Getting Started in Sports Betting

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If you're a sports fan, it's a pretty safe assumption to say you know that betting, both legal and illegal, takes place on practically every professional game and many college games. If you've ever wanted to place a bet yourself, but weren't really sure how, you've come to the right place. We'll explain what you need to do to be placing bets on sporting events in no time.

If you're completely new to sports gambling, I would suggest reading Sports Betting Basics, which explains the most popular types of bets on sports and gives a little history about sports betting, as well.

It's important to note that while sports betting is legal in many countries throughout the world, the United States takes a different view, which is explained in Is Online Sports Betting Legal?

Choosing a Betting Outlet

The first step for the new sports gambler is to find somebody to accept their bets. For those who live in an area where sports betting is legal, it's often as easy as walking down the street and finding an establishment that is in business for the sole purpose of accepting sports wagers. Those who wish to place sports bets where it is illegal are faced with two primary choices. They can bet through bookies or through online sportsbooks.

Selecting an online sportsbook is the easier of the two for the simple reason that online books will accept anybody and everybody as customers, as long as they have the ability to place money into their betting account. For more information on selecting the right online sportsbook, be sure to read How to Choose an Online Sportsbook.

As with anything that involves a great deal of money, there are some shady online sportsbooks out there, so remember to take some time researching before sending your hard-earned money to any sportsbook. Two sportsbooks I can recommend without hesitation are Bookmaker and GTbets. I have written reviews of the both sportsbooks.

The review of Bookmaker can be found here while the review of GTbets can be found here.

Illegal Bookies

The other option sports gamblers have is betting through illegal bookies, which is more difficult to get started doing. For obvious reasons, illegal bookies don't advertise their business and the vast majority of them require a referral from a current customer. Since the majority of illegal bookies accept wagers on credit, instead settling accounts with bettors once a week or when a predetermined limit of wins or losses has been reached, along with that referral will usually come a guarantee to cover any losses the new client cannot pay. So bettors are usually a bit reluctant to introduce new clients to their bookie except for their very best friends.

Illegal bookies have been vilified in movies and nearly everyone has seen a bookie send "Guido and the Boys" out to rough up a non-paying customer, which usually includes several broken bones. While the rough stuff does happen on occasion to non-paying sports gamblers, today's bookies are much more devious and usually do something much more painful than rough somebody up. They threaten to tell the bettor's wife.

Still, there can be some advantages to dealing with bookies, or locals as they are often referred to, and some of those advantages are discussed in Dealing With Local Bookies.

What's Next?

Now that you have somebody to accept your sports bets, the next step is simply making your wagers. But many sports gamblers quickly realize that picking winners is more difficult that it sounds.

The best advice I can give to new sports bettors is to read as much as possible about sports gambling. Naturally, I'm a bit partial to the material on this site, and there is plenty of other advice, some very good and some very bad, available elsewhere on the Internet. Don't be afraid to ask questions of those who have traveled down the sports gambling path before you, as it can be easy to feel a bit lost at times. But once you get steered back on the right course, your journey can be and should be extremely enjoyable.