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Best Sportsbooks US / Betting Guide / Betting Rules Explained

Betting Rules Explained

Publish Date: 30/03/2022

Betting Rules 2024

Do you want to place more winning bets and give yourself the best possible chance of beating the sportsbooks and oddsmakers? If so, our betting rules are here to help you out today!

We’ll run you through the most common types of wagers and provide you with our tips and tricks on how to approach sports betting in the right way. Essentially, this will act as a 101 guide to all things sports betting. Sounds good? Then let’s get started!

The basic betting rules

Let’s start things off simply here by outlining the single main objective of sports betting — to beat the sportsbooks and win some money on your bets. Additionally, sports betting also provides fans with a great way of making the games they love that little bit more exciting. Under no circumstances should it be viewed as an investment opportunity. However, by following a simple set of rules and deploying some basic strategies, you can give yourself a chance of accruing a little bit of profit over time.

That brings us to one of the first unofficial rules of sports betting — patience. If you go into sports betting with the mindset that one longshot bet will provide you with a bumper payday, then forget about it. The best approach to sports betting, even on a casual basis, is to make small and calculated bets that should help you to build your bankroll over time.

Strictly speaking though, that falls into the category of advice rather than a betting rule. What we’re going to kick things off with below are the most common types of sports bets that you are likely to place, and how they work in practice.

Understanding the three most common wagers

In almost every online sportsbook in the US, the key is understanding betting lines. The basic betting line for every game should show you the three most common straight wagers that bettors place. Namely, these are moneyline, points spread, and totals, sometimes also known as over/under betting. Below, we’ve explained how each one works and outlined the basic betting rules for each.

Moneyline wagers

The moneyline is the most straightforward bread and butter wager that you can lay down some money on. The moneyline shows the straight odds and spreads based on the probability of each team winning. There are two parties to be considered here. Firstly, you have the favorite, who is deemed to have a higher chance of winning but will therefore be offered at shorter odds and spreads with a lower stake-to-payout ratio. Secondly, you have the underdog, who has the least chance of winning and is therefore offered at longer odds.

Here in the US, the moneyline is always represented using the American odds format. Let’s take a look at an example below:

  • Hawks -140
  • Wizards +120

Here we can see that the Hawks are the favorites, as they are being offered shorter, minus odds. With minus odds and spreads, the number represents how much you would have to stake in order to yield a $100 profit. The Wizards are the underdogs, as we can see from the fact that they are being offered to win at longer plus odds and spreads. With plus odds and spreads, the number represents the amount of profit you stand to make from a $100 wager.

The points spread explained

The next wager that is essential to know the betting rules of is the points spread. Especially when it comes to the likes of betting on the NFL and the NBA, the points spread is more commonly used by bettors than the moneyline. So, what is the spread in sports betting? Effectively, what the points spread does is even up the contest by deducting points from the favorite and giving points to the underdog — sort of a handicap/advantage scenario.

Let’s reuse the above example to take a look:

  • Hawks -3.5
  • Wizards +3.5

If you were to bet on the Hawks in this instance, they would need to win by at least four points for your bet to payout. If you bet on the Wizards, on the other hand, your bet would still payout in the event of a loss, so long as they stayed within three points of the Hawks.

As the points spread has evened up the contest, the odds and spreads for betting on each team are always the exact same. Most commonly, points spreads start at -110 on all sports, however, you may find in some cases that sportsbooks will move one to -105 and push the other to -115 if they are seeing more money coming in than expected on one team.

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How the points spread differs between sports - Betting rules

Essentially, the points spread functions more or less the same across all sports. However, it is typically only referred to as the points spread in NBA and NFL games. If you’re betting on the NHL, for example, it’s known as the puck line, while in the MLB it is referred to as the run line.

When it comes to the points spread in the NHL and MLB, it is essentially different in name only. If you’re looking to bet on soccer though, it works slightly differently. The points spread in soccer uses a system known as the Asian handicap, which has a couple of unique quirks to factor in. While points spread in other sports are all offered at .0 and .5 numbers, the spreads in soccer games can be offered at .25 and .75.

Such spreads can basically be viewed as in-between bets. For example, if you bet on a +0.75 spread, your bet would payout in full if the team wins or ties the game. However, you could also win half the bet if the team loses by just one goal in this instance.

