Guide to sports betting: a selection of odds

Beginner’s Guide to Sports Betting

We know how much you love daily fantasy sports, but sometimes it just feels right to shake things up a bit. So, we thought it might be a good idea to introduce you to the wonderful world of sports betting.

Many people are starting to see the clear similarities between sports betting and daily fantasy sports, but compared to DFS, this type of gambling can seem daunting. We’ve created a beginner’s guide to sports betting to help you get going.

Why bet on sports?

American football players kicking

Have you seen our guide to fantasy NFL?

Simply put, betting on sports is great fun. It adds adrenaline and excitement to something that you’re already interested and emotionally invested in, so we think it can only be a good thing!

People have been betting on sports for thousands of years, potentially since the advent of organised sport entirely. Sports betting is now considered a respectable pastime—it’s certainly shaken off some of the seedy image that used to be associated with it. Of course, it’s not without risks, but what form of gambling is?

Played responsibly, this type of betting can be a great way to enjoy your favourite sports, and it will help you keep on top of the best DFS picks as well!

Picking your bets

In a similar way to DFS, being a successful sports bettor relies on good research. Careful analysis of a team or player’s form, coupled with a solid interpretation of the odds is, generally speaking, the way to get the best outcome. There’s a wealth of resources on the internet to help you play to your advantages.

That being said, the fun of sports betting, and indeed of sport itself, is that you can never predict the result. Simply picking only the teams who are on the best form all the time is also unlikely to help you win anything substantial, as the odds will be significantly weighted in the bookmakers’ favour. For this reason, sometimes you need to take calculated risks—betting on the underdog.

Before we examine the concept of odds in more detail, let’s take a look at the different types of bet you can generally find at bookmakers in the UK.

If you haven’t read them yet, take a look at our reasons to get into baseball.

Different types of bet

Single bets

A single bet is the standard type of bet you’re likely to be most familiar with. To place a single bet, you simply choose an outcome of a match/game/tournament/etc. and wager your stake.

Accumulator bets

Accumulators, or ‘accas’ as they’re often known colloquially, have grown in popularity massively in recent years. In this type of bet, you select multiple outcomes. For instance, you could pick Manchester United, Crystal Palace, and QPR to win on any given Saturday. In order to win, you need to correctly predict all of these outcomes. The more bets you combine, the greater the odds are. This can result in huge potential winnings.

So, how do accas work? Well, when one of your bets comes in, the money from that is then transferred onto the next bet, and then onto the next, and so on and so forth.

Often, novice bettors are drawn in by the potentially massive payouts they offer, but you’ve got to remember that the odds are high because your chance of winning are very slim. In our opinion, accumulators are a great side bet, but they’re not really the kind of bet you want to rely upon too heavily—there’s simply too much variance.

System bets

System bets work similarly to accumulators in that you select multiple outcomes and combine them into one bet. The main difference between these two types of bet is that with system bets, not all of your predictions have to be correct for you to win.

For instance, in a system 2/3 bet, you make 3 predictions. To win, only 2 of them have to be correct. This can be a really exciting way of betting, without the huge risk of a straight accumulator.

Analysing your odds

Bookmakers advertising their odds at the races

Image from The Independent

As we’re sure you’re aware, odds tell you the likelihood of something happening. They are presented as a fraction, which reflects the amount that you’ll win if your bet comes in.

For instance, on a 4/1 bet, for every £1 you bet, you’d win £4.

This can also be used to calculate probability. For instance, with that same 4/1 bet, 1 / (4+ 1) = 0.20. This means that there’s a 20% chance of the event happening.

Paying close attention to these odds is key to being a successful sports bettor. For this reason, we’d recommend starting out with a small number of bets, so that you have the ability to keep track of them all at once.

What not to do

That’s the basics of sport betting covered, but as with any form of gambling, you need to be careful to avoid common pitfalls that represent poor long-term strategies, and can even lead to compulsive gambling behaviour.Prohibited red circle

Here’s what not to do:

#1: Betting with your heart rather than your head

Letting your emotions get the best of you can be really dangerous. We know you’ve got favourite teams and players who you regularly bet on, but thinking that this will automatically lead you to success is never going to get you anywhere!

As much as it might sound like heresy, the old gambler’s myth of ‘never bet against your own team’ is exactly that—a myth. Do your research and pick your bets wisely—rather than getting carried away by your personal loyalties and allegiances.

#2: Trying to win back what you’ve lost

This is a really dangerous strategy in any form of gambling, but it’s particularly reckless when it comes to sports betting. Unlike table games, slots, or bingo, where the law of averages states that eventually you’ll end up with a bankroll that’s similar to when you first started, sports betting is completely unpredictable. It’s just not going to work, and it’s potentially very dangerous. Don’t do it!

#3: Betting under the influence of alcohol

These tips all lie along the same lines: basically, you need to be as well-informed and well-prepared as possible to be a sensible and successful sports bettor. Betting while under the influence of alcohol has the potential to seriously jeopardise this.

As much as you might like to have a beer while watching the game, if you’re being honest with yourself, do you think you’re more rational after a drink? We’re willing to bet (no pun intended!) that the answer is no!

#4: Trying to run before you can walk

There’s a wealth of information online about complex betting strategies to help you win big in the sports arena. As valid as many of these are, there’s also a lot of information out there that could confuse or mislead even the most experienced bettor. For this reason, it’s best to stick to a simple strategy when you start out.

When you’ve established yourself and feel like you want to push a bit further, maybe then you can try out one of the more intricate methods of sports betting. Even then, we’ve found that a lot of online guides are unfounded in their recommendations, so it might just be best to keep things simple full stop!


That’s it—welcome to the world of sports betting. Whether you’re playing seriously or just as a bit of diversion to your burgeoning DFS career, just remember to keep it fun!

Don’t forget to check back every week for DFS tips, tricks and advice. At DailyFantasyUK, we’ve got you covered!

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