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How to bet on sports

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  • Different types of sports bet
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Sports Betting Explained

Successful sports betting

There are no magic secrets to becoming a successful Sports bettor, but there are some basic guidelines that will help you maximise your chances of winning, whilst avoiding the many pitfalls that attract inexperienced gamblers - the so-called 'mug punters' that bookies rely on.

This guide to sports betting will walk you through all the essentials that you need to know. We give you a basic tutorial on betting odds and how they work, explain the different types of bet you can place, the different options you have when placing bets, recommend a selected list of online bookies (and show you their latest bonus offers!) and give you expert betting advice on both Horse Racing and Soccer.

Choosing your Bets

The first decision for punters is the kind of bet to place - whether to bet on 1 horse to win (a single), or whether to combine more than 1 selection in multiple bets ie a double (2 selections), a treble (3 selections) or an accumulator (4 plus selections). There are a plethora of multiple bets available, which offer numerous combinations of multiple selections.

A Trixie combines 3 selections in 3 doubles and 1 treble making 4 bets, so you need to multiply your stake by 4 e.g a £10 Trixie will cost a total of £40. The most poplular Horse Racing bet is a Lucky 15. This bet consists of 4 selections combined in 4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles and an accumulator. Most bookies offer a concession on this bet of at least double the odds if you select only one winner, hence its rise in popularity. So if you had placed a £1 Lucky 15 - total stake £15 - on The General's selections on Saturday 15th February, you would have had an 8/1 winner which would have returned £17 (8 x 2 plus £1 stake returned) and a small profit.

Some bookies offer treble odds for 1 winner, so make sure you check out our bookies page for the best deals. Also, bookies like Betfair are now offering 'Cash out multiples' where you can settle your bet at any stage of your accumulator eg if your first 2 bets are winners, you can cash in the bet at that point and guarantee a profit. A great option for the more cautious punters!

Choosing your Odds

The second decision facing punters is whether to accept the odds given from online bookies or to seek the alternative odds offered on the Betfair exchange. In its purest form, Betfair is simply a matter of opinion backed up by cold hard cash. If I thought a certain horse or team couldn't win, then I can lay them - in other words accept bets from other punters that hold a different opinion on the outcome of the event. This is where Betfair holds an advantage over regular bookies, the punter i.e YOU can choose to be either a backer or a layer. We explain the differing odds available in this article.

Sometimes, it can be profitable to wait and see how an event is going before you place a bet. This is called In-Play betting and is another initiative that punters can take advantage of. If you are undecided about a certain team due to new signings or a new manager, then you have the option of betting during the match. The odds may drift - get longer - from the original quote or they may contract - get shorter - depending on how the match is going. However you will then have more information at hand and be able to make a more informed decision on the outcome.

Assuming you follow our advice, you'll want to know how much you have won! Fortune Palace offers a quick and simple Instant Bet Calculator that can be found via the link at the top of this page.

Choosing your Bookmaker

Choice of bookmaker is key in ensuring you get the best offers, markets and odds. Fortunately for punters, you can have as many accounts open at one time as you like and take advantage of any offers. For Example BetVictor are currently running a NRNB (Non runner No bet) offer on all Cheltenham races. This is a great offer for Ante Post bettors, as you can take a punt on a decent price horse with the proviso that if it doesn't measure up and misses the race, then you get your money returned. If you took the General's advice on the 8th February, then you will be sitting on an Ante Post bet on Last Instalment at 50/1 to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup with the NRNB proviso. This horse has a history of bad legs and may not turn up, but as its current odds are now 8/1, the advice given was sound. Other bookies offers include Best Odds Guaranteed, a safety net for early punters wherein you are guaranteed to get the best price for your selection, no matter if it drifts.

Online bookies offer punters a bonus on opening accounts. These generally comprise a Free Bet to your original stake up to a maximum value or a Refund if your horse gets beaten. Some bookies e.g SkyBet offer a weekly free bet. As with all decisions regarding betting, we compare all the offers of our selected bookies on this page to help you get the best deal for your betting.

Expert Advice

Our in house tipster The General offers betting advice on his weekly blog. On numerous occasions during the year, he will put up daily blogs for the main meetings, starting with Cheltenham in March. He is also a leading exponent of Ante Post betting and updates punters on the best bets in advance. We run a dedicated Grand National page each year which you can find on the site using the link via The General's Blog. He specialises in Horse Racing and leads a glamorous life style thanks to his professional and successful approach to betting.

Become a Specialist

Our advice to all punters is to specialise in a certain area of betting, to become successful. There are many fields in which people can now bet and if you try to become an expert in all of them, then you will end up either spreading your time or your stakes too thinly and ending up with smaller or no profits. It is well worth the time to experience all aspects of gambling if you are new to the business, and you should see it as a business if you want to be a success. Do you want to be a layer - use Betfair? Do you have a cautious approach - Bet In Play at Bet365? Do you like to bet in advance - Ante-Post betting gets you big odds? Do you prefer sports betting - Football, Rugby, Tennis, Cricket etc? Try to find your niche, study, study, study and when you know what you are doing, study some more. You don't want to be a jack of all trades but master of none. You want to be the number one expert in your chosen field. There's no reason why you can't be the most successful punter ever. The only thing stopping you is YOU!