An Introduction to Online Sports Betting for Beginners

Are you a sports enthusiast with a passion for gambling? Do you want to combine your two hobbies into one thrilling experience that will leave lasting memories? Check out our sports betting guide for beginners and learn everything there is to know about the exciting world of sports betting today!

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In This Guide



Emperor Justinian of the Byzantine empire is renowned for many remarkable achievements. He built the Hagia Sophia, supported scholars working on some of the earliest lawbooks ever, and almost restored the Roman empire with the help of his general Belisarius. However, few know that he was an avid fan of horse racing. There were three main teams in the Hippodrome of Constantinople, the blues, the greens, and the reds. Justinian supported the blues, which would seem unimportant in today’s world, but it could have meant a death sentence in 6th-century Constantinople. The supporters of each team were so belligerent amongst themselves that they would often start brawls and riots of various sizes. The most famous of said riots were the Nika riots that destroyed half of Constantinople and killed tens of thousands.

Modern sports betting is, luckily, less heated than the sporting industry of 6th-century Byzantium. Modern punters get to enjoy mostly pacifistic matches while betting a few dozen pesos here and there. These bets are made in thousands of markets belonging to hundreds of sports on a daily basis.

The sports betting industry is a global phenomenon that has evolved into a multi-billion-peso industry with life-changing wins. Join us and see how this millennia-old gambling tradition continues to evolve and impact the modern world.

Why Sports Betting Might Be for You

We cannot escape the world of sports. Even if we detest football or find cycling to be a silly sport, we still hear about it on the news and in social gatherings. These conversations often spill over into admiration that focuses on individual players and their traits. This, however, is not just random and useless knowledge. It is vital information that can help you place bets and potentially predict the outcomes of matches, tournaments, and global competitions.

The entry level for sports betting is relatively low, as you need only general knowledge about a sport. If you are familiar with the major teams and their players, you have the groundwork for being a solid sports bettor. Note that you do not have to know everything, as we all learn and improve on a daily basis. However, if you can gauge the outcome of matches, you might have a shot at winning.

Another trait of sports fans that most ignore is the fact that they can spot future winners and rising stars. Sometimes we find a football player with unique technique and special dedication. Other times we see an overlooked player with sizeable potential. These are the potential winners of the future that veteran sports punters watch out for.

Moreover, people often dislike gambling because of its strong connection to luck. But sports betting minimizes this, as the main factors are individual players and not probability theory. So, pick a winner, place a bet, and watch the match with your friends.

Swinging At Online Sports Betting

Sports betting of the past saw punters visiting a stadium or some other sports establishment in order to place bets in shady alleys or dim corners. The bookies taking their bets were often involved in illegal activities and likely to throw caution to the wind. Modern sports betting is far more elegant. It takes place in the comfort of your home and the reliability of your PC or mobile device. Bookmakers treat you fairly and offer an unrivaled online gaming experience. And if that was not enough, the odds and markets that you get are first-class. Check out our recommended bookmakers and find the best licensed, regulated, and audited venues around!

Casinos have taught bookmakers that loyalty programs pay incredible dividends. They are, therefore, more than willing to reward loyal players and entice prospective ones. You can expect most bookies to offer additional value, offers, promotions, and bonuses that make your deposit last longer.

While the bookies that we recommend adhere to industry standards and want only what is best for you, there are some shady figures. Moreover, the legality of sports betting differs from region to region, so make sure to check your local laws.

Events With Sports Betting

You can bet on a myriad of events, including politics and the Grammys, but nothing beats sports event bets. There are thousands of sporting events taking place every year, and most of these accept various bets. The following events and topics are incredibly popular:

  • NRL
  • AFL
  • Soccer
  • NBA
  • UFC
  • Tennis
  • Cricket
  • Esports
  • Politics

Sports Betting Odds

It is crucial that you are familiar with the odds of individual sporting events. You will find signs such as plus (+) and minus (-) in most sports betting events. These are indicative of underdogs and favorites.

As one would expect, bets on favorites produce smaller winnings since they are more likely to result in a win. Bets on underdogs, while riskier, can produce larger winnings. The associated odds also indicate how likely a team is to win. Note that these odds can change prior to or during an event based on outside events such as injuries or other unforeseen circumstances.

