Thanks to Circa Detroit for this:
If you’re a sports fan looking for ways to take watching your favorite teams to the next level, sports gambling might be your best bet. But it can be intimidating to know where to start, especially in a world of seasoned bettors. Luckily, we’re here to help you figure out the best sports to bet on with some simple and straightforward sports betting tips for beginners. It all boils down to having an understanding of sports betting basics and the sport itself and doing your research. Also, practice won’t necessarily make perfect, but it sure will make you better and more confident.
When it comes to sports betting for beginners, we’ll start with some sports betting vocabulary.
SPORTS BETTING BASICS
Favorite vs. Underdog
Anytime you’re betting on a game, one team will be favored to win. For instance, in the Team 2/Team 1 game below, Team 1 is the favorite and Team 2 is the underdog. The team with a negative number next to it is the favorite, while a positive number indicates the underdog.
Spread vs. Moneyline
In the example above, you’ll see two different ways to bet. The first way to bet is by betting on the point spread. In this instance, you are betting on whether or not Team 1 will win by more than 19.5 points. Simply put, if the final score is 35-14 in Team 1’s favor, giving them a 21 point win, then a wager placed on Team 1 would win. However, if the final score is 35-17 in Team 1’s favor, Team 1 would win the game, but a wager placed on Team 1 would lose since they only won the game by 18 points.
The other option is placing a bet on which team you think will win. This is called a moneyline bet. In the above example, since Team 1 is such a heavy favorite, you would have to bet $1,200 on Team 1 to win $100. Conversely, since Team 1 is a large underdog, a $100 bet on Team 1 would yield a $750 payday if Team 2 wins.
Another relatively simple bet offered on matches in most sports is the over/under bet. This is where you bet on how many total points (or goals or runs) are scored in the game. For instance, if Team A is playing Team B, the Over/Under might be set at 221.5.
If you bet the over, you would win as long as the total points scored by both teams combined was 222 or more. Inversely, the under would win if the total was 221 or fewer. This is an easy way to bet without having to worry about which team wins or loses. You can just root for a lot of points or for some strong defense if you take the under.
BEST SPORTS TO BET ON
When you’re first starting out on your sports betting journey, it’s best to pick a sport that is already familiar to you. No matter which sports you choose, the more practice you have the better you will understand the intricacies of sports betting. In our opinion, the best way to bet on sports is whichever way you feel comfortable and have fun. Practice and research are key, whether we’re talking about sports betting for beginners or for experts. Approaching a bet with an understanding of the sport’s rules, the teams, and players will help you contextualize how to bet. Some of the most common and popular sports to bet on are football, basketball, soccer, and baseball.
TOP 11 SPORTS HANDICAPPERS, WEBSITES, AND PODCASTS
When it comes to sports betting, there’s no shame in asking for help. In fact, there are resources all over the internet and on social media that can really help you improve the way that you approach betting on all types of sports. Experts, such as sports handicappers, take a deep dive into betting lines to find an advantage, and many of them are more than happy to share their findings.
Below, we’ll explore some of the websites, podcasts, and social media profiles dedicated to sports handicapping, but first we’ll give you a refresher on what sports handicapping is all about.
WHAT IS SPORTS HANDICAPPING?
Simply put, sports handicapping is analyzing a point spread to pick a winning bet. On the surface, it can be as simple as looking at a line (NYJ +14.5 @ NE) and deciding that betting on the Patriots is the smart choice. But in order to reach that conclusion, a seasoned handicapper will often analyze a number of factors. These include:
- The opening line: What was the spread when the line was first announced and how has it since moved?
- Team record and recent play: Is one team on a hot streak or in a prolonged slump?
- Home vs. away: Is home field advantage factored into the line?
- Unique matchups: Does one team have a distinct advantage in the offense vs. defense matchups
- Injuries and other news: Has the line caught up to the latest injury news?
- The public bettors: Who is the public betting on and have oddsmakers compensated by moving the line drastically in one direction?
Handicapping experts know how to do their research to factor in all of this and more before placing their bets. And with some help, you can too. But if you’re more inclined to let the experts handle the complex art of handicapping, we’ve compiled a list of resources for you below.
BEST SPORTS HANDICAPPERS TO FOLLOW
A few professional handicappers we’d recommend following on Twitter for in-depth analysis and weekly picks are:
- Jack Jones – @betfirmsjack
- Jimmy Boyd – @boydsbets
- Kyle Hunter – @KyleHunterPicks
- Mike Palm – @MikePalmCirca
- Steve Janus – @stevejanus
BEST SPORTS HANDICAPPING WEBSITES
Vegas Stats & Information Network
Vegas Stats & Information Network, or VSiN is a comprehensive website of articles from expert handicappers giving their best bets for given games. Articles range from deep dives into specific games, as well as tips for betting season-long bets, props, and many other betting topics. Though it’s a subscription-based website, you won’t find a better site for advice from handicapping experts who specialize in NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, College Football, College Basketball, Golf, Soccer, Boxing, NASCAR, Horse Racing, and even Korea Baseball Organization (KBO).
Sportsbook Wire from USA Today
This sports handicapping site is great for those looking for the most recent analysis and picks for all major sports. It’s a free site that devotes articles to each individual NFL game every week, as well as certain games in the NBA, MLB, college sports, and more. Articles range from handicapper analysis about point spreads and moneyline bets to the best player props for each game.
Bet the Prop
Speaking of player props, one website devotes all of its coverage to finding the best prop bets across the NFL, NBA, and MLB. Bet the Prop offers free articles for site visitors as well as articles and special prop picks for paying members. Site founder and props handicapper Cort Smith also maintains a very active Twitter profile tracking each of their recommended props. Follow him @bettheprop.
BEST SPORTS HANDICAPPING PODCASTS
Beating the Book
Expert handicapper Gill Alexander brought innovation to the world of baseball betting by embracing advanced analytics in his handicapping. As the host of Beating the Book, Alexander covers a wide range of sports betting topics to help listeners improve how they approach sports betting. Alexander also hosts A Numbers Game from VSiN.
Behind the Bets
From ESPN, Behind the Bets is an analytical and entertaining discussion about the culture of sports betting, recent gambling news and insights, and the week’s best bets. Hosted by Doug Kezirian, Stanford Steve, and Chris “the Bear” Fallica, Behind the Bets also features guests from around the sports world.
Bet the Board
Mainly covering the NFL and college football, Bet the Board features professional bettor Payne Insider and former Las Vegas oddsmaker Todd Fuhrman as they break down the news, the lines, and best bets from each week’s slate of games. With fun banter and expert analysis from the two hosts, Bet the Board has amassed a large and loyal following and releases new podcasts twice a week.