Beginners Guide to Sports Betting

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A Beginners Guide to Sports Betting

Sports betting is by far the most popular form of betting online, which is unsurprising given the popularity of sport in general . To cater for this, betting sites in recent years have dramatically increased the markets available to place bets on, meaning that almost any professional sporting event now offers the possibility for betting. 


Sports betting can be a confusing place, with industry jargon thrown around all over betting sites, leaving new bettors potentially overwhelmed and confused where to begin. However, we are here to help. Listed below are some terms which will help you begin to understand the world that is online sports betting, and help you on your way to deciding how you want to place your bets.  

Fractional/Decimal odds

Odds can be offered in fractions (1/5) or as decimals (1.2), and the option to change this is in almost every site’s settings, depending on your personal preference. The decimal is 1.2 rather than 0.2 (the actual equivalent of 1/5) because your stake is included in any winnings you make. For decimals, your winnings will be 1.2 multiplied by whatever your stake is. For fractions, the first number represents the amount you will return for every multiple of the second number that you bet. For example, if you were to bet £5 on 1/5 odds, you would make a profit of £1 (plus win back your original stake), whilst for 5/1 odds you would secure a total of £30 (£25 profit plus the £5 stake).            

Long/Short odds

You may see teams referred to as “long odds to win” or “short odds to win”. Put simply, short odds are those close to 0, whilst long odds are those further from 0. Short odds will return less money but are more likely, in the bookies opinion, to come in, whilst the opposite can be said for longer odds. 


These phrases refer to the number of bets on any one betslip. A single will be just one bet, a double will be two bets on the same slip, and a treble will be three. Each bet is technically known as a ‘fold’ and therefore for any more than three bets you will see it represented by the number and then fold (e.g. Six-fold). To win, all folds on the one betslip will typically have to win, although some bookies offer money back if one falls. 

Handicap/Asian Handicap

Handicap betting is a great potential way to profit. It is often offered when a game is perceived to be one sided, and the bookies wish to “even the odds”. It essentially starts one side with a virtual handicap for the purposes of your bet. So for example, if Football Team A were at very short odds to beat Football Team B, bookies may however offer even odds with a handicap of, for example, -2. This means that Team A will effectively start two goals down for the purposes of your bet, and will need to finish the game three goals clear of their opponent in order to fulfil your bet. Although it may sound a little pointless, it is definitely a great way to find value in more one-sided fixtures.


Over under refers to the number of points/goals scored, and is always written to the nearest .5 (e.g. 2.5, 115.5). This is another great option for betting, as it allows you to find value in games that you may not necessarily be able to pick a winner in. It is available for most sports, and is one of the most popular ways of betting on sports.    

Cross-Sport Accumulators

A fantastic way to make the most of your betting experience is to bet on accumulators. You can set these up yourself, or on occasion the betting site will offer pre-built ones for you. Accumulators, as the name suggests, is a set of individual bets, known as folds, on the same betslip, with all needing to win for the accumulator to pay out. These are especially popular in football, but also have the advantage of being cross-sport applicable. For example, if you wanted to, you could place bets on the weekend’s football, cricket and basketball, all on the same betslip.

The attraction of accumulators is that from a small stake (As little as $0.05), you have potential to win massive profits, provided the accumulator comes in. The potential winnings, as well as the risks, are far higher than if you were to bet on each of the folds individually.  

Hopefully this short introduction has brought you somewhat up to speed with the mysterious world of online betting. Whether your interests lie in Football, Basketball, Hockey, Tennis, Motorsport or Squash, there are sure to be markets for you to take advantage of and put your knowledge to the test, whilst remembering that the most important element in any betting is to have fun!