Written by Tim Harrison from Betzillion

Do you know the basics of sports betting? If not, it’s high time you learn the basics by heart. Tim Harrison is here to help you understand the sports betting basics. Stay hooked until the end to know more!

Tim Harrison: What Are the Basics of Betting?

The sports betting industry has gained rapid popularity over the past few years. New gamblers join the wagering race almost every day, and they all want to win. But do you know the first step towards succeeding in sports betting? Tim Harrison believes it is nothing but understanding the betting basics.

Photo: Mark Stuckey (UnSplash). Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Talbot Road, Stretford


If your root is not strong, you will not be able to grab wins in the future. So many punters lose their money on sports betting due to this reason. They do not prioritize the basics, so they cannot improve their betting skills over time. 

But gladly, you do not have to face the same dark fate because Tim is here to walk you through the basics of sports betting. Are you excited to learn and apply them in real life? If yes, then continue reading until the end!

Favorites and Underdog

You need to know that every bookie allows you to bet on either of the 2 constants – a favorite or an underdog. The favorite is the winning team or player, and the underdog is the one that loses. So besides a favorite, you will see there is a minus sign. Similarly, besides an underdog, a plus sign can be spotted.

What if there is a toss-up between both the teams and players? In that case, there will be no plus or minus sign. Instead, you will see an option to “pick” between the sides.


Spreads and moneylines are the 2 popular ways of placing your bets on an underdog or a favorite. Under spreads, the first type of betting is called point spread. If you select point spread, you will win only if the team crosses the margin of victory. That is, say team A has 9-point favorites against team B. If you bet on team A, it will be listed as -9, and for you to win, team A will have to score above 9.  

The next type of bet under spreads is called “plus the points.” In this case, either team B has to win the game or lose it by 8 points or fewer. Spread bets are pretty easy to understand and apply. Moreover, you can use them in popular games like football, making it even more fun!


Moneylines are easier to understand as here you need to either support the favorite or the underdog based on your preference. For instance, if team A is marked as a favorite with a -200 designation, it means you will have to bet 200 dollars on the team to win 100 dollars. If they lose, you also lose 200 dollars. 

On the other hand, team B is the underdog with a +200 designation. In that case, you can bet just 100 dollars to win 200 dollars in return. If the team loses, you lose only 100 dollars.

In the case of moneylines, betting on the underdog is safer as a lower amount of money is at risk. However, not many bettors choose this option due to their inclination towards the favorite. This type of betting can be easily found in low-scoring games like soccer and baseball.

Total or Over/Under Bet

Bookies like Astropay Bookmakers allow you to bet on the total or over/under points scored by a favorite or an underdog. For example, if the total between team A and team B is 300 and you bet over 300, you win only if the total points scored are above 300. If not, you lose the bet.

Juice or Vig

Juice or vig is the tax added to the bet amount. For instance, if a wager value says -8 (-120), it means that you need to risk 120 dollars to win 100 dollars. Here, the juice is 10 dollars. It happens when you bet on a favorite. In the case of an underdog, the bet amount is usually something like -10 (+120), meaning you bet 100 dollars and get 120 dollars if you win. Hence, betting on a favorite will be a bit riskier, but that’s how the bookies are running their business!

Rotation or NSS or Vegas ID Number

Rotation or NSS or Vegas ID number is simply a number used to list a team on the board. This number helps you spot a team quickly and place bets without confusion.

What Amount to Bet?

The betting amount varies from one punter to the other. It usually depends on your affordability and the risk associated with the game. However, Tim Harrison from BetZillion has a general recommendation when deciding the bet amount. He says to risk only 1% to 5% of the total bankroll on each game. 

So, for example, if you have a total bankroll of 200 dollars, do not spend more than 10 dollars on each game. Following this strategy will ensure that you do not go bankrupt while gambling on Astropay or other bookies and get profitable returns on the bets.

Odds Keep on Changing

Bookies keep changing their odds throughout the day depending on the market trends, bets places, weather reports, injuries faced by the players, etc. Hence, to place the best value wagers, you will have to monitor the odds closely and bet in a bookie that provides higher odds for the team you prefer.

Track Your Progress

Sports betting is not an easy cup of tea. Tim suggests the punters track their winning history and betting pattern for improving in the future. There are several software on which you can easily track your betting progress. But they come for a price. If you are beginning and do not have enough funds to spend on software, you can track your betting record on an excel sheet. This traditional method works fine for most gamblers even today.

Follow Responsible Gambling Rules

When participating in sports betting, you need to know the rules of responsible gambling by heart so that you do not end up losing all your money or getting addicted to gambling. Tim has listed a few vital responsible wagering guidelines below:

  • You should gamble only to get entertained and not to earn money.
  • You should have a clear idea about your budget and set the betting limits accordingly.
  • Do not think over a loss too much.
  • Do not gamble for long hours in a day.
  • Take breaks from wagering so that you do not get addicted.
  • Contact GamCare for counseling or help if you are addicted to sports betting. Their toll-free number is 0808 8020 133.

Be Careful While Choosing Your Casino

When choosing a casino, ensure The Gambling Commission powers the games. Also, it should have secure payment methods like Visa, PayPal, Maestro, MasterCard, etc. You should also check the reviews of the casino on sites like Reddit and Trustpilot to find out more about them.

Final Verdict 

Players who want to win high should focus on the basics first and then learn the smart strategies. Our team at News from Wales also recommends you stay patient while learning sports betting. Grasping the basics and applying the strategy will take time, but they are worth it.

So are you paying attention to the basics of sports betting? Do let us know!