A Guide to Understanding the Basics of American Sports Betting

The act of sports betting is simply the act of placing bets on the outcome of sports activities, whether in person or online. It is considered a form of gambling and must conform to certain rules and regulations, and is illegal in most states.

gambling regulations

There is a number of different types of betting, some which are more common. The following are just some of the more common of the basic forms of American sports betting.

Types of Betting

Though there are many different types of betting, these three are the most commonly recognized. They are:

Types of Betting

  • Moneyline bets – have no spread or handicaps. The most popular team pays less odds than the less favored team.
  • Spread Betting – Bets are made on the spread. The spread is the difference in points as assigned by the bookmaker to even the odds between a strong team and one less strong. The stronger team has a negative point spread and the weaker one has a positive one. In the final score, the amount of the point spread is added or subtracted, respectively
  • Proposition Bets – These bets are specific, such as betting on the number of goals in a game, or betting on a particular score, or the number of yards a player will run, etc. Resolving these bets can be possible in a single dice roll by the shooter. Common proposition bets include 3 (ace-deuce) or wins when the shooter rolls a three, 2(snake eyes or Aces), 12( midnight, boxcars or cornrows), any craps (three-way), any seven (Big Red), whiro or world ( a five-unit bet which is a mix of any-seven and horn bet, the horn,       on the hop, Field and 2 or 12 (hi-lo).

Proposition Bets


The concept of odds is another important basic of sports betting. There are different formats for the different countries of the world, but all are basically the same concept. They indicate the ratio of the bet to the stake, whether an even bet or not. The different formats are:

  • European format (uses decimals, with 2.00 being an even bet)
  • American format (moneyline, with 100 being an even bet)
  • UK Format (fractional odds, with 1/1 being an even bet)

UK Format

In the U.S., American Format is the preferred method of designating odds.


In the United States, the only states in which sports’ gambling is legal are Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana. However, in 2012, New Jersey and its governor, Chris Christie, signed legislation allowing gambling in its racetracks and its casinos in Atlantic City. This was done in spite of express prohibition by the Federal Constitution.

basic sports betting Legal Issues

Where it is illegal to pursue this type of gambling activity, illicit bookies are available to take bets, in spite of legalities and prohibitions. Online bookies accept bets from all over the world, accepting bets for sporting activities of all types, happening in areas all over the world.

Author’s Bio – James Benchley loves all forms of sports betting. He has experienced betting on all types of sporting events. He writes about different aspects of betting so others can enjoy it as much as he does.

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