A Newbie’s Ultimate Guide To Sports Betting

Three guys sitting on a couch watching football
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If you’re a sports fan, why not turn that passion into a fun side hustle?

Sports betting gives you another reason to never miss a Sunday football game again.

Once you learn a few essential tricks and get the hang of it, you could make a full-time income!

But let’s pump the breaks for a second. What if you’re a total beginner?

If you’re new to this, you have nothing to worry about. Our guide will cover everything you need to know about sports betting, from placing your first bet to key industry lingo you need to know.

Let’s begin.

What Is Sports Betting?

To simplify it, sports betting is when you place a wager on the outcome of a sports game. If you’re right, you win more cash.

But if your predictions are wrong, that money goes to the winner. Sports betting could be as simple as betting on the winner of the Super Bowl with your friends each year or predicting the number of strikes the Yankees make in a World Series Game.

Is Sports Betting Legal In Every State?

Before you begin, understand that U.S. sports betting laws are a bit complicated.

Even though the country loosened its federal laws in 2018, each state has its own laws regulating the industry. As of 2023, sports betting is legal in some form in 33 states and DC, while others are still debating the issue.

As a warning, always check your local regulations before you start betting to avoid fines.

How To Place A Sports Bet

Placing a sports bet may seem like a lot to handle for newbies, but you got this! Let’s break everything down into bite-sized steps:

  • Choose Your Sport and Game: Start by picking a sport you’re interested in. For example, if you’re an NBA fan and there’s a game between the NY Knicks and the Miami Heat, place your bet on which one you think will win.
  • Understand the Odds: Each game has different betting odds you should take into account that could impact how much you win based on which team you go with.
  • Choose Your Bet Type: Decide what type of bet you want to place. Depending on your chosen platform, you could bet on the point spread, the over/under, the moneyline, and many others.
  • Place Your Bet: Now that you’ve chosen your bet, enter your stake, lock it in, and watch the game unfold.
  • Collect Your Winnings: If your team won, congrats! Now, go back into your betting platform and wait for your winnings.

And that’s it. You might initially feel overwhelmed, but you’ll place bets like a pro in no time. Just have fun, and never bet more than you can afford to lose!

Sports Betting 101: Main Types Of Sports Bets You Should Know

In sports betting, you’ll have plenty of betting types you can choose from. Here are the main ones to help you get started:


Moneylines are some of the simplest bets you can make with sports betting. If your chosen team wins the game, you win your bet, simple as that.

Most moneylines also have a favorite team and an underdog. While choosing the popular team raises your chances of winning, doing with the underdog could mean a larger payout if the odds are in their favor.


A parlay is a bet that ties together two or more individual wagers for a high payout. But if you want to win the bet, every team you choose must win.

For example, let’s say you’re betting on three football teams for a Superbowl game: the Jets, Giants, and Patriots. Instead of placing three separate bets, you do a single parlay for all three. If they win, the payout is much higher than betting on each separately.

But remember, parlays are a high-risk, all-in type of move. If even one team loses, your entire parlay bet disappears.


Also known as totals, this bet is on the combined total points scored by both teams. You’ll decide if they score above or below based on the game and who’s playing.

Imagine you were watching the final Super Bowl game between the Eagles and the Chiefs. The sportsbook set the over/under at 50.5 points. You’d probably bet the under if you thought it would be a tight game with a solid defense. But if you thought both teams would have high scores against each other, you bet over to be on the safe side.

Point Spreads

A popular betting type for football or basketball games, a sportsbook sets a point spread before a match. It’s up to you to bet on whether the favored team will win by more than the fixed margin or if the underdog loses by less or wins outright.

Suppose the Patriots are playing the Seahawks, and the latter has a point spread of 7.5 points in their favor. If you bet on the Seahawks, they’ll need to win by 8 points or more for you to win the bet. But if you bet on the Patriots, they need to win the game or lose by 7 points or fewer for you to win your bet.

How To Choose A Sports Betting Platform

Many sports betting platforms are out there, and each one offers unique features, signup bonuses, and more. Here are a few trusted beginner-friendly ones you should look into:

1. FanDuel Sportsbook

Legal in 19 states: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming

America’s #1 sportsbook. New members get $200 in bonus bets guaranteed when betting just $5. Both new and returning users get $100 off NFL Sunday Ticket (YouTube)

2. BetMGM Sportsbook

Legal in 21 States:Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Plus, Washington, D.C.

Backed by MGM Resorts International, the casino giant, and Entain, a gaming powerhouse. New members get up to $1,000 back in Bonus Bets if your first bet loses!

3. Caesars Sportsbook

Legal in 19 states: Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Plus, Washington, D.C.

Backed by Caesars Entertainment, Inc., the largest casino-entertainment company in the U.S. New members get $250 back in Bonus Bets after placing a first bet of $50.

Limited time only! This $250 Bonus Bets NFL Kickoff offer will end on Tuesday, September 19, 2023.

4. DraftKings

Legal in 21 states: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming

The official sports betting partner of the NFL, but they also have a huge range of sports to be on, like the others. New members get $150 in Bonus Bets if your first bet wins.

Regardless of your platform, always look at their safety features, offer reasonable odds, and have a simple cash-out system. Also, check and see if they offer extra bonuses for signing up!

Final Thoughts On Sports Betting

Most people place bets to spice up their Sunday sports game. But if you’re serious about it, take it one step at a time and never bet all your money in one go.

Sports are also unpredictable, so no one can completely predict how a game can turn out—even the most seasoned gambler.

But if a little risk-taking doesn’t stop you, sports betting could turn your favorite hobby into some extra cash.

Don’t forget to understand the basics to have a higher chance of winning and having a great time!

Read More:

FanDuel: 21+ in select states. First online real money wager only. $10 Deposit req. Refund issued as non-withdrawable bonus bets that expire in 14 days. Restrictions apply. See full terms at fanduel.com/sportsbook. FanDuel is offering online sports wagering in Kansas under an agreement with Kansas Star Casino, LLC. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER or visit FanDuel.com/RG (CO, IA, MI, NJ, OH, PA, IL, TN, VA), 1-800-NEXT-STEP or text NEXTSTEP to 53342 (AZ), 1-888-789-7777 or visit ccpg.org/chat (CT), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 or visit ksgamblinghelp.com (KS), 1-877-770-STOP (LA), visit www.mdgamblinghelp.org (MD), 1-877-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369) (NY), 1-800-522-4700 (WY), or visit www.1800gambler.net (WV).

BetMGM: Must be 21+ and live in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Wyoming, and Ontario. A Bonus Bet is a credit allowing players to place a bet without using cash funds. Such credits cannot be withdrawn or cashed out by participants. Bonus Bet credit can only be used once and must be used within 7 days of being credited to your account. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER.

DraftKings: Gambling Problem? Call (800) 327-5050 or visit gamblinghelplinema.org (MA), Call 877-8-HOPENY/text HOPENY (467369) (NY). If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL/IN/LA/MI/MD/NJ/OH/PA/TN/WV/WY), 1-800-NEXT STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO/KS), 888-789-7777/visit ccpg.org (CT), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), or 1-888-532-3500 (VA). Bonus Bets valid for seven (7) days. For the avoidance of doubt, the seven (7) day completion period is measured as 168 hours from the time the Bonus Bets are placed in the customer’s Sportsbook account. Failure to use the Bonus Bets will void the award Bonus Bet amount is not included in any returns or winnings Bonus Bet also not redeemable for cash, non-transferable, and non-refundable One (1) qualifying bet per customer Excludes odds boosts, profit boosts, bonus bets, cash out bets, and voided bets