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Betting 101

Sports Betting FAQ: All The Questions New Bettors Have

Welcome to The Hook’s guide on sports betting. If you’re brand spanking new to sports betting, but not quite sure about where to begin, or if you know the basics of sports betting and would like to learn even more about it, this is the place for you.

Anyone has the potential to be a profitable sports bettor with the right information.

That’s why we here at have put together all the instructions in one convenient location in an area called “Betting 101.”

And in a decision that would make Bernie Sanders happy, this education is free baby.

Consider it our way of saying, welcome aboard.

The gambling community is a unique band of brothers (and sisters) tied together by one common goal…

Beating the book.

Let’s jump right on in.

Betting 101 FAQ

For those of you brand new to the world of sports betting, welcome aboard!

First things first, we begin by helping you identify the “favorite” and the “underdog” in any given matchup.

In sports betting, this could not be any easier.

To spot the favorite or underdog in any given matchup, all one needs to do is identify one of two key indicators.

The first indicator is the point spread on a given matchup.

Arizona Cardinals +7
Los Angeles Rams -7

Using the above example, you will find that the Los Angeles Rams are favored to win this matchup over the Arizona Cardinals, as indicated by their 7-point margin on the point spread.

The other indicator as to who is favored and who is the underdog in any given matchup will be found with the moneyline of that matchup. For example:

New York Giants +450
New Orleans Saints -500

The team with the negative moneyline in any given matchup is the favorite in that particular matchup. The team with the positive number in any given matchup is the underdog. The greater the number in that particular matchup, the heavier the favorite/underdog.

For a complete tutorial on how to read point spreads, please click here.
Point Spread Betting

There are precisely two different ways to bet on a favorite or on the underdog.

The most common means is via a point spread, or what’s most often referred to as spread betting.

As stated in the previous section, a favorite is the team with a negative number next to their name.

The underdog is the team with a positive number next to their name.

A favorite “gives” or “lays” points, while an underdog typically “gets” points.

For example, let’s say the Seahawks are 6-point favorites (-6) over the Panthers.

If you bet on Seattle, they would need to then win their game by 7 points or more in order for you to win your bet. If you bet on Carolina, they would need to either win the game outright or lose by 5 points or less in order for you to win your bet.

Should Seattle win by exactly 6 points, the bet would be deemed as a “push” and the money you wagered would be returned to you regardless of the side you were backing.

Point spreads are available in all sports but are primarily used when betting on football and basketball.

Point spreads in baseball and hockey (better known as the run-line and puck-line respectively) are always set at +/-1.5 and do not change.

For more of a breakdown on point spread wagering, please click here.
In the world of sports betting, a negative moneyline (i.e. -110, -200, -300, etc.) indicates the amount of money that you would need to bet in order to win $100.

In other words, if you are betting on the point spread, generally you would need to risk $110 (or -110) to win $100 on a winning wager.

If you are betting on a favorite to win on the moneyline, you would wager whatever the negative number indicates in order to win $100.

For example, if the Chiefs were -200 on the moneyline to defeat the Broncos, you would need to wager $200 to win $100 on a winning wager.

-110 also informs the bettor as to who the slight favorite of a given match is.  Consider that the bigger the negative moneyline, the heavier the favorite on that particular bet.

For more of a breakdown on how to read negative moneylines, please click here.
Moneyline wagering is one of the most common forms of betting on sports, and many of you have made a moneyline wager already without probably even realizing it.

Unlike point spread betting, moneyline betting is the straight forward means of just betting on who you believe will win any given matchup.

Moneyline betting is also the only form of betting that is universal across all sports.  It doesn't matter if you're betting on Week 1 of the NFL or a 1:30 AM Russian table tennis matchup, the method is all the same - pick the winner and win money.

For a more extensive breakdown of moneyline wagering, with tips and tricks of the trade, please click here.
Over/Under betting is also known in sports betting circles as Totals Betting.  The "total" in any given sporting event is the projected combined scoring total between two teams (or players, depending on sport) as set by oddsmakers, with the bettor needing to correctly guess if the actual combined scoring total of that matchup will go "over" or "under" the projection.

As sports betting becomes more and more mainstream, it is common to hear these bets referred to from bettors or experts as liking "the over" or "the under" in the game.  These wagers are very popular amongst bettors that want a stake on the game without having a good feel for who they believe will win the game or cover a point spread.

For a full breakdown and tutorial of over/under betting, please click here.
Simply put, a parlay is a single-wager that connects the outcomes of multiple sporting events onto one ticket.

The bettor needs to correctly guess on every event on the ticket in order to win the bet.

Parlays can be a straight ticket of a sequence of point spread bets, moneyline bets, totals bets, or any combination of the three.

The more teams in a parlay, the greater the payout.  Conversely though, the more teams in a parlay, the harder it becomes to win your bet.

Parlays are one of the most common bets in all of sports gambling.  For a full guide to parlay betting, including the best tips to ensure consistent profit, please click here.
A teaser is a single-wager that works in a very similar manner to a parlay, only with slightly less risk and a better likelihood of winning your bet.

