the house. The standard maximum bet is $5,000.

Sports betting, wagering on races (such as horses and dogs), and poker are the only games of chance open to the gamblers in which the individual is not in direct competition with the casino. In all other games of chance the house has a statistical edge. At the sports book, gamblers can gain a statistical edge on the casino when they can identify the games where the posted line does not accurately reflect the true odds for the game’s outcome.

Wagering on the outcome of a sporting event can tremendously enhance your enjoyment in watching the game. Most casino sports books have satellite hook-ups. Large television screens broadcast various sporting events across the country and around the world. They post frequent scoring updates on the progress of the games.

At each of the sports books you will see a large “Board” listing all of the games available to be wagered on. The lines, odds, and money lines for each game are displayed. Some casinos have a large electronic board that is as sophisticated as any system you would find on Wall Street. Other casinos are not as sophisticated and maintain their boards by hand. On the internet, you enter the sports book web site where you will find the same board with all of the scores, lines, odds, and money lines for each game. The board is the one constant for every casino and web site that maintains a venue for sports wagering.

Sports books will only accept wagers on those sporting events that have been posted on the Board. These events are known as “Board games”. For the most part, NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB events are on the Board. Not all college games are available to be wagered on, most college games are limited to Division I schools. In Nevada you cannot wager on Nevada teams or games being played in the state. On the Internet and in casinos it is common for limited betting on golf, tennis, NASCAR racing, boxing, and other miscellaneous sports.

The greatest advance in sports wagering occurred when the “point spread” became popular. Before the points spread, sports’ gaming was very similar to horse racing and dog racing with very complicated odds.

Another name for the point spread is “the line”. If there is a tie, it is called a “push” and the gambler gets their money back. To prevent pushes the casinos have developed ½ point lines.

Due to the point spread, winning is not determined by who wins the game straight up, but by the final score of the game and which team has covered the spread. If you take the score of the team favored to win and subtract the number of points posted on the board, the team with the most points after this subtraction is the team that wins for betting purposes.

The sports books make money on what is called “vigorish” which is usually 10% of the wager; that is why you risk $11 to win $10, or $110 to win $100. Vigorish represents one of the lowest gaming margins of all wagering propositions available. To break even, a gambler will have to win 52.38% of the time.

The spread on the sporting event is not a prediction by an odds maker on the outcome of a game. Odds are created so that the teams are placed in an equal position and money is put at risk on both sides of the game. If more money is bet on one of the teams, the house runs the risk of losing money if that team were to win. The house adjusts the spread to make sure that wagers are placed on both sides of the spread.

Another betting proposition is wagering on the total points scored during a sporting event. Betting on the total, a gambler looks at the “totals line” on the board and tries to determine whether the total number of points scored (by both teams) during the sporting event will be over or under the totals line posted on the board.

It is possible to place several different wagers on the same event. It is also possible to wager on several events as part of the same bet. This is called a “parlay bet”. To win a parlay bet, all of the events wagered on must win. What makes a parlay bet very attractive to the sports gambler is that the amount won is much higher than just straight line betting, but as the amount to be won is much higher, so is the risk of losing much higher. Payoff rates and pushes are very important in regards to parlay betting. Various houses have different rules regarding these types of bets. It is important that you read the house rules in connection with these types of bets.

A special type of spread bet is the “teaser” bet. The houses offer these very attractive looking point spreads in exchange for a lower payoff. Teasers are ALWAYS a bad bet, based on the lower payoff and the higher risk that is the worst of both worlds. For example, a teaser may offer a very attractive line. Considering the sports gambler puts the same money at risk as a straight bet, they receive a lower payout with the increase risk of a parlay card. However, to the less experienced gambler this type of wagering looks very attractive on its face. The house uses these teasers to attract the less experienced sports gambler under the guise that the teaser is giving the gambler a much better position against the house. Hence the name “teaser”. Remember, the casinos would NEVER do anything that would not be in their best interest.

After reviewing the different types of betting, you must now realize that there are a variety of activities considered in determining each line. Depending on the sporting event the weather, injuries, travel, match up histories, who is the home team, how that team has done historically “against the spread” (ATS), and days off information is essential to be disseminated and analyzed before making an informed decision regarding sports wagering. Moreover, historical results that will determine revenge situations are very important to determine the possible outcome of a game. Further importance must be placed on upcoming schedules, starting players, team vs. player and personal player conflicts.

To determine who will win the game comes down to analyzing all available information. Apply common sense and based on a practical application of all of the information. Hunches, personal loyalties, psychics, and lucky underpants are nice ways to keep the person who wagers on sports in the poor house.

Successful handicappers manage their bankroll first and foremost, and look for those situations where the line does not accurately reflect the possible outcome of the game. There is no question that there are upsets. No amount of handicapping can overcome an upset. However, the true handicapper does not rely on luck to win. Experienced gamblers rely on the information they have been able to gather regarding statistics, trends, weather, home field advantages and match up histories.

The Internet and information superhighway is the best tool for the sports handicapper. Nearly every sports publication and news organization in the world is online. Up to the minute information is available 24/7. All you have to do is know where it is, and the best part is that this information is FREE. You will find that the more time and work you put into your task, the more you will learn and more successful your handicapping will be.

Beware of those pseudo handicappers online with the 900 phone lines. Beware of the so-called “Lock Lines” that tout 65% winners or guarantees, the question to ask is: Over what period of time is that 65% calculated? Further, remember if it is such a “Lock Line” why do you still lose 35% of the time? It does not matter the claim of win percentage, there is still a percentage of loss.

Remember when you wager on sports study as much information as you can, for as far back as you can, in order to find the necessary statistics to develop your handicapping skills and manage your bankroll.

Good Luck!