The 2020 Sports Betting How-to Guide

Improve Your Sports Betting

It’s an exciting time for sports bettors in the country. Licensed operators are popping up every day for sports betting. This US sports betting guide will cover basic sports betting, how to bet, bet types, & more.

In the midst of all this excitement, the profusion of so many new betting sites in the USA can make it confusing to pick good sportsbooks. It raises so many questions about how sportsbooks work and how sportsbooks make money.

We’ve gone through all the old and new betting sites in the USA to find you the best US sportsbooks that offer you a sports betting promo code. Let’s dive into our US sports betting guide and sports betting how to now.

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Key Takeaways

  • US sports betting is legal at the federal level
  • US sports betting guidelines vary at the local level
  • In legal states, you can bet on major US & world sports leagues
  • You can place bets at online, mobile, or retail sportsbooks
  • Different betting markets and wager types are available
  • Any sports betting how to will tell you that 2020 is looking like a great year for sports betting in the US.

2020 US Sports Betting Guide

Sports betting is becoming increasingly popular, and any good US sports betting guide will tell you exactly why. A driving factor of that increased popularity is the new legal framework in the nation.

New Jersey was among the first to challenge PASPA, passing sports betting bills in 2011 and 2012. By 2018, the 1992 PASPA act was struck down by the Supreme Court, legalizing US sports betting. Guidelines for regulations would still need to pass in each state.

In the aftermath, several states introduced US sports betting guides and guidelines. Over 13 states now regulate sports betting. How to tax sports betting, how to oversee it, and how many operators can exist are some of the things established at a state level.

States with regulated sports betting include Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Arkansas, New York, Iowa, Indiana, and Oregon. In 2020, more states are expected to issue betting guidelines, including Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Licensed Sportsbooks Operators

In the days before the US legalized sports betting, knowing how to find a reputable sportsbook wasn’t easy. Bettors flocked to offshore operators of dubious legal status.

It’s crucial that you ensure you only deposit your money with licensed and regulated operators. US sports betting guides are great, but if your chosen operator isn’t licensed, no guidance can keep your money safe.
Fortunately, today there are dozens of licensed US sportsbooks to choose from in many different states.

No sports betting ‘how to’ or US sports betting guide would be complete without a thorough review of leagues available. US Sports betting guides often summarize the different types of bets, but fail to mention the leagues popular in the US.

US sports bettors love the great staples of American sports, and national leagues. That includes sports such as football, baseball, basketball, and ice hockey. It also includes sports popular the world over, like soccer, golf, and tennis. Combat sports like boxing and MMA are also popular.

Predictably, major American sports leagues are the most popular for US players. The NFL, NBA and MLB dominate football, basketball and baseball actions. College sports are extremely popular too, including the NCAAB and NCAAF.

Common Types Of Bets

Sports betting for dummies really comes down to understanding how each betting market works. There are several general categories of betting markets. We’ll go over them up next.


Moneyline bets are the simplest kind of wager. Even if you’re a rookie when it comes to sports betting, how to place a moneyline bet should be intuitive. In a moneyline bet, you wager on a specific outcome of a match.

For example, in a game between the Knicks and the Lakers, you bet on the Knicks to win or on the Lakers to win. The bookie provides the odds for each outcome or moneylines. Bettors can place wagers at those odds. If the match ends in their chosen outcome, the bet pays out.

Moneyline bets can be 2-way or 3-way. 2-way moneylines can only have two outcomes: one of the two options must win. In 3-way moneylines, matches can end in a draw, and players can bet on a draw as well.

Point Spread

In spread betting, bookmakers determine a favorite and an underdog for every match. Then, bookies will calculate a margin of points, called a “spread”, meant to balance the difference between the two.

If you bet on the favorite, you are betting on them to win the game by an advantage greater than the spread in order for the bet to pay out. Underdog bets will pay out if they lose the game by less than the spread (or if they win, of course).

For instance, let’s say the Patriots are playing the Packers. Let’s also say the Patriots are favorites and the spread is set at 5. If the game ends Patriots 21-17 Packers:
A point spread bet on the Patriots would lose. 21 – 5 = 16, which is less than the Packers’ 17.
A point spread bet on the Packers would win. 17 + 5 = 22, which is more than the Patriots’ 21.


