Online sports betting: is it legal and how does it work? | TechRadar

Online sportsbook gambling sounds simple enough–choose a side, hope your side wins–but can be tricky, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the rules and lingo. For this reason, it’s advisable to spend more than few minutes learning about spreads, money lines, parlays, and point-buying, all of which are popular in the sportsbook world. Even if you know plenty about sports, sports history, athletes, coaches, and fields, you still need a basic education to fare well at the betting counter.

The first thing to know about online sportsbook gambling is that very few bets are “straight up.” In junior high you might have been able to get away with a five-dollar team-based bet, but in Vegas spreads come into play on nearly every wager. In a nutshell, the spread is the house’s way of evening the playing field. If one team is much stronger than its opponent, everyone would rush to place money on the favorite and the casino wouldn’t stand a chance. With a spread, however, the favorite must “cover” the point discrepancy that represents the relative imbalance between the two teams’ strengths.


More Lingo Associated with Online Sportsbook Gambling

Most online casinos (and standard casinos, as well) make their money on what’s called “juice.” Juice is usually paid by the loser and tends to total 10 percent of the overall bet. Thus, if a gambler loses a 10,000-dollar bet, he or she actually pays 11,000. The casino is then guaranteed victory if it can place bets on both sides of the spread. Win 10,000 here, lose 10,000 there, collect 1000 either way.

In order to induce gamblers to make bets–which is necessary to keep a balanced book–most casinos offer a wide array of bets including teasers. A teaser is used to increase the spread in the bettor’s favor but typically must be purchased. Hence, if there’s a seven-point spread on a football game, an online casino might tease the bet one point in whichever direction helps the gambler. There are dozens of other baiting tactics casinos use, but teasing is one of the most common.