Sports betting is the practice of trying to predict the outcome of sports events and placing a bet on a particular result. The bulk of activity takes place in association football, basketball, American football, hockey, baseball, auto racing, track cycling, boxing and martial arts.
Sports betting can also be found in non-athletic events, including political elections, reality show contests and even non-human competitions such as greyhound racing, horse racing, and (illegal) underground dog fighting.
Sports bettors place can place their bets legally via a bookmaker/sportsbook, although there is also an illegal market run by private enterprises. The term ‘book’ in this regard refers to the book wage brokers use to track bets, debts and payouts.
There are many legal sports betting operators on the Internet, run from jurisdictions outside the country where the action is taking place. This is often to get around the multitude of gambling laws in certain markets. On some cruises there are even self-serve kiosks where one can place sports bets. These accept bets ‘up-front’, i.e. before the bet can be placed the bettor has to pay the sportsbook.
We have to warn readers against illegal bookies at this stage. They can operate in any country, and they don’t require the wagered amount up front. This might seem to be very alluring, but in effect it creates the possibility that you can end up in huge debt, being pursued by an angry bookie who wants your shirt. Rather stick to legal online or offline institutions.
So how does one place a bet? It’s simple: just look at the posted lines and choose the team you want to bet on, and decide whether you would like to place a bet on the plus/minus lines, the over/under line or the money line.
The amount you want to bet is deducted from the money in your account, and if you were right your winnings will also be paid into that account. A good idea is to look out for a bookie that offers a special bonus deal.