How to bet on sports

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Feb 232006
 
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Forget about poker and craps, the real fun in gambling is in sports betting. And what better time to learn how to do it with March Madness right around the corner? For all you Vegas-bound folks or mildly curious, here's our How 2 on sports betting:

The first thing to look at when betting on sports would have to be "the spread." The spread is a point advantage given to the weaker team, according to conjelco.com, an informative site on gambling. A bet on the spread is often called an 11-10 bet, which means that you place an $11 bet and win $10, leaving with a total of $21. (Sportsbooks make their money this way).

Here's an example: Connecticut is playing Duke and the spread is (Connecticut -3). This means that Connecticut is favored by 3 points. When you see this, you have one of two options. You can bet that Connecticut will either beat the spread (win by more than 3 points) or Duke will cover the spread (Duke losses by less than 3 or wins). Betting on the spread is one of the safer ways of betting yet doesn't allow for a huge payoff.

Proposition bets are where the big money is. In this situation, the sportsbook will offer odds and conditions of their choosing. But be sure to play with caution – the prospect of winning big money often overshadows the odds.

An example of a "prop" bet would be: Which player will score the game's first points? Rudy Gay of Connecticut may have 3 to 1 odds of being the first to score. Therefore, if you bet $5, you triple your money and wind up with $15 if he scores first.

The over/under is another popular bet. The sportsbook gives the total combined score of both teams, and you bet whether you think the final will be over or under that set mark. It's another example of a straight where you can double up your money.

Here's an example of an over/under bet: The sportsbook gives and over/under of 162 points for the Duke-Connecticut game, which means that both teams' final scores add up to around that amount. Based off that number, the gambler has the option to bet whether the total will be over or under that amount.

So now you have a few options if you dare dabble in the art of betting. We won't even get into the extensive list of high profile, more complex types of betting. According to govegas.about.com the beginner should just bet a few bucks on their favorite team and enjoy the game.

Remember: BETTING IS NOT EASY. If it were, it wouldn't be a gamble.

Other pointers

1. Gamble through licensed sports books only.

2. Online betting is dangerous but mostly legal (Gambling laws were made prior to the online-betting craze).

3. Do not gamble when under the influence.

4. Gamble at your own risk.

— Compiled by Scott Bondy

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