Handicap bets work in a very similar way to spread betting. The main difference is that point spreads are meant to balance the risk of betting on favorites and underdogs.

In the example above, both bets (Patriots -5 or Packers +5) would have the same odds. A winning bet on either side of a spread pays the same. With handicap markets, that isn’t the case. Handicaps simply offer additional levels of risk.

Let’s keep using the same hypothetical NFL game. Handicap markets could offer Patriots at -7, with a higher payout, and at -10, with an even higher payout.


Totals are one of the most popular types of bets. Player stats and historical information help bookies estimate a total. You bet on whether the score will be over or under that total.

That’s why bets on totals are often called “over/under” bets. Essentially, you’re betting on whether teams and players will outperform the expectations of the sportsbook. Totals refer to the total score of a match, a team, and even a player or combination of players.

Many sportsbooks also let you bet on partial totals, meaning, the score at halftime, or at a certain quarter.


Special bets, also called prop (as in “proposition”) bets, cover the more exotic markets. Pretty much anything you could think of that could happen in a sports game could be a prop bet.

For example, who will win the first possession in the initial tip-off in a basketball game. Or whether a certain team will score in the first inning of a baseball game. What type of submission a UFC fighter will use, or which group of rounds a boxer will go down in. These are all prop bets.

Prop bets can be pretty far out there, and many are not very likely events. Still, they can offer huge payouts to the lucky few who nail them.


Parlay bets, also called accumulators, are essentially several wagers all stacked together in one bet slip. For a parlay bet, every wager (or “leg”) must win.

It can be pretty hard to hit a whole parlay, as if one of your selections doesn’t come in, the whole bet is lost. The payoff may well be worth it, though, as parlays reinvest the winnings from each wager into the next. Potential payouts can be pretty huge.

Sports Betting: How To Read The Odds

There are things you simply have to know about sports betting. How to read the odds is one of those things.
There are several ways to express odds in sportsbooks. The most common are decimal, fractional, and American (or moneyline) odds. Our US Sports betting guide gives you the examples of each below.

American odds        Fractional odds                    Decimal odds                          Winnings on $100
-500                                      1/5                                                 1.2                                                    $120
-225                                       4/9                                              1.44                                                   $144
±100                                      1/1                                                 2.0                                                   $200
+125                                      5/4                                                2.25                                                  $225
+400                                     4/1                                                5.0                                                   $600

Betting Limits & Self-Control

An important thing to keep in mind about sports betting for beginners and veterans alike is self-control. Sports betting is a thrilling hobby, but for some people, it can quickly get out of hand.

Licensed and regulated operators implement a series of measures to help players experiencing issues with their gambling. Betting limits are almost always available, so players can control their own levels of activity over certain periods.

What Other Betting Guides & Strategies Are Available?

Here at Wetten, we have several different sports betting how to guides. We seek to explain the complexities of sports betting for dummies. From sports betting for beginners all the way up to expert strategies, we strive to provide quality information.

We offer more than just sports betting how to’s, though. Check out our other guides, including our US sports betting guide to the best sportsbooks odds for popular sports like football, baseball, and basketball. Our US gambling guide offers a list of the best online casinos for beginners which were carefully picked from our best U.S. online casinos.

Whether you are gambling in New Jersey or gambling in Pennsylvania, our online casino list will help you find the best U.S. gambling apps, daily fantasy sports sites, and sports betting odds.

Our sports betting explained series will make you feel as though you’ve had betting odds explained to you personally, with in-depth information about gambling over under, sportsbooks lines, sports betting bankroll management, and you’ll even have sports betting point spreads explained to you.

The next thing you know, all you’ll want to know about a sportsbook is how to register because you’ll have the best betting strategy for the US.

Once you know that gambling online is legal where you live, you’ll be looking att all the online casino bonus codes and online gambling deposit options.

Then, you’ll look through the best online gambling games and find the online slots for real money, before signing up for daily fantasy sports sites, and trying your hand horse betting online.
And why not? You’ll probably enjoy it.


Being familiar with popular sports and leagues offers new players insight into the market. Understanding the most common types of wagers lets them approach the sportsbook with actionable information. Finally, learning to read the odds completes their basic sports betting education. Check out some of the other sports betting ‘how to’ information available on

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