How to Bet on Sports: A Guide For New York Sports Bettors

By Bryan Nicholson

In the city that never sleeps, you now have the chance to embark on your sports wagering journey. The good news? You're already in the right place physically and virtually. Legalized sports betting has come to the Big Apple and is where it's at for a primer on legalized New York sports betting.

Maybe you're a beginner wagering for entertainment or one of the sharp sports bettors looking for expert picks and consistently winning strategies. Either way you've landed on the money page. We guide you through everything you need to know from a straight bet and point spread to prop bets to bankroll management skills and explanations regarding betting lines and the vig.

Where to Bet on Sports

How Placing Bets On Sports Works

Betting on sports is a game between you, the teams or players, and the bookmakers. The first thing to be aware of is that it's not exactly a fair game. The betting hold is a profit and protection margin the New York betting app and sportsbooks will use to give them an edge. The hold will apply to the selections and market as a whole, and it typically changes often through an automated system that alters betting vig or juice.

Your hope as the sports bettor is to beat this margin, and the betting lines and odds and ultimately turn a profit over time. To do this you want to look for value bets where the winning percentage implied by the odds is inefficient. Betting on sports is a fabulous pastime for entertainment purposes, but the fun comes with the chance of a big dollar prize.

  • Reading Betting Lines

    When the bookmaker sets the betting lines it adds a margin. For example take the New York Knicks vs the Brooklyn Nets. With American odds of -110 on the Knicks moneyline this means you have to wager $110 to win $100. If you want to find out the implied winning percentage of -110 odds, you divide the money you have to risk by the potential return should the wager win and multiply by 100: (110/210 = 0.5238 x 100 = 52.4%). Now if you do the same with the odds for the other team and add the two percentages together, you get 104.8%. This 4.8% is called the bookmaker margin or hold and the goal for bettors is to beat this as well as the odds. If the betting odds have the plus (+) sign against them this means you need to bet $100 to win that amount (or the proportional equivalent). You will see plus odds or minus sign odds (-) against all selections in every online market when you want to place bets on an outcome, whether you're backing the favorite team or underdog to win the game.

  • Wagering Amounts

    You can wager as much money as you are comfortable with so long as there are no limits or restrictions at the sportsbook. Some like to use $100 as standard, as it's easy to understand potential winnings, but it works the same way no matter the stake. You can bet bigger on a short price favorite or maybe have a smaller wager on multiple teams in a parlay in the hope of a bigger payout. If you placed $10 on Liverpool to beat Man UTD at +120, you would make a profit of $12 if they win. You would need to stake $12 to win $10 on a team with minus odds of -120. You could bet $50 on a 3 team parlay and make a profit of around $300 on a standard moneyline, total points scored or points spread bet if each team wins the game.

  • Choosing a Sportsbook

    As you progress in your sports betting journey there is one very important rule to follow: EV (Expected value) is a term you will become more familiar with and your goal is to try and find positive EV in all your bets. Value betting is a popular form of a sports bet amongst sharp sports bettors around Las Vegas and the US. Shopping around for the best money lines in online sportsbooks is the best way to bet on sports as it increases the positive expected value in your favor. Many experts in the sports betting industry do this while looking to build a bankroll. As well as good odds on offers, you want a New York sportsbook that is generous in giving out free bets, odds boosts and other bonuses. Sports betting pros want sportsbooks that offer a wager on each significant game, and their favorite sports and markets.

Underdogs & Favorites

Some sports bettors like to side with the favorites in games while others will look to eke out more value on the underdog. Either or a mix of the two can be a viable online sports betting strategy. When big bets or big money comes in from sharp players on a point spread for example, you can see line movements. You want to make sure you get the right side of the line whether it's the favorite or the underdog. It's all about finding the value when you bet on sports for profit.

If you bet the favorites, you might want to place a bigger wager at the shorter odds. For example, if you stake $1k on a favorite betting team at odds of -200, you would get your $1k stake plus $500 profit back if they won. Conversely, if you went smaller on the underdog for $500 at betting odds of +200, you would get your stake of $500 back plus $1k profit if they won. What might suit you as a new sports bettor depends on your risk to reward tolerance.

Types of Sports Bets

Having a wide array of betting options that suit your individual betting style is important, not to mention getting the most value out of your betting odds. You want a sportsbook that offers as many sports, markets, bonuses and ongoing promotions as possible. Sports bettors also want to be able to wager on different bet types whether it be point spread, moneyline, final score, or by how many points a team wins by.


  • Moneyline Bets

    A moneyline bet is a straight win bet on who will win the game outright. Usually a wager in a market like the New York Yankees vs the New York Mets where the Yankees are priced as -125 favorites and the Mets at +102 dogs. You can see there's a profit margin or percentage hold built into the book here.

  • Live Betting

    Live betting or in-game wagering is becoming more popular each season. You don't have to get involved pregame, you can wait to see the action unfold and then make a wager. Or if your pregame bet on the total points isn't looking good and going to lose, you might want another bet to try and win, maybe a prop points bet. You can also hedge your bet if it's looking like winning, so sportsbooks with live in-play wagering give you plenty of options when betting on sports. A hedging example is backing the overs on the point spread or totals in basketball and then you can cash out later in the game by backing the unders at a big price for a small stake.

