Sports Betting Guide: Types, Odds, Strategies & Popular Sports

Aizat Chew
May 15, 2024
sports betting

Sports betting is the activity of predicting sports results and placing a wager on the outcome. It involves taking a chance by betting money on the outcome of a particular sports event like a soccer game, basketball match, tennis tournament or horse race. If the player’s guesses are correct, they receive an agreed upon sum of money that was decided before making the wager.

Sports betting enjoys immense popularity worldwide. According to a report by Grand View Research the global sports betting market was valued at $66.98 billion in 2020. It is projected that this value will rise to $140.29 billion by 2028, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.1% during the forecast period.

The rise of technology and the easy availability of the internet have played a role in the growing trend of sports betting. Bettors can now conveniently place bets using platforms and mobile applications making the activity more accessible.Numerous betting companies provide streaming of sporting events along, with detailed statistics and analyses empowering bettors to make better informed choices.

Sports betting is strictly regulated in most countries. Legal regulations determine who can offer bookmaking services what sports and events can be bet on, and what percentage of profits must be paid in taxes. In some countries, such as the United States sports betting was illegal for many years but in recent years there has been a significant liberalization of regulations.

Types of Sports Bets

There are a variety of sports bet types, including Moneyline bets, Spread betting, Fixed-odds betting, Total (Over-under) bets, Parimutuel betting, Progressive parlays and Teasers. Each of them offers a different way of betting and potential payouts.

  • Moneyline bets represent the straightforward type of betting, where a player places a wager on the expected winner of a match or event. The odds are adjusted according to the likelihood of each side winning.
  • Spread betting involves predicting the outcome while considering a handicap that gives one of the teams an advantage. The Bookmaker establishes the spread and bettors decide whether the favorite will win by a margin than the set spread or if the underdog will lose by a margin smaller than that spread.
  • Fixed-odds betting – involves placing stakes on the result of the sporting event at predetermined odds. This eliminates the impact of any subsequent changes, securing the amount of your winnings.
  • Total (Over-under) bets revolve around predicting the number of points, goals or other outcomes in a match. A line is set by the Bookmaker and players bet on whether the actual result will surpass (or fall below (under) that line).
  • Parimutuel betting operates as a system where all bets are pooled together and payouts are determined based on both the amount wagered and how many winning bets there are. This form of betting is particularly popular, in horse racing.
  • A Parlay bet is a combination bet that combines two or more individual wagers. To win a parlay, all selected bets must be correct. A Progressive parlay is a variant where a portion of the winnings is carried over to the next bet potentially increasing the payout.
  • A Teaser is a type of combination bet similar to a parlay, but with the ability to shift the pointspread or total line in the player’s favor in exchange for lower payouts.

I’ve written a separate article discussing the various types of sports bets in which I explain the rules and strategies for each of them in detail.

Who is a Bookmaker?

A Bookmaker, is someone who takes and pays bets. They determine the odds for results in sports events by weighing the likelihood of each outcome against potential gains and losses.

The primary goal of a Bookmaker is to manage risk through setting favorable odds. A bookie aims for a scenario where bets are evenly placed on both sides ensuring a profit regardless of the result. This involves utilizing statistical tools and algorithms alongside insights, from experts and insiders.

Bookmakers operate both in traditional brick-and-mortar locations and online. In the digital age, more and more bookmakers are moving their operations to the internet, offering websites and mobile apps for placing bets. Some of the biggest online bookmakers include Bet365, William Hill, Ladbrokes, Betfair, 20Bet, 22Bet, Rabona, Wazamba, FEZbet.

I have quite extensive experience with several of them, which I have described in the reviews. Here you can read my 20bet review, 22bet review, Wazamba review and FEZbet review.

Which bookmakers can I recommend?

To start with, I recommend you read the article in which I listed the best betting sites. However, if you are looking for a quick recommendation, here is a table with bookmakers that I can recommend based on my own experience:


100% up to 122 EUR
Visit website


100% up to 100 EUR
Visit website


100% up to €100
Visit website

What are Odds?

Odds in sports betting determine the potential payout in case of a win and reflect the probability of a particular outcome occurring. The odds indicate the winnings for every bet placed and the likelihood of winning as, per the bookmakers evaluation.

There are various odds formats used by bookmakers. The three most popular are:

1. Decimal odds: These are most commonly used in Europe, Australia, and Canada. The decimal odds show the total payout for each unit wagered, including the original stake. For example, odds of 2.50 mean that for every $10 bet, the player will receive $25 ($10 stake $15 winnings).

2. Fractional odds: This format is popular in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Fractional odds show the profit in relation to the stake. For example, odds of 5/1 (read as “five to one”) mean that for every $10 bet, the player will win $50 plus recover the original stake, resulting in a total payout of $60.

