Betting for beginners

Betting markets

Understand the market you are betting on and how it works is key. Not only does it help you to understand the rules so you know the requirements at the most basic level, but also so you can identify mistakes, value, and the correct situations to take advantage of.

Understanding the markets you like to bet on also ties in with having a better understanding of how likely an outcome is for that market in relation to each match or event.

A glossary of some key markets

  • Over/Under - Betting on there being more or less goals, points, tries, touchdowns, aces etc. than the number quoted by the bookmakers.
  • 1X2 - Betting on the outcome of a head to head event with 1 meaning home win, x meaning draw and 2 meaning away win. 1X2 can also just refer to the order the event is listed in.
  • 12 - Much like the above but is used for sports where the draw isn’t possible or overtime is included to determine the result.
  • Asian handicap - A way of betting that levels the playing field. Bettors don’t bet on who will win, but instead how many they can win by. Alternatively you can bet on an underdog not to lose by a certain margin.
  • Point spread - Similar to asian handicap and used in US sports. It involves betting on lines (e.g. -8) where you have to decide whether a team will win by more or less. More would mean betting on -8, whilst less would mean betting on the opponents +8.
  • To win - a person must finish top of their field or first in the race/league for you to win. There are no consolation prizes.
  • Each-way - each way splits stakes between a horse finishing first and finishing in the top three/four/five (bookmakers specify these terms which are known as places). You can win on both but if your horse doesn’t win, you may still profit from it placing.
  • To place - You are just betting on a horse to finish in one of the above mentioned places. There are no extra payouts for a horse coming first.

Understanding the markets

Understanding markets like the ones described above in itself is an easy enough process. If you want to understand a market then you can read the bookmakers rules, read a few articles, apply some examples and even as a beginner you will begin to understand things quickly.

One mistake people make is using the method of trial and error. It’s probably best to make an effort to understand a betting market before you use it as you may lose money when betting due to not fully understanding the requirements of the market for you to win. But more to the point, understanding the markets on a deeper level is what can help make a successful bettor. Here’s a quick example. You know the both teams to score market involves both sides scoring at least one goal for you to win. That’s knowing the rules of a market.

Understanding the market would be knowing how often that outcome has been successful within a specific league, fixture or when these two teams are involved. And that involves statistical analysis and studying the form. All of these things give you extra tools to help exploit the market to your advantage and make a profit from betting.

If you don’t understand a market then you shouldn’t bet on it until you do. It’s also important to stress again that simply understanding the rules of a market is not enough. If you make the effort to educate yourself on the market in relation to leagues, teams, common outcomes and probability then you’ll have a better chance of being successful within your chosen markets.

Ready to move on? Why not get to know the different betting terminology used by the sports betting community.