You will most often find odds depicted in ratios and decimals. However, we cannot overlook the importance of spread betting. The latter can easily guide you to a fantastic gaming session and prevent you from going astray.

Let us look at the basics of spread betting. If a team is marked with a plus (+), then it is an underdog. If it has a minus (-), it shows that it is the favorite. This split is rather unintuitive, so do not worry if you have to repeat it a few times before mastering it. Now let us say that there is a seven-point spread for a game. The underdog would, in this case, have +7 shown in its odds, while the favorite would have -7.

Sports Betting Gone Mobile

Punters of the past used to dream about taking their casino fun home. Once that was achieved with online casinos, they started dreaming about taking their gaming fun on the move. It appears that the gaming industry is also in the business of making dreams come true since mobile gaming is not only a part of the current iGaming culture but also its bread and butter.

You can expect the best operators, especially those that we recommend, to have amazing native mobile apps. These are available for both iOS and Android devices, and they can be obtained either through direct links or on the iStore or Play Store. Note that you can still limit your gaming to your mobile browser and completely ignore said apps.

Mobile betting apps are, for the most part, replicas of their online variants. However, you may run into additional features and exclusive bonuses. We recommend that you try out mobile gaming and see if it fits you!

OCR offers multiple mobile-oriented guides and articles that tell you exactly what you should expect from mobile apps and where you can obtain them. The basics are a solid interface, easy navigation, intuitive functionality, a wide selection of games, and compatibility with PC or online versions.

Popular Terms

It is easy for a beginner to be lost in the exciting world of online sports betting. Not only do you have to know sport-specific phrases, but you also have to be familiar with gambling terminology. Memorize the following terms, and you will be speaking like a pro punter in no time!

  • Punter: A bettor, gambling enthusiast, or sports betting fan.
  • Market: A subset for bets that represents a certain game.
  • Player: The member of a sports team.
  • Game: The game that is taking place.
  • Betting slip: An index of your placed bets.
  • Multi bets: Bets placed on several markets at once.
  • In-play bets: Bets that are made while a game or match is taking place.
  • Bookmaker: Traditionally an individual, nowadays a company that takes your bets and dishes out rewards.

Terms and Conditions

The terms and conditions of online betting are the rules that you have to play by. You will be disqualified, receive a strike, or simply have a bad time if you choose to ignore them. Our reviews often touch on these vital rules, and the most common ones tend to be:

  • You have to be 21 or older to bet on sports. Note that said age differs from country to country.
  • You need to read, understand, and accept your site’s privacy policy and sports betting rules.
  • You ought to be familiar with your local sports betting legislation and regulation.
  • The bets on your betting slip need to be completed prior to withdrawals.

Pros & Cons

Expand your sports fun by betting while watching matches
You can choose a number of sports markets
Make bets on events, leagues, and tournaments
Focus on local and international events
Grow your betting portfolio
Always research before committing
Being unknowledgeable will cost you dearly


You cannot guarantee that a wager will be successful, but you can do everything in your power to set the groundwork for success. The following tips should help you do just that in a few easy steps.

Kicking Things Off

We completely understand that becoming one with sports betting is a lengthy affair that cannot be concluded overnight. We, therefore, recommend easing into sports betting with the following step-by-step guide.

1 Open An Account with A Bookmaker

You will find countless online sites and venues eager to accept your registration form. These bookies or sportsbooks should be licensed, regulated, audited, and offer all of the sports that you want to bet on. Have a gander at our recommended operators, click a link, and start your exciting sports betting journey today.

2 Deposit

The next step is funding your account with your favorite payment method. These include Visa, MasterCard, e-wallets, EFTs, Gcash, bitpay, GrabPay, and a plethora of other options. Also, consider potentially aligning your payment method with a bonus offer.

3 Grab A Bonus

You can expect most bookies to offer a plethora of exciting bonuses, including welcome and reload ones. Note that these have terms and conditions with wagering requirements, so choose carefully.