3. American odds (moneyline odds): These types of odds are commonly used in the United States. Positive odds illustrate the potential winnings for every 100 units staked, whereas negative odds indicate the amount needed to bet in order to win 100 units. For instance, a 150 odds signify that for every $100 wagered, the player stands to win $150 in addition to getting back the initial stake. Odds of -200 mean that to win $100, one must bet $200.

Most Popular Sports in Sports Betting

Here’s a list of the most popular sports in sports betting:

1. Soccer: The most popular sport for betting. League matches, domestic cups, international competitions, and major tournaments such as the World Cup or Champions League attract millions of bettors.

2. Basketball: The NBA holds the crown as the popular basketball league globally but fans also place bets on NCAA games European leagues and major tournaments such as the World Championships and Olympic Games.

3. Tennis: Grand Slam events like the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US garner significant interest. Additionally fans engage in betting on ATP and WTA tournaments held throughout the year.

4. Ice Hockey: While the NHL reigns supreme in hockey betting circles enthusiasts also place wagers on competitions like KHL or SHL along with global events such as World Championships and Olympic Games.

5. Baseball: MLB is the most popular baseball league for betting, attracting players from all over the world, especially from the USA and Asia.

6. American Football: The NFL is by far the most popular American football league for betting, but players also wager on NCAA games.

7. Cricket: Cricket is highly favored for betting in countries such as India, Pakistan, England, Australia and South Africa. Test matches, one day games and Twenty20 matches attract a number of bettors.

8. Golf: Golf garners significant interest from bettors through events like the PGA Tour, European Tour and prestigious tournaments including the Masters, US Open, The Open Championship and PGA Championship.

9. Horse Racing: Horse Racing holds a tradition in betting despite being an individual sport. It remains popular during major events like the Kentucky Derby Royal Ascot or the Melbourne Cup.

10. MMA has seen a surge in popularity among sports bettors in years with mixed martial arts events, like those organized by the UFC.

Betting strategy

Here are some betting strategies to help you make choices and improve your chances of success in the long run:

1. Bankroll Management: It’s important to handle your funds when betting. A good guideline is not to wager than 1-5% of your total bankroll on a single bet.

2. Value Analysis: Look for bets where the odds provided by the bookmaker’re higher than what you believe is the actual likelihood of the outcome. These bets have a positive expected value (EV) in the long run.

3. Statistical Analysis: Utilize data and statistics to analyze team performance, trends and other key factors. Tools like Elo ratings, expected goals (xG) or win probability can be valuable.

4. Diversification: Spread out your risks by betting on types of wagers and sports disciplines. Avoid putting a portion of your bankroll on just one bet or event.

5. Emotion Control: Stay level headed after a string of wins or losses. Stick to your plan. Avoid making hasty decisions based on emotions, in the heat of the moment.

6. Results Monitoring: Keep a detailed record of your bets, including stakes, odds, outcomes, and other relevant factors. Regularly analyze your results to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your strategy.

7 . You can also use welcome bonuses for new players to familiarize yourself with the bookmaker. I described bonuses in more detail in this article.

No strategy can guarantee a win. The key factor is to follow solid principles and strive to improve your skills in analyzing and forecasting results. The psychological aspect of sports betting also plays a very important role here. Browse the other articles in my Betting Academy and expand your knowledge. It will certainly help you to improve your results.

Live betting

Live betting is playing during a given sporting event, when bookmaker odds change depending on what is happening there. A good example of how live sports betting works is when a goal is scored in a football match. Let’s say we’re dealing with a Barcelona-Real match, in which Barcelona is the clear favorite and the pre-match odds for their victory are 1.25.

Barcelona starts the match poorly that day, while Real’s players sense their opportunity and score a goal in the 15th minute. The favorite loses 0-1, the bookmaker blocks the possibility of placing bets on this match right after the guests’ goal, and several seconds after the game resumes, the bookmaker gives fresh odds for specific events.

The odds for Barcelona’s victory are significantly increasing: they are now, for example, 1.65, and the player can make a decision: take advantage of the favorite’s slower start and play for their victory, or assume that they are simply in weaker form that day and will lose. The dynamics of changing odds is what characterizes live betting. Bookmaker analysts react to what is happening in a given match and adjust the offer on this basis.

Author Aizat Chew

My name is Aizat Chew. I specialize in sports betting and frequently share insights on my website regarding gambling companies, wagering strategies, and online casinos. I have prepared a guide to the world of gambling. Thanks to my enthusiasm and expertise, I strive to offer readers up-to-date details and top-notch recommendations.