How to Bet on Sports – What’s the Best Betting Strategy?

In the world of sports betting, there are many terms that are thrown around more than others. From probabilities to stack sizes, money-back offers to juice, there are a lot of words and phrases that you will come across if you’re serious about taking part in sports betting. Let’s dive into how to bet on sports the right way so that you can become an expert in no time!


This is pretty self-explanatory. The probability of an event or action happening is the chances of it actually taking place. For example, if you were to place a bet on the Chicago Cubs to win the World Series, the probability of them winning would be a percentage calculated by the bookmakers based on all the statistics and pertinent information about the matchup. One of the biggest problems that people have when it comes to sports betting is not understanding how probabilities work and what the numbers behind them mean. A useful guide to help you understand the concept and how it applies in sports betting is below.

Betting Manicure

If you’re reading this, I assume that you’re already familiar with what a manicicure is. Basically, it’s a paint or nail polish treatment where you paint or lick the nails to achieve a certain look. Well, in sports betting, this is also known as “going over” or “betting on” your opponent. The idea is to pick the right side — whether it’s a favorite or an underdog — so that you can get paid when the other team wins. For example, let’s say that you’re backing the San Francisco 49ers against the Miami Dolphins in the 2017 NFL season. At the time of writing, the odds of the 49ers winning were 1.5, while the Dolphins were given an underdog status (and thus, you get paid more if they win). Now, let’s say that you’re going over the spread and the 49ers win. You will win your bet, but not without risking some serious money as the payout would be very slim. Conversely, if the Dolphins win, you stand to lose a large sum of money (but you also stand to win a large sum of money if the over/under wins).


Payback is used to describe the ratio of profit to loss when betting on games. If you’re looking to try your hand at sports betting, knowing how much you can expect to get back on your investment is a good idea. For example, if you wager $100 and win, you will typically get your $100 back plus $180 in profit. However, if you bet $100 on the Detroit Lions and they win, you will only get your initial $100 back (plus whatever the bookmaker’s payout is). Nowadays, many sportsbooks offer varying paybacks depending on the odds of the bet. For instance, NBA and NFL sportsbooks have higher paybacks than college basketball and football books.

Stack Size

This refers to the amount of money you’re allowed to wager. Most sportsbooks will let you set how much you’re willing to wager per day, per week, or per month. However, the more you wager, the more you will win or lose. Bigger stacks tend to lead to bigger rewards and bigger losses (but that’s only if you’re lucky). You should understand how much you can afford to risk before you start betting. Even then, it’s usually best to start small and then progressively increase your wagers until you’ve reached a point where you can confidently manage your betting budget.

Poker Face

Poker face is used to describe when a person is acting or claiming to be acting in a way that is not their true nature. In sports betting, this is often used in reference to when a player feigns injury in order to get out of a game or match. For example, let’s say that you’re watching a college basketball game and a player on the opposing team falls to the ground in pain. You assume (or maybe you’re convinced) that he is faking it in order to get himself out of the game. Well, if that’s the case, you might “check” the player (meaning that you will not stand at any additional risk if he is found to be faking it). After all, what’s the worst that could happen? Well, he could really be hurt and you would end up losing your money. Knowing how to spot a fake injury or how to identify an act that is not your typical sports behavior can help you avoid getting burned by going over or betting on an injury (or a player acting in a way that is not their typical style).


Betting on sports is usually a losing proposition, but it can be profitable if you keep repeating the process over and over again. The “doctrine” behind this strategy is called the martingale; it was created in 1881 by a French mathematician named Georges Carpentier. The principle behind it is that you never surrender (hence the name “martingale”) and that by continuing to bet you will eventually win. While this might seem like a convenient way for a person to make money, it can also be a dangerous way to bet if you don’t know how to analyze the odds or if you’re just trying to follow a lucky streak. Even then, it’s usually best to avoid using this strategy in sports betting altogether.


This is what bookmakers call the commission or percentage that they take from your winning bets. The bigger the juice, the more opportunities you have to win. For example, if you wager $5 and win, you’ll earn $2 in juice on that particular wager. This is also why it’s usually best to avoid betting on teams or players that you don’t know much about. It’s also why it’s best to avoid betting if the team or player is from a different country than you are in (because of different laws and regulations governing sports betting). Finally, make sure that you fully understand how juice works (especially the effects it has when combined with other elements such as payback and stack size) before you start using it.


Bias is another word for preference. In sports betting, it is used to describe the tendency for a gambler or bookmaker to either over- or undervalue a particular game or event. The most common example of bias is when a bookmaker has an inherent preference for one team or player over another. This can lead to a significant discrepancy in the point spreads between what is initially given and what the true odds should be (if, in fact, there was absolute fairness and both teams or players were given an even chance of winning).

Knowing how bias works and how to identify it can help you determine whether or not you should wager on a game. For example, if you’re watching the NCAA basketball tournament and notice that several of the games have ridiculous spreads (meaning that one team is given an extremely high chance of winning while the other is given very slim odds of winning), you might want to avoid wagering on those games (unless you’re feeling particularly lucky).

Now, let’s say that you do decide to wager on one of those games. You will not only get the entertainment value of witnessing a great game (assuming that it’s not a blowout before the beginning of the fourth quarter), but you will also have the opportunity to potentially win some money. Knowing how the bias factor works and understanding how the point spread is calculated can help you separate facts from fiction and get the best outcome possible.