4 Pick A Sport

Select the sport that you personally find the most exciting. You can choose whatever your heart desires, from cricket, basketball, football, tennis, rugby, soccer, snooker, darts, and table tennis to even chess! Heck, put sports aside and bet on the next American presidential election. You are destined to find something that suits you.

5 Choose A Market

These are sports sections that you bet on. They may be focused on matches, events, tournaments, or other subcategories. Remember to always consider the odds and take as much time as you need.

6 Set A Budget

Always be mindful of how much you are spending in any given gaming session. The funds that you deposit may be lost completely, so make sure that you can lose them.

7 Bet

After completing the above steps, you are now ready to place your bet. Cross your fingers, watch the match unfold, and hope for the best. We wish you luck!

8 Pick A Betting Type

There are dozens of exciting betting types for each sport, so do not rush into the first one that you see. Consider all of your options, their upsides, and downsides, and then assemble a clever betting slip. Note that said betting slip will usually display wagering info and how much you stand to win.

9 Gamble Responsibly

If you ever encounter the signs of gambling addiction or feel yourself succumbing to gambling urges, hang up your hat and take a longer break. Remember that bookmakers offer various self-help and self-exclusion tools that can help you keep your gaming under control. We have several articles on the subject, so feel free to check them out.


The world of sports betting has dozens of unique words that might not be intuitive. These stem from the sports that are taking place and the general iGaming community. If you are a beginner just learning the ropes or a veteran wanting to refresh your knowledge, take a look at this handy glossary and speak like a sports betting pro in minutes.

Learn more

Types of Sports Betting

Any bet on any sport is the culmination of your chosen sport, your odds, and the type of bet that you are looking for. Beginners might be overwhelmed by certain types of bets, while veterans often find some to be ridiculously wasteful. Check out the most common betting types and see which one fits you best!

Parlay Betting

This is also known as an accumulator, combo, or multi-bet. It combines two or more independent bets into one connected wager. We do not recommend this bet, as one lost link can bring the entire chain crashing down and leave you with nothing to show for it.

Flat Stakes

This type of bet can incur high costs quickly since you are wagering the same amount on each game. However, once you land a win, it can be substantial.

Matches Betting

The outcomes of this type of betting are covered by a bookmaker and a betting exchange. The catch is that you are playing with bonus funds, usually received via promotions and bonuses, with which you cover all possible outcomes. You will lose some of your bets but said losses are usually covered by bonus money. This type of betting is also rather limited.

Arbitrage Betting

This is an all-around betting approach that sees you placing bets on each outcome, which guarantees a win. Note that different odds from different sportsbooks are crucial and that you may end up with a net loss.

Spread Betting

You will often come across this type of betting in football or basketball, but it is also native to other sports. Check out the section dedicated to odds to become more familiar with it.


It is a traditional form of betting that has a modern twist thanks to digitalization. Punters place bets on the outcome of sporting events and try to land amazing prizes whilst enjoying sporting spectacles.

These are venues, often referred to as ‘bookies’, ‘sportsbooks’, or ‘betting agencies’, that take in your wagers and pay out winnings. You can see them as betting exchanges or digital marketplaces that provide a service.

These are, in the case of sports betting, sports enthusiasts with a knack for betting. They are often referred to as ‘bettors’ or ‘betting fans’.

You will find countless online venues that accept sports bets. However, there are those that specialize in sports betting and those that do it as a side business. Keep this in mind when checking out our list of sports betting sites and sites with sports betting.

This is the placement of bets based on the potential outcome of sporting events. You will usually only have two options to choose from.

These bets are the opposite of those that back outcomes. You essentially bet against a player or team winning. A great example would be betting against Lewis Hamilton winning Formula 1. You lose if Hamilton wins but win if anyone else wins.

Yes, it does. If you want to bet, you will have to open an account. This means that you need to finish the registration process at your respective bookmaker and make a deposit. Please make sure that your chosen venue has a license and is registered.

Firstly, you should always try to settle disputes directly with your sports betting venue. Should this prove to be impossible, contact their regulator and report the incident in detail. Furthermore, please get in touch with us so that we can look into the issue and potentially flag said venue. We strive to keep our community safe from predatory behavior, so we would highly appreciate any and all reports.

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