Unlike parlays, teasers are only offered with football and basketball, and only pertain to point spread betting and totals betting.

When a bettor teases a given matchup, that really indicates a bettor is adjusting the point spread.  How many points that point spread or total is adjusted is indicated by the teaser a bettor selects (i.e. NFL 6-point teaser, NBA 5-point teaser, etc.) and the odds and payout fluctuate based on the amount of points and teams in the teaser.

For a full breakdown of the art of teaser betting, including the latest tips and tricks to ensure a profitable betting experience, please click here.
If you're new to sports betting and looking to jump into the fray, you may be wondering what the best way to go about doing this would be.

First things first, how you bet depends largely where you are located!

If you are one of the lucky Americans to reside in a state with legal sports betting, your path to betting could be as simple as downloading an app.

After you review your sportsbook of choice, head on over to our full walkthrough for how to place a bet in-person or on your mobile device.
Any action on sports will be placed at, or with, a sportsbook.

Legal sports betting has arrived in many states across the country, with each state having its own wrinkle to how everything is handled.

In several states with legal sports betting, mobile sports betting is also offered.  This allows for bettors to be able to make a bet at any time from their phone, provided they are within state borders when they make that bet.

In other states, legal sports betting is only offered in permanent facilities like tribal casinos or gas stations/facilities that offer betting through state lottery programs.

If you're in a state where betting on sports is legal and have multiple options for where to play, we offer the latest sportsbook reviews here.

If you're looking to see what services are offered in your state, or keep track of how close your state is to legalizing sports betting, please click here.
We know it sounds like a cliche, but sincerely..

"Please only gamble what you can afford to lose." 

Every sports bettor has felt extremely good about a bet only to have it go completely differently than we hoped.  That's the beauty of sports and the risk that comes with sports betting.

But, if you are new to sports betting, please pace yourself and prepare to lose.  Even the pro bettors have their rash of bad luck.  You will as well.

The sports gambling niche has a lot of fake personas hovering about.  Try not to get roped in by the smooth talker assuring you he has every winner.  Trust us when we say, they don't.

We can't live life for everyone, but please only gamble what you can afford to lose.

For tips on how to best practice bankroll management, please click here.
Rotation numbers (also known as bet numbers) are the numbers assigned to every possible bet at a sportsbook.

It's a way for you to make a wager at a sportsbook, seamlessly and without confusion, which allows for your sportsbook ticket writer to keep the line moving (no pun intended) on a busy sports day when a lot of bettors are wanting to jump in on the action.

Rotation numbers are important to be aware of if you are needing to make a bet inside a permanent brick & mortar sportsbook (i.e. any Las Vegas casino).

If you are wagering on sports through a mobile app, you do not need to worry too much about rotation numbers.  But if you are heading to Vegas for March Madness for the first-time, or to your local casino that just legalized sports, brushing up on how to make a bet when you're at the sportsbook would not be a bad idea.

Fortunately for you, we happen to have such a guide.  For how to bet at a sportsbook, please click here.
Sports betting has come quite a long way over the past decade.  The veterans of sports betting can tell you that "back in our day" when you made your pregame bet, the only other time you could bet again on the same game would be at halftime.

This is no longer the case, as now virtually every sportsbook in the country will offer you the opportunity to bet on any single event in real-time.

Live betting brings a lot of advantages with it, most notably the ability to potentially get a favored team/total at a better number than it was listed at originally.

However, there are many other reasons to utilize live betting to maximize your profits.  For a full guide on live betting, please click here.
In the same manner as the stock market, in the sports betting market lines are fluid and will fluctuate based on any number of factors.

Understanding why the line is moving could also be the key indicator you're looking for to see who the professional bettors are backing in any given matchup.

Factors that can impact the movement of a line on the game include: injuries, weather, suspension(s), large amount of public money backing one side.

There is a lot to cover on this subject so we made a convenient walkthrough for you.  For the ultimate guide to line movement, click here.
One of the best elements of the legalization of sports betting in the United States is that now sports bettors will finally have a competitive market to choose from to "shop" for lines for the matchups they wish to bet on.

If you're planning on betting on sports a little more regularly than your once a year $100 bet on your favorite team to win the Super Bowl, then having accounts at multiple sportsbooks is something we would recommend doing.

Firstly, you will be able to take advantage of a number of great bonuses simply for becoming a first-time customer.  Secondly, you will then have the option to find the absolute best line for the game you want to wager on.

For example, if you want to bet on the Kansas City Chiefs against the San Francisco 49ers, and two of your three sportsbooks have the Chiefs at +3.5 but one has them at +4, you would be more inclined to make the bet with the sportsbook offering you the better number.

Getting that extra half-point may not seem like a huge deal now, but as time goes on you will find that that can be the difference in making a profit and not.

For a full-guide to the best sportsbooks available in your state, be sure to check out our sportsbook review page here.

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