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Sports betting is a big business and it’s an activity that many sports fans like to get involved with when watching a match or a race. If you’re new to sports betting, it can seem daunting, but the good news is that it’s easier than you might think to get started. Here’s our guide to sports betting, whether you’re a football fan, interested in betting on tennis or like to catch the major horse racing events.


Odds serve two purposes in sports betting – they’re used to calculate the payouts of winning bets, plus they reflect the likelihood of any particular outcome occurring. It’s important to understand how odds work when you’re betting as there are three main types – decimal, fractional and American. Fractional odds are the most common in the UK, but these odds don’t include your initial stake. Odds of 5/1, for example, would signify a payout of five times per unit stake, so a stake of £10 would result in a payout of £50.

Decimal odds include the return of your stake as well, so odds of 3.00 would return £30, which would be your £20 profit plus your initial £10 stake. American odds are quite different and are typically referred to as money lines. They’re based on a 100 stake and show a positive or negative outcome, with positive money lines showing the profit a punter could make and negative explaining how much stake is needed to make 100 on a bet.

How to Place a Bet

Placing the wagers is a simple enough process which involves making your selection and choosing how much you want to stake. The art of placing a bet is determining where you want to place your bet, assessing the odds and doing your research. For example, if you’re betting on horse racing, you may want to check out the past performances of the competing horses and jockeys so you can choose the best competitor.

There are several ways to place a bet when you’ve decided on your pick. You can phone in your bet by making a call to your bookmaker, who will confirm the odds of your wager at the time, or you can visit your bookmaker in person to place your wager. The cashier will confirm the odds if they aren’t already displayed in the shop – remember that to claim a payout for a winning bet, you’ll need to present your winning bet slip to the cashier.

There’s also the option to bet online, which is often the easiest and most convenient option. Once you’ve opened an account and deposited your funds, you can place any bet you want with just a few clicks. There is a wide variety of online bookmakers, such as Timeform, to choose from and most offer a massive range of sports and events. The benefit of online bookies is that the odds are typically very competitive and there are often bonuses and rewards for depositing and betting with them too.

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