Sports betting is the activity of predicting sports results and placing a wager on the outcome.
Besides simple wagers such as betting a friend that your favorite baseball team will win its division or buying a football "square" for the Super Bowl, sports betting is commonly performed through a bookmaker or through various online Internet websites. The many types of bets include:
Proposition bets are wagers made on a very specific outcome of a match. Examples include guessing the number of goals each team scores in a handball match, betting whether a player will score in a football game, or wagering that a baseball player on one team will accumulate more hits than another player on the opposing team.
Parlays involve multiple bets (usually up to 12) and will reward a successful bettor with a large payout. For example, a bettor could include four different wagers in a four-team parlay, whereby he is wagering that all four bets will win. If any of the four bets fails to cover, the bettor loses the parlay, but if all four bets win, the bettor receives a substantially higher payout (usually 10-1 in the case of a four-teamer) than if he made the four wagers separately.
Progressive parlays A progressive parlay involves multiple bets (usually up to 12) and rewards successful bettors with a large payout, though not as large as normal parlays. However in a progressive parlay, unlike a regular parlay, a reduced payout will still be made even should some of the bets lose.
Teasers A teaser allows the bettor to combine his bets on two or more different games. The bettor can adjust the point spreads for the two games, but must get all the games correct to win and recognizes a lower return in comparison to parlays.
If bets An if bet consists of at least two straight bets joined together by an if clause which determines the wager process. If the players first selection complies with the condition (clause), then the second selection will have action; if the second selection complies with the condition, then the third selection will have action and so on.
Run line, puck line or goal line bets These are wagers offered as alternatives to straight-up/moneyline prices in baseball, hockey or soccer, respectively. These bets feature a fixed point spread that (usually) offers a higher payout for the favorite and a lower payout for the underdog (both in comparison to the moneyline).
Future wagers While all sports wagers are by definition on future events, bets listed as "futures" generally have a long-term horizon measured in weeks or months; for example, a bet that a certain NFL team will win the Super Bowl for the upcoming season. Such a bet must be made before the season starts in September, and winning bets will not pay off until the conclusion of the Super Bowl in January or February (although many of the losing bets will be clear well before then and can be closed out by the book). Odds for such a bet generally are expressed in a ratio of units paid to unit wagered. The team wagered upon might be 50-1 to win the Super Bowl, which means that the bet will pay 50 times the amount wagered if the team does so.
Head-to-Head In these bets, bettor predicts competitors results against each other and not on the overall result of the event. One example are Formula One races, where you bet on two or three drivers and their placement among the others. Sometimes you can also bet a tie, in which one or both drivers either have the same time, drop out, or get disqualified. Totalizators. In totalizators (sometimes called flexible-rate bets) the odds are changing in real-time according to the share of total exchange each of the possible outcomes have received taking into account the return rate of the bookmaker offering the bet. For example: If the bookmakers return percentage is 90%, 90% of the amount placed on the winning result will be given back to bettors and 10% goes to the bookmaker. Naturally the more money bet on a certain result, the smaller the odds on that outcome become. This is similar to parimutuel wagering in horse racing and dog racing.
2nd half bets A 2nd half(Second half) bet is also sometimes called a halftime bet. This bet is placed only at halftime of a particular sporting event. This bet can be placed on the spread(Line) or over/under. The resulting bet that is placed is won or lost only on the points scored by both teams in the second half only.
In-play betting In-play betting is a feature offered by some online sports books that enables bettors place new bets while a sporting event is in progress.
Bookmaking The general role of the bookmaker is to act as a market maker for sports wagers, most of which have a binary outcome: a team either wins or loses. The bookmaker accepts both wagers, and maintains a spread (the vigorish) which will ensure a profit regardless of the outcome of the wager. The Federal Wire Act of 1961 was an attempt by the US government to prevent illegal bookmaking. However, this Act does not apply to other types of online gambling. The Supreme Court has not ruled on the meaning of the Federal Wire Act as it pertains to online gambling.
Bookmakers usually hold a 11-10 advantage over their customers for small wagers it is closer to a 6-5 advantage so the bookmaker will most likely survive over the long term. Successful bookmakers must be able to withstand a large short term loss.
Many of the leading gambling bookmakers from the 1930s to the 1960s got their start during the prohibition era of the 1920s. They were often times decendents of the influx of immigrants coming into the USA at this time. Although the common stereotype is that these bookies were of Italian decent, it has been proven that many of the leading bookies were of eastern European Jewish Ancestry.