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A rookie’s guide to sports bets

Unless you’re a superfan, sports are usually not much more than a source of casual conversation, like the weather. That’s because what happens in sports, like weather, depends on all sorts of variables that many of us non-superfans don’t fully understand. That said, with a little research and sports insight, certain predictions can be made, but—just like the weather—they may or may not come true. [Cue joke about your local weatherman.]

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you don’t know the ins and outs of sports betting. So whether you’re a casual observer or even a superfan, this quick how-to guide is made for you. Now, let’s dip those toes into the vast sea of stats, rules, and odds that is sports betting.

1.Go slowly

First things first, take your time. Sports betting isn’t a race and there are always more games to bet on. Anyone who’s watched their favourite team in action knows how hair-raising things get come game time. It can be easy to get carried away. So, if you’re just getting started, it may make sense to start with smaller events. (Think regular-season games as opposed to the Superbowl.) Then, experiment with small, lower-stakes bets as you feel things out.

2.Understand the odds

You may have heard friends or people in movies talk about “odds” for sports. For example, the odds a boxer might KO (knock out) their opponent, or the odds one team might win the Stanley Cup. When making a sports bet, each selection has odds attached that tell you which outcome is more likely to happen, and how much you could win if it does.

3.Choose your sport

When it comes to sports betting, just about anything competitive goes—even events that aren’t quite considered a sport. In England, for example, you can bet on cheese-rolling. In most cases, your best bet may be to select a sport you’re at least somewhat familiar with. It helps to know your baskets from your touchdowns, your home runs from your hole-in-ones, etc. Also keep in mind that you can usually bet on multiple sports at the same time.

4.Choose your market and bet type

Once you’ve chosen your sport, it’s time to determine which “market” you’re going to play in. A market is a sports-betting term for the type of bet you want to make. Different providers will have various options, but if you’re betting with PROLINE+ or PROLINE, your market options will be broken down into four main types:

  • Moneyline: a bet on which team will win a game.
  • Point Spread: a bet on whether a team’s score will beat or cover an assigned point margin.
  • Over/Under: a bet on whether the total score of a game will be over or under an assigned amount.
  • Prop Bets: a type of bet made on specific in-game actions, like who will win a tip-off, or score first. Available on PROLINE+.

Some players might want to bet on a single event; others on multiple games. Providers will usually offer a variety of bet options, including:

  • Single Bets: one selection on a single event.
  • Parlay: two or more selections rolled into one overall bet.
  • System Bets: pre-configured multi-bet combinations.

5.Set a budget

Once you’ve got a decent handle on the basics, it’s time to set your budget. Set something manageable and don’t get too hung up on the idea of making money. Betting is meant to add to the fun of watching your favourite sports, and if you happen to win, it’s a bonus.

6.Have fun!

Remember that sports betting is just another form of entertainment. It can amp up the excitement of sports you already like to watch, or introduce you to something new. (Like cheese-rolling!) Keep things fun and light, and remember that no win is ever guaranteed. Things might be looking bright and sunny one moment, and rainy the next—just like the weather.

Ready to get into the game? Learn more about Ontario’s sports betting options available online and in-store through PROLINE+ and PROLINE.