Introduction to Sports Betting

Sports betting has taken the United States by storm. Up until May 14, 2018, you basically had to go to Nevada in order to bet legally. When the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act by a landmark 6-3 decision, the floodgates opened.

Sports leagues are on board. Legislators and lawmakers are on board. Nearly half of the 50 states have some form of legal sports betting. Most even take wagers online or through mobile apps. All of the developments of the last few years would have been simply unheard of before the Supreme Court struck down PASPA.

Because of the increased visibility of wagering on games and events, it has led a lot of people to wonder, “What is sports betting?” No, not the basic act of risking money on the outcomes of a sporting event, but what actually goes into the process of sports betting? Who can bet on sports? How can you bet on sports? What is “the spread”? What is a “money line”?

Sports betting has a language all its own. Those that have been around the business for a long time rattle off the lingo and talk about odds and bet types and all of the technical elements of the industry.

For those who are just dipping a toe into the sports betting pool or those who are just jumping in with no regard for the temperature of the water, it can be overwhelming. The learning curve can be quite steep. The number of options may be surprising. Mastering the basics is a vital step of the process. Going from Handicapping 101 to Handicapping 201, 301, 401 etc. may take some time and it may take some a lot longer than others.

Don’t be discouraged. Be a sponge. Soak up all of the information that you can. Ask questions. Most people that have been in and around the business for a long time are willing to take the time to help novice and newbie bettors learn and improve.

With our Introduction to Sports Betting page, we’ll highlight a variety of different topics and also provide links to read about those in more detail. Our primary goal at is to be a resource for everybody, from the rookie bettor and the weekend warrior to the seasoned bettor looking for different perspectives.

If you have additional questions, don’t be afraid to reach out, but also don’t be afraid to go down the rabbit hole about sports betting. The more you find out, the better your chances are of having success.

Caesars Pick

First Bet On Caesars

First Bet is On Caesars up to $1,250
Claim Bonus
DraftKings Pick

40-1 On A MLB or NFL Bet

Bet $5, Get $200 Instantly
BetMGM Pick

$1,000 Risk Free

First Bet Risk Free
Claim Bonus
FanDuel Pick

Bet & Get

Bet $5, Get $150 Instantly
Just Click Here
Claim Bonus
BetRivers Pick

Deposit Match

100% Deposit Match Up To $250
Claim Bonus
SI Sportsbook

5X Your Bet

Bet $10 Get $50 In Free Bets
Claim Bonus

Risk Free Bet

$500 First Bet Risk Free
Claim Bonus

In the United States, most states require that you are 21 years of age. You must be physically located in an approved jurisdiction in order to legally bet on sports. As long as you are able to provide the basic personal information at sign up that will allow the sportsbook to verify your identity, you can sign up and start betting.

We cover the industry from a lot of angles, including Legal US Sports Betting News, and sportsbook review pages. The sportsbook review pages will explain the states that offer that particular sportsbook and information on how to sign up, claim a deposit bonus, and begin betting.

As of June 2022, the states and districts accepting legal sports bets were:

Three states had passed sports betting legislation, but were not yet ready to go live:

There are some basic betting terms that every bettor needs to understand. Whether you are presenting your bets to a representative at the counter or at a betting window, or are simply chatting with friends, colleagues, family, other associates about sports betting, these are the most common words and phrases in sports betting.

Point Spread

The spread is a handicap placed on the teams in order to bridge the gap in talent, performance, success, or simply to try and get some sort of balanced action on the game. Read More

Money Lines

The money line is the odds on a team to simply win the game. The bet types for baseball and hockey are primarily Money Line or Totals wagers. Football and basketball are going to feature more Spread Betting. Read More


The Total on a game is sometimes referred to as the Over/Under. The total on a game can vary greatly based on offensive efficiency, defensive efficiency, the location of the game, the type of team, the type of league or conference, and the pace at which the teams play. Read More


A parlay is a bet type that combines multiple wagers on one ticket and you have to win every pick to have a winning bet. The more “legs” you add to a parlay, the higher the odds, but also the lower the chances of winning the ticket. Read More


Teasers are a form of parlays in which you can manipulate the spread or the total in your favor. Like parlays, you must have at least two bets on your teaser ticket. Teasers are most popular in the NFL, but they can be done with the NBA, college basketball, and college football. Read More


The best way to describe a Pleaser is that it is a Reverse Teaser. Basically, instead of moving a line in your favor, you move the line against the side that you like. The purpose of playing a Pleaser is to enhance your payout odds if you are correct. Read More


Sports betting odds can look a little bit difficult to understand if you don’t know what you are looking at on the board. Most odds screens, including ours at, will have the Rotation Number, the Teams, the Spread, the Money Line, and the Total. Read More

Once you get into the habit of using these terms and get accustomed to seeing the odds presented and talked about in this manner, it will become second nature for you. Resources like ATS are going to be extremely beneficial as you progress as a bettor and as a handicapper. We’re happy to teach you the basics and to help with the more advanced concepts as well.

Betting on sports can be a lot of fun and can also be profitable, so long as you have an idea of what you are doing and can take advantage of the opportunities that presented by the fact that the oddsmakers have to put a line up on every single game.

You don’t have to bet every game, but they have to balance risk and consider a lot of different factors for every game. That means that they aren’t going to be right all of the time. If you can utilize these different bet types and find some edges, you can be a successful sports bettor.