Online Sports Betting For Beginners

The U.S. sports betting market is growing at a rapid pace. If you are one of the lucky people living in a state that allows legal online sports betting and are looking for some information on how to bet on your favorite sports — you’ve come to the right place.

If you are yet to place your first wager things may seem a little daunting, especially considering the amount of industry jargon used across sites, such as ‘props’ or ‘parlays’. Don’t sweat it. The 33rd Team has partnered with OddsChecker to bring you this tell-all guide to help get you up to speed in no time.

It’s also worth checking out the offers posted on this page. If you are a new sports bettor, there are some amazing welcome promos that are sure to help you boost your bankroll.

Understanding The Terminology

First things first — you need to understand the lingo being used on-site. Here are some of the most important terms that’ll give you a much better understanding of how sports betting works.

Favorite and Underdog

This one is pretty common, and most people will know what an underdog is. In betting terms, this phrase is used by sportsbooks to determine which team they believe has a disadvantage in an event.

The two teams are distinguished by calling one the “favorite” and the other the “underdog”, and it’s usually easy to see which team is which based on their odds. But more on that later.

Betting Against the Spread

Spread betting is one of the most popular betting styles in the United States, especially during the NFL and NBA seasons.

Since most people wouldn’t want to bet on a team that’s likely to lose, the “spread” evens the odds by making it possible to bet on an underdog and win, even if the team itself loses. Sportsbooks will assign a number to each game; this is known as the point spread and is shown next to both teams. The favorite will have a “-” before the spread, while the underdog will have a “+”.

For a bet on the favorite to pay out, the team needs to win the game by more than the point spread. However, a bet on the underdog will win if they win the game or lose by less than the point spread.


If you are new to sports betting, moneyline bets are your go-to wagers to get you betting quickly. In short, you are betting on the winner of any game. Pick the team, and if they win, you win. It’s pretty simple.

With money lines, sportsbooks denote the favorite by putting a “-” before the odds, while the underdog has a “+”.

Over/Under Bet

An Over/Under wager, sometimes called a “Totals Wager”, is different from spread or moneyline wagering. Instead of betting on the winner of the game, total wagers are concerned with how many points will be scored in the game.

For example, the over/under for the Eagles vs. Chiefs Super Bowl was set at 51 points. The total points scored in this game were 71 points. If you bet the over you’d have cashed in, but the under would have lost.


While most bets are placed on the outcome of a game, a futures bet focuses on the outcome of a championship, conference, or division. For example, you can bet on the team you think will win the Super Bowl before the NFL season has even kicked off.

Lock in $1,000s in free bets below:

  1. Click any offer button to claim the promotion

  2. Register for a new sportsbook account

  3. Follow the instructions on-screen to activate the deal

  4. Make your money go further and win big

How to Read Betting Odds

Now that you have caught up on the lingo of sports betting, the next step is to get clued up on how sports betting odds work. In the USA, we use “American odds”, which are displayed as three or four digits with a “+” or “-” symbol before them.

The smaller the number, the more likely that outcome is believed to be. For example, if one team has odds of -100 and another has odds of +200, the team with -200 odds is deemed more likely to win. A $100 bet on odds of -200 would yield $50 (plus your $100 stake), while a $100 bet on odds of +200 would see you receive $200 (plus your $100 stake).

OddsChecker has a live-action Odds Grid where you can track the best odds for your favorite wagers across all major sportsbooks live in your state.

Picks & Parlays


Betting ‘picks’ are usually classed as expert betting tips. The 33rd Team’s professional sports handicappers look into the statistics and probabilities of big games and analyze possible outcomes to help users make their own predictions, or ‘picks’.


Parlay betting adds more risk to your wagers, but the combined wagers can return some unbelievable payouts. Parlay betting can either be across multiple sporting events or can be a ‘same-game’ parlay that relies on multiple things happening in the same game.

Multi-Game Parlay — This style of parlay betting is brilliant for tournaments like the NBA and March Madness when so many games are being played at once. Combine different wagers from different games and watch your odds rise. To cash this bet, all of your combined wagers need to hit.

Same-Game Parlay — Once of the most popular betting styles during the NFL season, same-game parlays bring a ton of excitement to single games or standalone events. You could combine anything, such as the winner of the game, an anytime touchdown scorer, and the total points scored. All three legs need to hit to cash your wager.

Top Five Sportsbooks in the United States

There are 100s of options for sports bettors in the United States, but the list below takes the titles of the top five in the United States. The combination of great odds, boosts, and welcome promos make the below sportsbooks fan favorites, and if you don’t have an account yet, you are missing out on $1,000s in free bets.

  1. DraftKings Sportsbook

  2. FanDuel Sportsbook

  3. Caesars Sportsbook

  4. BetMGM Sportsbook

  5. Bet365 Sportsbook

Where Can I Bet Legally in the US?

Betting in the U.S. varies from state to state, as each locale sets its own laws. Online sports betting first became legal in some states in 2018, and now more than a dozen have joined the list.

Currently, all of these states have legalized online sports betting.

  • Arizona

  • Mississippi

  • Wyoming

  • Colorado

  • Nevada

  • Connecticut

  • New Jersey

  • Illinois

  • New York

  • Indiana

  • Ohio

  • Iowa

  • Pennsylvania

  • Kansas

  • Tennessee

  • Louisiana

  • Virginia

  • Maryland

  • Washington D.C

  • Michigan

  • West Virginia

You don’t need to live in these states to bet, you just have to be physically present there when you’re placing your bet. This means any American citizen that’s traveling through or visiting one of the states in the list above can legally bet on sports.

More states are expected to join the list in the near future, so be sure to check back to see whether your state has legalized online sports betting yet.

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