Betting Basics Made Simple


The world of online betting can be challenging to navigate with a language all of its own. Online sportsbooks can take your bet whether you bet on any sport; online wagers can be fun, entertaining, and profitable. At My Top Sportsbooks, we strive to help educate the novice punter and add helpful tips for the seasoned bettor with our useful guide to betting on your favourite sports. Let us at MTS introduce you to online sports betting basics without further delay.

Betting the Favorite vs Betting the Underdog

When online sportsbooks receive the schedule for daily events, they assign two designations, the favorite and the underdog. The favorite is the expected team to win, and the odds appear with a minus sign before the odds. The underdog is the predicted loser, and the odds appear with a plus sign. An example of a recent National Football League game is Buffalo Bills against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Spread, Betting Basics

There are two ways to bet the favorite and underdog; the first betting option is to use points spread. Using spread betting is a bet on the margin of victory when the game is concluded. In the previous example, we used a recent game on the NFL schedule. The Bills were -14 on the points spread, while the Steelers were +14 on the points spread. If you bet on Buffalo, they would have to win by two touchdowns plus one point to make a bet a winner.

The point spread is always adjusted to level the playing field for both teams. In the Buffalo example, the Bills, a strong team in the American Football Conference, are listed as two touchdown deficit based on the lineup. You can bet the spread for many sports – mostly high-scoring sports like the NFL and the NBA.

Moneyline Betting Basics

To bet on a favorite or an underdog, a Moneyline wager can pay out for the better. How it works is you place a bet on your chosen team, and the odds on the payout are calculated on the winning of $100. Here’s how it works, you select a favorite that is -200. In order to win $100, you need to wager $200. Or you can behttps://www.mytopsportsbooks.comt a fraction of money – like betting $20 to win $10 based on the betting line.

Conversely, should you bet on the ‘dog,’ you can see a solid payout. Betting on the underdog and winning that bet works like this. You take a team that is +200, and you receive two times the amount back for every dollar bet. A $100 bet on the underdog returns a payout of $200. Now, if you bet the favorite – -200 – you need to bet $200 for a $100 payout on your wager. You may have noticed that you have to risk more money betting on the favorite, and you would be right. There is a reason for that, and it is called the juice. It is the cut that the book takes from winning and losing bets, also known as the vig or vigorish. Moneyline bets are predominantly for low-scoring games like soccer, ice hockey and baseball.

The Over/Under bet

Another way online sportsbooks and sportsbooks attract action on games is with an over/under bet or game total bet. If the sportsbook has a game total of 100, betting the over to win means the total game score is 101. If you bet on the under to win, the total score must be 99 or less. If the total lands on the number – 100 – it is a push, and all bets are returned to the bettors. Over/under can be used for various bets, not just the score. Bets like Aaron Judge hitting two home runs in game one of the American League Divisional Series, Austin Matthews notching three assists on opening night, or LeBron James dishing out ten assists in a game can be over/under or total bets.

-110 Next to the Bet 

When reviewing the line – odds for a different types of bets for any given game – there are two numbers to be aware of. The first is the points spread – say -7 and the next, say -110. That means if you bet the -7, you need to win by 8 points. The -110 is the price you must bet to win $100 on the spread. If you bet on baseball, you will notice that the favorite and the underdog are listed at -1.5 and +1.5. The vig will be adjusted up or down based on the team’s abilities in any given game. Think about a pitcher having a Cy Young season; the vig would be lower on the underdog.

Betting Basics, Placing Your Bet 

Now you know the terms and so on to making your first bet. Go to your favorite online sportsbook, My Top Sportsbook, find a game and a bet you like, and click on the betting link. Your betting slip will populate, and the only thing left is to determine your wager; then, you submit your bet and are ready to go.

Where to Place a Bet

My Top Sportsbooks has information on the best online sportsbooks available. We have reviewed the best sites for online wagering and recommend them to novice bettors and seasoned gamblers alike.  

How Much Should I Wager?

Sports betting is entertainment, and only the most knowledgeable gamble as an occupation, though not recommended. When spending your hard-earned money, NEVER bet more than you can afford to lose. One type of betting strategy for beginners is called flat-line betting. Flat-lining is betting the same amount on every game played and should be a small portion of your bankroll. If you start with $50, your flat-line bet should be $5 across the board. Using this strategy saves your bankroll when you are taking a beating and sets you up for a good return when winning bets.

Betting Basics, Parlays

parlay is a bet of multiple games – two or more – that will payout more on a win than single-game action. The bets in question must link together, and all the bets must win to create the parlay win. A $20 bet on multiple games will yield a smaller payout than a $20 bet on two or more games. The payout is determined by the number of games bet and the odds of the games. At MTS, we would like to touch on the single-game parlay. You take a bet on the game with multiple options. A points spread, a player to perform better than the oddsmakers think, and a total higher than over/under, and you have a single game parlay. The odds are lower because the parlay would happen sequentially and is favored when risk is priced in.

Prop Bets

Some who like to wager, they need more than point spreads, over/under and a parlay. The proposition bet was built for just such a gambler. A prop bet is a bet that doesn’t correspond to the point spread, Moneyline or total. A prop bet on an NFL game may determine how many catches a wide receiver makes. On a prop bet, you have to pay the price of the bet the same as a point spread bet.

Line Shopping, Look Around

Some sportsbooks will post one number, say Bills -14, and another online sportsbook will post the line at -13.5; the difference is based on the bettors that frequent the book. With the proliferation of online sportsbooks, it is a bettors nirvana. Finding the best odds – in your favor – can return better payouts over time if you can get an extra half-point on every game you wager on. 

Stick to What you Know, and Stay Away From What You Don’t

When you gamble, you are betting hard-earned cash, so you want to max out on any advantage you may have. If you know something about the NFL and not the NBA, you don’t bet on the NBA. If you know prop bets better than point spread, don’t bet on the point spread. Track your wagers over time to help you distinguish what bets you win on and what you don’t.

Get a bet Down with MTS.

When you’re ready to take the plunge and place a wager on a game, look to us at MTS for the best sites for your wager. Read our reviews to source your go-to online betting site and learn what sites to avoid. When you think of the best online sportsbook, it is the bettor who decides. Different sites serve different needs but look for fair odds, bonuses and promotions that match your requirements. May all your bets be winners.

Frank Lorenzo

Frank "Let It Ride" Lorenzo is a sports journalist extraordinaire. Hailing from Greenock in Scotland, Frank has emerged as a true all-rounder with an insatiable love for sports and the markets that accompany them. As a former professional boxer, Frank brings a unique perspective to his sports writing. His firsthand experience in the ring grants him an understanding of the sports industry, infusing his content with an authenticity that sets him apart. From boxing to the explosive world of MMA, his expertise spans across multiple combat sports. But that's not all – he's also a follower of soccer, with a passionate loyalty to the mighty Glasgow Rangers. Frank is a prominent contributor to major betting firms, delivering captivating content that keeps bettors engaged. When he's not busy dissecting the latest sporting events, he's sipping strong coffee, fishing, and basking in the glow of neon lights.