  • Parlays

    Parlays are multiple bets where you combine two or more teams in one bet at bigger odds for bigger cash outs. The problems with parlays is that you lose when any one team fails. If you were to place the same amount on three teams combined in a parlay on the moneyline in the NFL (National football league) at odds of -110 each, you would multiply them all together and get a payout of around 6 to 1 if all three teams win.

  • Point Spreads

    A point spread is a bet where the handicapper or odds maker makes it a "fair game" by applying a (+) and (-) points handicap to each of the sides and offers around equal odds on each of the two teams, usually -110 and -110. For example the NE Patriots -110 (+2) vs IND Colts (-2) -110. If you bet the Patriots for $110 to win on the spread, you would win the money if they win, draw, or lose by just 1 points scored. You would receive $100 in cash profit plus win your stake back. If you have the Colts (-2) you would need them to win by 3.

  • Totals Betting or Over/Unders

    Odds makers set the total number for the point score or line in the match by handicapping using stats and power rankings etc. Bettors can choose whether or not they think the game will go over or under this line. For example an NBA match between the LA Lakers and the New York Knicks at a line of 215. When you bet the over and 216 or higher on the total points come in, your wager will be won. If your total point scores for each team combine for less than or equal to 215 you've lost your bet.

  • Futures

    A futures bet is essentially a season or a long term bet. If you fancy the New York Red Bulls to make the playoffs, you can back them preseason for decent odds and get paid out should they qualify for the playoffs. Futures bets offer the incentive of nice payouts but many can tie up your money for some time.

  • Prop Bets

    Many sports bettors find prop bets the most exciting bets for a bit of added interest in the game. Pro bettors and sharps like them because they are the easiest bets to find price discrepancies and therefore supply the most value in winnings. The problem with props is that if you win money regularly you might get stake factored or limited by many sportsbooks if you can read odds well. An example of one prop wager is Lebron James to score three or more 3-pointers in the game.

Most Popular Sports to Bet On

The most popular US sports will be covered in the different sportsbooks, sometimes with emphasis on local sides or more prominent sports in the community:


The National Football League (NFL) is the most popular league in US sports, so you will generally see a myriad of betting markets especially for the big featured games. NFL passion is high for youngsters growing up in the US. Players like Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are seen as idols, and there's plenty of strong quarterback prop bets available. NFL teams earn equal revenue from the viewership and sponsorship deals which adds to fan engagement.


Basketball has catapulted players from college to superstardom which draws youngsters into the sport and makes it popular. The likes of LeBron James and Michael Jordan have a huge fan base. College basketball is very popular amongst sharp sports bettors.


America's national pastime isn't as popular as it once was but retains its place in the betting hierarchy in particular US States. Major League Baseball (MLB) is considered to evoke a sense of nostalgia amongst many Americans. Every man and their dog has heard of Babe Ruth. Attendance has been on the decline but who doesn't like a bet on the star man to hit a home run?


The NHL is one of the more action-packed games in sport, and of particular interest amongst our passionate neighbors north of the border. One wager in particular to pay attention to is backing against the away side. With lots of travel involved and the National Hockey League being so draining, fatigue is a big variable in NHL betting.

College Football and College Basketball

These are the two sports youngsters grow up watching, playing and wanting to become a star in the glitz and glamour of it all. Enthusiasm is high and there's an aura about the game's big players like Peyton Manning or Michael Jordan. Physical fitness also plays a part as well as status amongst fellow students. With data and TV coverage available not being like the big leagues, it spells an opportunity for wise guys to find some good value bets.

Bet On Other Sports

There are many other ways to bet on sports in the US, whether it's PGA Tour golf, tennis, or another league. Golf betting is growing fast. The Masters at Augusta is one of the biggest betting events, and you will see all sorts of markets from the outright winner market to golf prop bets such as player score in individual rounds, or even to hit a hole in one.

Online Sports Betting in New York

We don't have long to go now before legal online sports gambling is launched in New York with no less than nine big brand sportsbooks licensed up and raring to get their fingers into the pie. The New York State Gaming Commission approved licenses for brands including Rush Street Interactive (BetRivers), DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars Sportsbook, WynnBET, . The Empire State's online betting market is expected to hit $1 billion in annual revenue. Come mid 2022 you'll have more sports betting options than you could possibly need.

Betting Lines and Odds

Sharp bettors and knowledgeable sports fans who can read odds well might hit the early Vegas odds with the intention of hitting back the other side later for a larger stake. This is called the head fake. There are soft books and sharp books and many of the odds you see at different sportsbooks will be copied these days which opens them up to exploitation. Many of the New York betting books will be using odds supplied by Kambi Sports consultancy. You can see betting lines move on the weight of money, sharp money or on air.

Betting Bonuses

With sportsbooks fighting for customer acquisition, a key component of the marketing drive is offering free bets and bonus promotions. Some books offer large first deposit matched bets or risk free bets, others offer ongoing free bets in reward for loyalty and points programs. Odds boosts, enhanced odds, and profit increase are other bonuses to become familiar with.

