tips for first time sports bettors

Five Tips For First-Time Sports Bettors

Sports betting is making its way to new markets at a rapid clip. Due to the speed at which new sportsbooks launch and the bevy of information available to bettors, it’s important to have a baseline of sports betting knowledge before you sign up for apps and start placing wagers. 

Maryland just launched sports betting, while Ohio sports betting is on its way. Many other states already have legal online sports betting, but every jurisdiction has its own rules and laws. They’re all intent on keeping bettors safe and the betting experience secure. However, no matter where you’re betting, you should keep a few things in mind. 

1. Know The Rules And Regulations

As mentioned above, every state with legal online sports betting has its own rules and regulations. You don’t need to know the laws inside and out. Instead, it’s important to remember a few key details, which can keep your sports betting experience safe and fun. 

First and foremost, you should check whether sports betting is legal in the state where you live or where you’re visiting. For example, California attempted but failed to legalize sports betting this year. It remains illegal there. 

Second, know the legal gambling age. In most states, it’s 21 or above. Online sportsbooks will confirm your age and identity using your ID and some personal info (we’ll cover that more below). 

Next, be aware of any state-specific restrictions on betting. Typically, these relate to college betting. Some states prohibit betting on in-state schools. For example, New Jersey prohibits betting on any NJ school, even if the team is playing a game outside of the state. New York does the same, though it makes exceptions for formal tournaments such as March Madness. 

2. How To Sign Up

You might think signing up for a sports betting app or site is simple, and you’d be right about that. However, it requires a bit more info than, say, an online retailer or social media site. Because sportsbooks are gambling apps, they require information that allows them to confirm your age and identity. 

You can download sports betting apps via iOS or Android as you would with any other app. To sign up, you’ll need to provide the following info:

• First and last name
• Email address
• Password (you will create one to meet the sportsbook’s requirements)
• Home address
• Date of birth
• Phone number
• Government-issued photo ID
• Social security number (or part of it)

These details will let the sportsbook confirm three things:

1. You are who you say you are
2. You are of legal gambling age
3. You are not creating a duplicate account

2. Check For Welcome Bonuses

Sportsbooks are in a heated competition for your business. Many of the states with legal sports betting have more than five online sportsbooks live. Some have more than a dozen. 

Because of this competition, sports betting sites will offer lucrative welcome bonuses to new players who sign up. The bonuses vary, coming in different forms. Some sportsbooks offer a deposit match, adding a percentage of your first deposit into your account in the form of free bets. 

The most common bonus type is the second-chance first bet or first bet insurance. You can place a bet and if it loses, the sportsbook will refund your wager amount (up to a certain amount) in free bets. For example, BetRivers sportsbook will refund you up to $500 if your first bet loses. 

The best part? You can claim bonuses at multiple sportsbooks. 

4. Learn How Odds Work

If you sign up for a sportsbook having never placed a bet before, you might be very confused by all the numbers and symbols you see. Priming yourself with some basic information about odds is helpful. Here are some things to know. 

A “-” in front of the odds indicates that the team is the favorite to win. When you see “-” or “minus” odds followed by a number, such as -150, the number you see is the amount you’d need to bet to win $100. For example, a $200 bet on odds of -200 would win you $100 (plus the initial $200). 

Conversely, a “+” means that the team is the underdog and generally expected to lose. However, a bet on “+” odds would pay more if it hit. The number following the “+” indicates how much a $100 would pay. For example, at odds of +250, a $100 bet would pay $250 (plus your original bet back). 

Fortunately, sportsbooks will do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. If you select a bet and type the amount you want to wager, the app will tell you how much you could win if successful. 

5. Use The Promotions Page To Your Advantage

Once you sign up and claim a welcome bonus, sportsbooks won’t just leave you to your own devices. They’ll try to retain your business with ongoing and rotation promotional offers. They aren’t quite as big as the initial bonuses, but they’re still great. Keep your eye out for things like parlay insurance, odds boosts, “bet & get” promos, and more. 

These can be used to increase your winnings, get refunded in free bets if you lose, and more. 

We suggest making it a habit to check the promotions page on your favorite sportsbook(s) whenever you log in to ensure you’re getting the best offers and deals.

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