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Sports Betting in the United States: a General Overview

Widely surging in popularity, sports betting has been increasingly making a bigger and bigger impact in the United States over the course of the last several years. But what is sports betting? Sports betting is a type of gambling that involves placing a wager on sporting events. If the proper outcome is predicted, the player is eligible to collect winnings for their efforts. It also serves a greater purpose. While sports betting is not part of a new technology wave, it is something that has been sought after in the US for decades, while our European counterparts have had it legalized since the early 2000s.

For fans looking at ways to have a more hands-on experience with their favorite sports teams or events, USA sports betting is a great way to do so. It creates a sense of involvement and incentivizes a greater interest beyond the simple scope of who won or lost a particular game. As with any type of gambling, doing so responsibly is of the utmost importance. When did sports betting come to be? 

While sports betting popularity has surged way above previous levels lately, the phenomenon is far from a new one. In fact, the history of sports betting in the United States dates back all the way to the early days of the country. It started as a common practice among both the wealthy and working-class individuals. Horse racing was a common sport for many participants to gather and eagerly place wagers on which animal they believed had the best chance of winning that particular race.

Boxing was another sport that had a strong gambling culture surrounding it. Many flocked to the ring and octagon to place their wagers on a fighter of their choosing, rooting loudly and proudly for their desired victor. The final sport that really cemented the rise of sports betting in the United States was baseball. With the formation of Major League Baseball in 1876 came a boom in 20th-century sports gambling, but that did not come without its fair share of controversy.

Alleged fixings, gambling scandals, and illegal bookmaker operations ravaged what was once an activity with integrity and class. The result of these complications tarnished the image of sports betting for the duration of the 20th century and into the 21st, with new legislation serving as the saving grace.

Is sports betting legal throughout the United States? 

While sports betting has been surging throughout the United States, it has not been universally recognized across the country as of yet. May of 2018 was the time period that changed it all, with the Supreme Court passing legislation that prohibited states from authorizing or regulating sports betting.

According to the staff over at CBS Sports, over 34 states and Washington D.C. have legalized some form of sports betting, with others planning to launch their legal sports betting sites by the end of 2023. With over half of the country hopping on the sports betting wave in just five years since the enactment of federal legislation, the pan remains a hot one. A Morning Consult poll found that 12% of American adults regularly gamble on sports. More opportunities and openings should only lead to an increase in these numbers.

Which sportsbooks are popular in the United States? 

There are a multitude of different sportsbooks that vary from state to state. In some cases, certain sportsbooks only pertain to a particular state. However, there are universal options that a great deal of players gravitate towards. Each sportsbook offers its own set of player rewards, perks, safe and secure payment methods, and more. Here are a few different options that players can choose from.

  • FanDuel
  • DraftKings
  • BetMGM
  • PointsBet
  • Bovada
  • BetOnline
  • Bookmaker

What types of sports bets are there? 

When placing a bet on a particular sport or sporting event there are a multitude of different options that you can choose from. Here are a few different options.

  • Moneyline bets – bets that are placed on the outright winner of a game or match.
  • Spread bets – these bets are primarily focused on the margin of victory or defeat of a particular team.
  • Totals (Over/Under) bets – bets that are placed on the total number of points or goals scored in a game or match.
  • Proposition (Prop) bets – bets that are placed on specific moments or occurrences within a game or match.
  • Futures bets – bets that are placed on an event that will happen further down the line, such as a tournament winner, award winner, or odds that a team will make the playoffs.

Understanding sports betting odds 

Sports betting odds add complexity for a user when placing a wager on a particular sport or sporting event. Understanding how these odds work is critical for all players to understand before committing to any type of financial risk. There are three main types of odds: Fractional, decimal, and moneyline odds. For players in the United States, moneyline odds are the most common. They refer to how much money one must bet in order to win $100. The more likely the outcome, the lower the odds will be, essentially meaning that a large part of successful sports betting comes from identifying risks and assessing which ones have the possibility of becoming a reality. Being able to properly analyze these factors is key for players before placing a bet of any kind on any sport.

Sports Betting Strategies 

Different sports betting strategies can be employed to boost your chances at winning. Each system listed below is based on various strategies and principles, with some being more effective than others depending on the sport or type of bet. The first system is called the Martingale system. The popular method involves doubling a bet after a loss, with the goal of making up lost ground and starting down toward the pathway of profit. Sounds lucrative in theory right? In reality, it is a strategy that is quite risky and requires a great deal of knowledge and caution to execute correctly. It is very easy to fall down the financial rabbit hole if done incorrectly.

The Kelly Criterion is another popular system used by many players. It utilizes mathematical formulas and calculations to size up a bet. It does this based on the perceived value of the bet and size of a player’s bankroll. Other methods include the Parlay system, which involves combining multiple bets into one larger bet, leading to higher payouts but comes with higher stakes and risks, and the Flat Betting System, which is the practice of placing the same bet size on each bet to minimize losses and maximize long term profits. The key to successful sports betting is to do the proper amount of research and find a sports betting strategy that works best for you. Most importantly, responsible gambling and sticking to a disciplined approach is a must.