How to Place Sports Bets

Two Hands Exchanging Money With a Sportsbook and Stadium Background

Have you ever thought about placing a sports bet but didn’t know how?

I hope this can clear up some of the confusion and allow you to comfortably enjoy placing a sports bet. I will try to help you figure out how to participate in the “action” without anxiety and walk away confident in your wager.

There are a couple of ways to place sports bets. One of them is using online sportsbooks, and the other is in the sports room at the casino. Both are easy and fun but require a little bit more than just handing over money to a guy behind a cage. If you don’t know the process, decisions can be made that can negatively affect your pocketbook and the joy typically derived from gambling.

We will dig more into the various sports actions in a later post, but as in all things, we have to learn to crawl before walking. As far as the atmospheres, I like the face to face atmosphere of the sports room more based on its excitement and crowd participation, but with the new age, my friends and I can find another kind of fun sharing ideas and challenges online.

Decide on What Bet I Am Placing

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Or does it?

The first time I bet in Vegas with my friends, I was in line chatting and got to the window suddenly in mass confusion. The line behind me became restless, and I became more anxious. It was like being in a restaurant being pressured by the waiter, and I end up ordering crap salad versus filet mignon. My friends still heckle me about the great wagers I placed that day.

Be prepared when going up to the window. Know what you are going to wager based on the assigned betting number.  It will be the number on the left of the team or event you want to place your bet. Know this number when going up to the window. It will represent the team you are placing the bet.

Have Your Money Ready at the Window

Have your money prepared.

Ever heard of an 11 to 10 concept?

It’s by far one of the most common bets. It means I will need to bet $110 to win 100. So, have your money ready and not require the clerk to make crazy change or bet $100 to get $91. With this knowledge, I am prepared to make specific bets, especially in football spreads.

College Football Player Running the Ball

When I get my ticket, I take a picture of it in case I lose it. I can often get paid with proof even after too much fun and losing my ticket. A photo and explanation will allow me to still collect after they vet that the ticket has not been cashed. It may take around 30 days, so it’s best not to lose it.

But late money is better than no money.

Betting Online

There are many safe and reliable online sportsbooks, but I need to pick a site that has the games which interest me. Many of these are reviewed by experts, and I need to do some research for the one that provides good ratings in the following:

  • Customer service
  • User interface
  • Speed in betting and payments
  • Options for financial transactions
  • Do they work well with all my devices
  • Variety of betting options

The one I select needs to have good ratings in all of these categories so I can bet wherever I am and view changing odds in real-time. If you want to use PayPal, you will be out of luck unless you live in New Jersey, and that’s another topic entirely.

All of them use electronic checking and credit cards with several now using bitcoins. It depends on the privacy and security you need. I have not used bitcoins, but the way bitcoins fluctuate, it would be like gambling using my stocks. I have bitcoins, and their value can change daily.

But bets are paid in real-time value.


To use bitcoins, you will need a bitcoins account (wallet). Once you have a wallet, you will be able to transfer monies to and from your online site. You will also be able to just keep cash in that wallet each time without having to convert to and from bitcoins.

Due to banking regulations (ugh) for cash transfers and deposits, you will need a camera either on your phone or laptop because you all have to show proof (driver’s license) in making bank deposits.  If this sounds like a hassle, find one that uses a credit card.

Let’s Talk Betting Football

Football betting has a simple structure, and most bets fall along with the 11:10 method for the leading sportsbooks. The originating sportsbook will have total game points listed, and you can pick over or under the total, so you pick the game number pay $110 to win 100.

What about the spread or the estimated win margin?

The spread will typically be listed for the favored team where you pick the team and its associated game number. You will use the game number for the team you choose, and the spread will apply for wither the underdog or against the favorite. Again, it’s the same 11:10 betting structure.

A key to picking the winners is watching the lines change for the various sportsbooks, and if the originator line begins to change, say from 3.5 to 4, I want to place the bet on a sportsbook that is still 3.5.

Eventually, the lines catch up, but my bet will be held at 3.5, whether it goes up or down later.

You should also know that home teams are always listed below the away team.

The Next Game to Review Is Baseball

When you first look at baseball betting lines, you will see the Game #, team, opener (two numbers), and each sportsbook line. The betting line will be listed across the game favorite, and you will see numbers like -118/-102, which is the money to bet to win $100 for both the favorite and the underdog. These numbers have nothing to do with the score other than being on the bets on the game favorite line.

MLB Player Ronald Acuna Junior Running the Bases

On the row beneath the favorite line, there is another number that indicates the over/under. Next to the over/under number will be an “o” or “u,” followed by another larger number indicating what you have to bet to win $100.

The pitchers are the most crucial factor for these game lines, and the bet will no longer be good if the pitcher changes. However, you can say “I want action,” and you have the bet regardless of who starts for the new betting line that’s established for the new pitcher. If either of the pitchers does not start, there is no action on the total over/under. If you do not want “action,” it is always a good idea that you specify “listed pitchers.”

Proposition Bets and Future Bets

Proposition bets are derivative bets that you can make during the game and center around specific players or events that occur in specific game situations. They can range from points scored by a player or number of specific statistical events like field goals or 3-pointers. These bets will also be given a bet line for the player or event but generally follow the 11:10 format.

These bets will have a game number, but you will need to specify the over or under portion with your bet. These lines also change more frequently, so when you are betting, don’t be surprised if the line changed when you go to bet.

Future bets can be for the full season or for various tournaments like tennis. These bets give better odds, and the odds indicate how much you win betting $1.

Here’s an example:

If the line says Miami to win World Series 200/1, a $100 bet will earn you $20,000. These can be incredibly fun and keep you in the middle of the sport for the whole season. Most professionals don’t mess with these, but I like the entertainment and pick a couple each year.


I covered numerous items in this blog from avenues of betting, currencies, betting lines, how to interpret the lines, and how to say the right things so you get the optimal bet. Remember the game number, the amount you bet to win $100, reviewing the bet lines to catch them before they adjust to the originator, proposition bets, and the entertainment of future bets.

I have to know what I am doing to have a chance at winning, and that is the goal of each bet placed. Never leave it up to someone else to misinterpret what I want when betting, so be specific. In later blogs, I will discuss long term strategies based on my experience and experience passed down from the pros.

Find a reliable place to place the bet, get comfortable with the location, and set up the appropriate currency if you are betting online.