Sports Betting For Beginners

Sports Betting For Beginners

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Our Sports Betting for Beginners guide will explain all you need to know to start profiting from day 1.

It might seem tricky but once you understand the basics, learn the terminology and know how to avoid the mistakes everyone else is making, you’ll be ready in no time.

We will cover:

Click any of the above points to skip to that section.

Let’s jump right in.

Betting Odds

First things first.

Betting odds are a reflection of the general public’s opinion of how the result of the match will go. The longer the odds, the more unlikely that selection is to win. On the other hand, the shorter the odds, the more likely that selection is to win.

In every event, there will be a selection that is considered the favorite and a selection considered the underdog. How this is displayed depends on the odds format.

Betting odds come in three formats:

  1. American Odds
  2. Fractional Odds
  3. Decimal Odds

Let’s run through each one.

American Odds

They display the favorite with a ‘+’ sign next to the selection and the underdog with a ‘-‘ sign next to the selection.

Here’s an example:

Example of American betting odds

In this example, the St Louis Blues are considered favorites to win the match while the Canucks are considered the underdogs.

American Odds favorites show how many units you must wager in order to win 100 units back. So, in the example above, you must wager 265 units to win 100.

On the other hand, American Odds underdogs show how much you win from a 100-unit bet. So, in the example above, you would win 210 units from a 100-unit bet.

Fractional Odds

If the numerator (the first fractional number) is smaller than the denominator (the second fractional number), that selection is considered the favorite.

On the other hand, if the numerator is bigger than the denominator, that selection is considered the underdog.

Here’s the same match but displayed in the Fractional Odds format:

Example of fractional betting odds

Decimal Odds 

A selection is considered the favorite if the Decimal Odds are less than 2.0. 

If they are greater than 2.0, they are considered the underdog.

Here’s the same match again but in the Decimal Odds format:


Example of decimal betting odds

Use our odds converter to change your betting odds into your preferred format.

Always compare odds between bookmakers so you find the best price. 

Which brings us to the next section: bet selection.

Share This Article

Know anyone that is new to sports betting? Send them this article.

Bet Selection

As a beginner to sports betting, you must understand that betting odds determine whether or not you should bet on that selection.


As you’re new to sports betting, this may shock you, but it’s true.

You don’t need to pick the winning bet every time.

This may sound crazy let us explain.

When it comes to sports betting, you can win more bets than you lose and still be making a loss.

Conversely, you can lose more bets than you win and still make a profit.


Take a look at this example and you’ll see what we mean.


Imagine you make 5 bets on 5 heavy favorites, each at -500, and you win 4 of them.

Here is what your results look like:

 Total Profit/(Loss)($20)

As you can see, you can win 4/5 bets and still lose $20.

Bet selection should be based on how much you profit rather than how many you win.

See the difference?

This is known as value betting.

Your entire bet selection process should be based on finding the best bets for value.

Even though you’re learning how to bet on sports for the first time, this is a really important concept to understand and separates the casual losing bettors from the professional winners.

Sign Up

Our value-based premium sports betting service guarantees to make a profit.

Stakes And Bankroll Management

The importance of knowing how much to bet cannot be overlooked.

Without a structured/sensible betting strategy, you will fall into two traps:

  1. Betting too little and not scaling; 
  2. Betting too much and going broke.

This where bankroll management comes in.

Bankroll management is a term that describes how much of your betting pool you stake per selection.

Watch this video to learn all about bankroll management and how to apply it:


Creating A Sports Betting Strategy

Profitable sports betting requires a lot of work.

This is because the only way to be successful from sports betting is by creating data-driven strategies.

This involves spending a lot of time and effort studying all the factors that can influence the result of an event and how to use that information to your advantage.

Plus, sports bettors need to be constantly aware of any real-time sporting updates. This involves reading all the latest news from trusted sources and actually watching the games themselves.

But it’s worth it.

There are five steps you need to take to create a profitable sports betting strategy:

Step 1 – Create A Theory

This can be anything, such as simply backing a team away from home.

You just need to base it around a tracked stat that can be traced back a few seasons.

Step 2 – Evolve The Theory

This is where you start adding variations to your initial theory.

So, if your initial theory was based around backing a team away from home, your variation could be something like backing that team away from home after they’ve just played at home.

Alternately, you could change it to backing them to win away from home after also playing the previous match away from home.

It doesn’t matter if these theories are profitable at this stage.

Step 3 – Back-Test The Theory

Back-testing is the single most important element to creating any theory in the previous steps.

You need to gather as much data as you can from the past few seasons and test it as if you would have bet it over the course of one season.

It’s the most time-consuming part of the process but it tells you if your theory would have been profitable.

This information is very valuable and gives you the confidence to bet it for the current/upcoming season.

Step 4 – Bet The Strategy

This is where you bet your strategy and track the results.

At the end of the season, look at the results and decide if you can use it again or if it needs reworking.

Step 5 – Scale Up

Once you have found a profitable strategy, the work doesn’t stop here.

You need to create another 4 or 5 to avoid making a loss in case your original theory goes through a brief losing streak.

Read More About Creating Data-Driven Sports Betting Strategies

We have covered these five steps in much greater detail in a separate article.

Bet Tracking

The next section of our Sports Betting for Beginners guide is about recording your bets and follows on from creating your strategies.

Bet tracking lets you see how your bets play out and analyse if something could be wrong with your strategy.

It’s tough to beat the bookmakers so don’t be put off if you go through a bad run. If you need, go back to the research phase and double check everything.

You don’t need any high-tech software to track your bets – a simple Excel or Google Sheets spreadsheet will do.

Here are main things that you need to track.:

  • The date;
  • The type of bet;
  • The stake;
  • The odds;
  • The result.

Without them, you won’t be able to make constructive changes to your strategy.

Promotions And Free Bets

Finally, sports betting beginners should take advantage of promotions and free bets.

The best offers are deposit bonuses. These will help you increase your bankroll quicker. However, don’t get carried away and stick to your bankroll management plan.

Here’s an example:

Example of promotions and free bets


There may be some bookmakers that limit your ability to withdraw funds after using a deposit bonus.

For example, you may have to wager 10x your deposit amount before being eligible for withdrawals.

If this is the case, don’t be too alarmed.

If your betting strategy will not be affected by having to turn over the deposit, go right ahead and take advantage of these special offers – just remember to read the terms and conditions.

Plus, you shouldn’t withdraw from your betting account for a while anyway.

This is because it needs to grow until your bet sizes are large enough that your withdrawals can support you as income.

We covered this in our featured article How To Earn 200% ROI A Year.


This Sports Betting for Beginners guide has covered:

  • Betting odds
  • Bet selection
  • Stakes and bankroll management
  • Creating a sports betting strategy
  • Bet tracking
  • Promotions and free bets

For those new to sports betting, this guide will help you make money long-term.

If you have any questions about this article, let us know on Twitter.

Read Our Story

Our goal is to grow this sport investing community to a point where we make betting companies take note.

Found This Useful? Share It With A Friend.

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Close Menu

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.