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Beginner's guide to online sports betting

My aim in this post is to give those of you who are new to sports betting an idea or an overview of the types of bets you can expect to encounter.

There can be a lot of jargon and terminology that can be intimidating at first but don't let that put you off. Otherwise you'll just be missing out how to make watching your favorite game even more exciting. Trust me … sport betting is not nearly as complex it may first appear to the novice bettor.

Depending on where you are from in the world of course, the most popular sports on which to wager a bet are football, baseball, hockey, snooker, basketball, horse racing, cricket and rugby. And each sport has its different betting system. The first thing you need to do is find a reputable online 'sportsbook' (as they are called in the States), a 'bookmaker' (as the Brits refer to them) or simply a ‘book’. These are all the same thing – just given different labels by different nationalities. Whatever you choose to call it, it's basically the establishment that takes the bet. The individual who takes the bets is called a ‘bookie’ whilst the 'oddsmaker' is the person who sets the betting odds (rather self-explanatory really!). And the object of sport betting is simply to beat the oddsmaker to win some money.

Here’s a rundown of the more common types of bets you can make.

Straight Bet - The simplest and most common bet where you bet on a winner at the given odds.

Over/under Bet – You place a wager that the combined number of points scored in a match by both teams will be over or under the total set by the oddsmaker.

Parlay – This is a combination bet. Instead of making 4 separate bets on 4 different games, you place a single parlay bet in the hope that you can predict the outcome of all 4 games. If you are wrong about the outcome of any one of the games, you lose the lot. Where there is a tie, match postponement or cancellation, your parlay is automatically reduced by one selection.

Teaser Bet – This bet is like a parlay but with the option of adding or subtracting points from one or more of the bets. As with a parlay, all your selections need to be correct to win the bet.

Future Bet – At the start of each season, sportsbooks set odds for teams to win a particular championship / league. As the season progresses, the odds change and usually get shorter as the final game approaches. But if you're lucky enough to bet on the winning team, you get paid at the original odds when you placed the bet.

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