Sports Betting Apps

Having a betting app is essential for placing a sports bet or learning how to bet on sports. The sportsbook apps are generally quick and easy to navigate and guide you straight to the featured games, promotional offers and live content. Most of the big brands will have a sports or casino app and some, like BetRivers will offer live on the go streaming and betting when available.

Deposits and Withdrawal

The average sportsbook usually has a quick turnaround time on deposits and withdrawals. Many sportsbooks state that a withdrawal request can take up to 48 hours to process but in reality your cash comes quicker than this. Some offshore illegal sites take crypto currency which can quicken up transaction times but the most popular methods at legal sportsbooks are:

  • Casino cage for straight instant cash
  • Paypal/ eWallet
  • Cashier's check
  • Online banking / wire transfer
  • Check (can take up to 2 weeks)
  • Visa Debit and Mastercard

Customer Support

Live customer support and email options are important to have to get issues dealt with efficiently when a sports bettor signs up to new betting sites. We review all regulated brands that will have support options and FAQs to answer any queries you might have.

Sports Betting Strategies

Profitable betting isn't all about finding value in the odds. In fact that can often be the easy part. Bankroll management, diversification and understanding variance is key, similar to the stock market. Coming up with efficient strategies is important when learning how to bet on sports. There are also some tricks you can use to manipulate the sportsbook.

Fading The Public

it can pay to be contrarian in sports betting. If there is a lot of public money on a certain team or point score it can move the odds. Backing the other side then when the odds drift is often the value play even if they are more likely to lose.

Matched Betting

Matched betting is the new bonus whoring where you can sign up to multiple sites and take advantage of free bet bonuses and deposit bonuses. Basically you can use the free bets to bet one side then bet the other side on a different account to get a guaranteed win. Matched betting sites will have details and calculators to walk you through the methodology.

Arbitrage Betting

Arbitrage follows a similar concept to bet hedging. If you are line shopping sometimes you can pick up on 2 different prices where if you back them proportionally you can guarantee a profit before the game even starts. Arbs occur when the sum of the implied probabilities for all your selections add up to less than 1. This is sometimes called an underground, or over broke book.

Simple Betting Tips To Make You A Great Bettor

Betting markets are ever evolving and it can pay to follow some sharp handicappers and bettors who read the odds well. Try to stay ahead of the game by researching where all the latest and best bonuses and promotions are being offered, or new innovative bet types. Read reviews from respected sources and always use New York regulated books.

Sign Up For Multiple Deals

Signing up for multiple sportsbooks is a key way to grow your bankroll and juice every bit of value you can get. There are a few sites to consider if you bet on sports that cross check odds between the sportsbooks so you can line shop for the best price. Bettors can also take advantage of various bet promos and odds boosts across to enhance winnings.

Shop The Lines

You can see game-by-game odds movement for each team by checking your accounts at several betting apps. Closing line value is a concept you may hear about when learning how to bet on sports, and you can track that when shopping the lines. If you want to take best prices or lines, pre or in game, line shopping is a must.

Stick To A Betting System

To prevent a gambling problem, it can be good discipline to practice sticking to a system. You don't want to get too emotional when betting one team, or if you lose on a certain game or in the casino. You can also lessen variance and calculate edges more easily when keeping with the mathematics. Every regulated betting site has a few pages about responsible gaming. These are well worth a few minutes reading time.

Start With Straight Bets

Straight bets are single game bets on an event offering a point spread, total, or moneyline. Straight bets must win the game or wager outright. A straight bet is pretty basic and will help you familiarize yourself with the industry. You can back the favorites or the underdogs.

Bet Smaller Markets

The bigger the market the smaller the edge or that's how the hypothesis goes. Targeting the more obscure or derivative markets gives the bettor a good chance of beating the odds and margin. There isn't as much effort or available data or information to make the prop market lines overly efficient.

Make Small Wagers

A low risk high reward strategy is a decent way to get started in betting. Never bet above your means or you can risk developing a gambling problem. There is often value to be found with higher odds selections or even in some plus EV parlays. A high volume of small wagers on plus EV bets add up at the end of the year and turnover can be quite significant. The more bets you make, the more variance evens out.

Live Bet

Over 50% of online gambling bets now are apparently made in game. With not a lot of time to react and several traders monitoring multiple games at a time, you can find all sorts of winning opportunities with an in-play betting strategy. It can pay to watch the games developing to find different angles and edges.

Sports Handicapping

Sports handicapping is all about finding an edge over the betting operator, whether it be through researching and analyzing the games, teams and wagers, or setting the lines and the betting odds. Many sports handicappers will supply expert picks and daily tips. Betting handicappers will use an abundance of stats, key metrics, power rankings, probability theory, data models and other tools to formulate their odds and opinion. They need to know in depth how to bet on sports to be consistently winning, especially vs reduced odds in the form of margin.



Bryan Nicholson a world-renowned golf betting expert who gladly expands his expertise into covering other emerging betting markets like moneyline and BetMGM.

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