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Sports Betting Basics
Before even considering placing a wager with bitcoin, it’s important to understand the basics of sports betting in the first place.
While there are many different kinds of sports betting, five main types account for the majority of wagers a player typically makes at a sportsbook. Here are the most common betting types gamblers select:
- Money line
- Point Spread
Each type of bet presents has its pros and cons. The type of bet a player selects usually depends on a number of factors including their understanding of the bet type, the sports they wager on, and their perception of value.
Let’s go over each type in detail.
Betting on the Money Line
Money line betting is arguably the most straightforward way to get in the game. In this scenario, the player receives a payout directly tied to the likelihood of a given event occurring. Sportsbooks express these odds using either decimals, fractions, or what is known as American odds. For the sake of keeping things simple, let’s use the American style throughout this entire post.
American odds list what it will cost a player to win $100 on a given bet. Say for example the NFL’s New England Patriots are the favorites to beat the Los Angeles Rams in a Super Bowl rematch. The odds display as follows:
New England Patriots (-180) vs. Los Angeles Rams (+150)
The above odds mean that winning $100 requires a $180 wager on the Patriots. It also means that if the underdog Rams win, a successful $100 wager pays out $150.
Keep in mind that sportsbooks embed their profits in the odds based on the betting trends of players across the sports betting market. This is why an even odds wager typically pays out slightly less than what the wager is worth.
This concept is clear as day in another type of popular bet. Betting on the point spread.
Betting on the Point Spread
The idea behind ‘betting on the spread’ is to bet on an event with even odds. This means the favorite has to win by a given margin or more, and the underdog must lose by a given margin or less. Let’s stick with the Patriots vs. Rams example:
New England Patriots -6.5 (-110) vs. Los Angeles Rams +6.5 (-110)
Betting on either team in the above example means it takes a $110 wager to win $100. It also means the Patriots need to win by at least seven points in order to cover the spread and win the bet. The Rams, on the other hand, can lose by six points or less and the bet still wins.
Point spread betting is particularly popular among players who love wagering on the NFL and the NBA, where a spread puts a heavy favorite and a considerable underdog on a level playing field.
NOTE: Point spread betting does exist in other sports like hockey (aka puck line betting) and baseball (aka run line betting). However, because the margin of victory in these sports is more likely to be a single goal or run, puck and run line bets combine features of a money line and point spread bet together. Players get better payouts if they bet on a team to win by one score or more, as opposed to just a single goal or run.
A parlay bet allows players to stack games together in order to increase the payout on a win. Most sportsbooks require a minimum of three selections in order to place a parlay-style wager. Both money lines and point spread bets can be included on a parlay.
The benefit of parlaying selections is that the payout is higher. The downside is that all bets on a parlay card must win in order to receive the payout. Winning five out of six bets as single money line wagers is profitable. Yet winning five out of six bets on a parlay card is a losing wager.
Placing a futures bet is what it sounds like. It appeals to bettors confident in making a long-term prediction.
Right now, for example, it’s possible to pick the Los Angeles Clippers to win the 2020 NBA Championship:
Los Angeles Clippers +333
This means a $100 wager awards a payout of $333 if the Clippers win it all. However, if any other of the 29 teams in the NBA take the crown, the bet is a loss.
The word ‘props’ is short for the proposition. A props bet considers the likelihood of Kawhi Leonard scoring more than 27 points in a given game, or whether Tom Brady completes more or less than 25 passes in a game. The outcome of a props bet does not depend on the outcome of the game itself, just the occurrence of a specific event within the game.
Using Bitcoin to Place Bets
Governments, banks, credit card companies and online payment services like PayPal continue cracking down on offshore betting. Bitcoin empowers players to keep wagering on their favorite sportsbook. Sportsbooks want to make it easy to do so. That’s why most express bitcoin wagers in dollars. The reason for this is that it safeguards bettors from the volatile 30-40% swings in price than digital currencies often face. Not only are most sportsbooks accepting bitcoins while shielding players from price swings, they’re also paying out big deposit bonuses for using it, sometimes up to 200%.
Depositing Bitcoin on a sportsbook is simple. Buy Bitcoin with a credit card at a website like Coinbase.com. The purchase is instant. Once in possession of bitcoins, the user transfers them to the sportsbook’s crypto wallet address. In the cryptocurrency world, a wallet address is just a string of long characters that identifies both the sender and receiver of the coins. Bitcoin’s transaction fees cost a few cents and transactions take anywhere from a few seconds to 20 minutes to show up on a sportsbook. All of these steps can be done using websites or mobile apps, and it’s all quick, easy and cost-effective.
One thing to keep in mind is that bitcoins trade to 12 decimal places, whereas traditional currencies trade to two. That means it’s possible to complete a Bitcoin transaction worth less than a penny. However, sportsbooks typically convert crypto into dollars and still subject players to minimums and maximums for both deposits and wagers.
Crypto Sports Betting vs. Other Deposit Options
Betting with cryptocurrency poses many advantages and a few disadvantages over other traditional deposit options.
For one, there’s no central authority in charge of bitcoin, meaning the player acts as their own banker. The power is in the hands of the individual. There is also technically no registration process for accessing the bitcoin network. While a website like Coinbase requires identification, it is possible to acquire bitcoins off the map and transfer them directly to a sportsbook. Typically, sportsbooks don’t take cash deposits without third-party involvement.
Bitcoin does have its disadvantages.
Bitcoin’s network doesn’t offer any kind of customer support. Sending bitcoins to the wrong address is irreversible. Neither the player nor the sportsbook can do anything about it. Another disadvantage is that the fees to buy bitcoin with a credit card or bank account are typically higher than a regular banking transaction fee.
Seeing that fee can definitely be an eyesore, but for both sportsbooks and gamblers, it’s still better than being at the mercy of banks and credit card issuers.
Bitcoin Sports Betting Books
There are several factors to consider in trying to find the right bitcoin-friendly sportsbook. Looking for a site that offers crypto e-sports betting? For the most part, the big-name sportsbooks don’t offer it. Non-traditional crypto sports betting sites like 1xBit, Betcoin, or mBit are likely better options.
It’s important to remember that sportsbooks work to provide players with easy-to-use deposit options, attractive bonuses and promotions, and the most favorable odds in one way or another to try to get more users betting on their platforms.
Whether players possess tons of experience sports gambling with bitcoin or not, the name of the game for the players is the same. Play only with disposable funds, manage the bankroll, weigh the odds and pick the winning team.
Welcome to the exciting world of bitcoin sports betting!