Totals betting rules

There are no betting rules that dictate that you have to always bet on the direct outcome of a game — i.e, who wins and loses — and totals betting is the most common example of that. With totals betting, the line proposes figures for the maximum amount of total points, goals or runs to be scored in the game. You are then given the choice between betting over or under that amount.

Let’s once again use the NBA game from before as an example and say the total line is 219.5. If you bet the over, then there will need to be at least 220 points or more scored in the game for you to win. If you bet the under, then there will need to be 219 points or less scored. As is the case with the points spread, both the over and the under line will always start at odds of -110.

We’ve just finished explaining the rules of totals betting, which is the most common example of a wider popular type of betting known as props betting. You also don’t always have to make your sports bets on a single game. There are many ways for you to combine your bets across multiple games or bet on longer-term outcomes, and sometimes you’ll find useful sportsbook promotions to make use of. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the betting rules of some more advanced types of wager.

Props betting

The term props betting is short for “proposition” and is essentially a blanket term that covers all types of bets that don’t directly influence the outcome of the game. For example, you can bet on the total amount of points that a team will score, or focus on other stats such as blocks and fouls. Props betting is extremely popular within the realms of betting rules in football. Betting on stats such as rushing yards, running yards, or the first team to score a touchdown are extremely popular.

Player props

When it comes to props betting, you don’t have to focus on the game or the team as a whole. Player props are extremely popular and the betting rules for these wagers will be very easy to follow if you have experience in playing fantasy sports. Player props can cover anything from the first player to score in a game to how many saves a goaltender will make. You might be surprised by how many possibilities there are when it comes to props betting — it’s seemingly endless!

Futures betting

As mentioned previously, you don’t always have to take it one game at a time when it comes to betting. With futures betting, you have the opportunity to play the long game. The odds for futures bets can appear as early as 12 months in advance of the event happening, with the odds generally changing every day in the lead-up to the event.

Examples of futures betting include putting a wager on a team to make the playoffs at the start of the season. Additionally, futures bets can involve betting on a team to win the Super Bowl or the Stanley Cup well in advance of the final game. As is the case with props betting, you can also turn to individual player bets when it comes to futures. Examples here would include betting on the Rookie of the Year or regular-season MVP.

Parlays and combo betting rules

When it comes to betting on sports, you don’t always have to take it one wager at a time. It’s useful to be clued up on your preferences, promo codes, and live betting. You’ll find there are many ways through which you can piece together multiple bets and/or bet across multiple games.

With combo bets, you can simply use the betting slip on the sportsbook to add as many selections as you want and combine the odds to make it one big wager. This could be as simple as betting on the Rams to win with Cooper Kupp to score a TD. Alternatively, you can also go completely wack, and stick a football game spread, a basketball total, and a hockey prop all into the same combo bet.

The betting rules for a parlay work slightly differently. Here you bet on multiple games and require all of your chosen results to win in order for your bet to payout. Typically, parlays are placed on games from the same sport that are happening in and around the same time, however, there is no rule saying that’s how you have to do it.

A roundup of the basic betting rules

So there you have it, we’ve almost reached the end of our 101 sportsbook review guide to sports betting and the basic rules surrounding it. You are now equipped with the most essential knowledge required to start your sports betting journey off right. What’s important to remember though, is that you can never stop learning when it comes to betting on sports. You are welcome to check out our other betting guides and strategies here at PromoGuy, to help you progress in a timely and safe manner.

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Betting rules FAQ

📜 What is the rule of betting?

Technically speaking, there is no one single rule in betting, there are many. Some of them, naturally, are more essential than others, especially for beginners. You can find a complete guide to the rules of betting here at PromoGuy. We take you through everything from sports betting 101, all the way up to more complex and advanced strategies.

❓ Are there rules to sports betting?

This depends on what angle you are coming from. Are you looking to find out the rules and boundaries set by the sportsbooks, or the rules that you can abide by as a bettor in order to help you place more winning wagers. Perhaps you want both? Either way, your betting guides for the rules are sure to contain exactly what you are looking for.

🤔 What does +100 mean in betting?

Rather than answering using only this specific example, it’s better to lead you to our guide that explains the rules of betting odds, spreads, and wagers in more detail. Here at PromoGuy we have basic betting guides and much more.

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