Online sports betting is taking over the gambling industry. Whether you’re betting on the football, horse racing, rugby, boxing, or any other sport, online sports betting has become the norm for those who enjoy a dabble.

And, with more and more bookmakers offering bookmakers signup offers, a lot of new players are able to get an edge on their bets. Whilst most forms of betting are technically pot luck, you still need to know what you’re doing – especially when it comes to sports. So, we’ve assembled a beginner’s guide to online sports betting below to make your first gamble a lot easier!

Four things you need to know before you start:

  • The basics are not complicated
  • Bookmakers are very skilled at what they do, so…
  • Most sports betters will lose money. In fact, the figure is around 90%.
  • Learning how to bet and learning how to win are very different things. We cover a bit of both in this article.

Firstly, you’ll need to choose a reputable and secure online sports betting site.

Be careful when choosing your online bookie. Remember, if odds seem overly favourable on a certain site, chances are something a little dodgy is going on. It’s best to stick with the big boys when you’re just starting out in the online betting world, and to bet with a site that has encrypted payments, a good reputation, and gambling limit tools (such as a cap limit).

If you’re a total betting novice, odds (whether they are fractional, decimal, or percentage odds) may seem a little confusing.

In the UK, the fractional system is generally used – when odds are displayed as fractions e.g. 4/5 (which you’d pronounce as four-to-five).

The numerator (or the number on the left) tells betters how likely a bet is to fail and the denominator (or number on the right) tells betters how likely a bet is to succeed.

This is an example of how it works in practice:

Say Manchester United were playing Liverpool.

If the odds were, for example, 4/5 that Manchester United win, then this is what is meant:

If the match was played 9 times (4+5), then Manchester United would likely lose four times, and win five times. This gives Manchester United a 44.4% chance of losing, and a 55.56% chance of them winning.

To work out how much money you’ll win if you bet on Manchester United to win, then you multiply the amount you bet (the wager) by the quotient of 4 divided by 5, which equals 0.8. If you bet £10, then you’ll receive £18 back (your wager + the quotient).

A ‘lucky streak’ is just luck – and a few tips…

It’s important that new betters remember that just because you’re on a winning betting streak, it probably won’t continue. If it does, then it’s just luck, and you should continue looking for the best odds that will return the most money. However, you should also remember that bookmakers do make mistakes, and might not know as much about your Premier League team’s bogey-rivalry with a team from the Conference.

It’s always recommended that you stick to sports you know inside out, and your favourite teams/those that you know a lot about. After all, you’re more likely to predict these results correctly.

New punters also need to know that the house (the bookmakers) always win, even if you win the bet. They place inbuilt advantages in their odds, so they will always make money. However, some online sports betting sites offer 100% theoretical returns, so make sure to look out for these when choosing who to bet with.

The majority of online sports betting sites will require you to create an account and you can start gambling straight away. Unlike online casinos, many online sports betting sites don’t require a deposit.

Finally, make sure you keep track of what you’re betting.

Make sure you keep a record of what you’re spending and what you’re winning. Gambling can be fun, and even habitual. But, if it becomes addictive, you can lose A LOT of money, as well as damaging your mental and physical health. Keeping a track of spending and winnings allows you to identify where you need to set limits.

When the fun stops, stop.