How to Bet on Sports in Maryland

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In November 2022 the sportsbooks with Maryland licenses could invite bettors to bet online.

Understanding the Fundamentals of Sports Betting

Sports betting is the act of placing a wager on the outcome or various aspects of a sporting event. This popular form of gambling has evolved to encompass a wide range of possibilities, allowing bettors to speculate on numerous elements within a single game. 

For instance, in basketball, one can bet on the overall winner, total points scored, individual quarter and half winners, the first player to score, player-specific statistics such as points, rebounds, and assists, and many other intricate details. 

With such a diverse array of betting options available, it is crucial for individuals to grasp the fundamental concepts and strategies in order to make informed decisions and enhance their overall betting experience.

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Decoding American Odds & Moneyline Bets

Odds convey the likelihood of an event occurring and play a crucial role in determining potential payouts. American or US odds, which are based on a $100 benchmark, are commonly used in sports betting. A positive value (e.g., +200) signifies the profit for a $100 bet, while a negative value (e.g., -200) denotes the amount required to wager for a $100 profit.

screenshot of odds info ravens vs patriots

Consider a Week 3 NFL matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots, with the Ravens at -165 odds and the Patriots at +140. In this scenario, a bettor would need to wager $165 on the Ravens to potentially earn a $100 profit (receiving their $165 back plus an additional $100).

Conversely, if they bet $100 on the Patriots and the team wins, they would receive their initial $100 back along with a $140 profit. This particular wager, focused on the outright winner of the game, is known as a moneyline bet. Understanding how to interpret odds and various bet types is vital for informed decision-making in sports betting.

Role of Skill & Research in Sports Betting

While luck is an inherent aspect of gambling, sports betting involves a degree of skill that allows bettors to make more informed decisions. Thorough analysis and understanding of team and player statistics, historical matchups, and situational factors can provide valuable insights to guide bettors’ strategies. As such, sports betting is not solely reliant on luck; knowledge and expertise can significantly influence the outcome of wagers.

The odds offered by bookmakers reflect the general consensus and research conducted, but bettors can further enhance their chances of success by conducting their own analysis. Studying trends, tendencies, and situational elements enables bettors to make calculated decisions and place bets with greater confidence, increasing the potential for successful wagers.

Exploring Various Types of Sports Bets

Sports betting offers a diverse range of bet types, allowing bettors to choose the most suitable option based on their preferences, risk tolerance, and desired outcomes. Each bet type has distinct requirements, odds, and subjects, such as teams, players, or total scores.

As previously discussed, the moneyline is the most common bet type, in which bettors simply wager on the team they believe will win. The positive or negative odds indicate the perceived likelihood of a given outcome and the potential payout.

  • Point Spread
odds slip for spreads betting type

In an NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Football Team, the Cowboys are favorites and expected to win by 4.5 points. Betting on the Cowboys means they must win and cover the spread of 4.5 (beat Washington by at least 5 points). Betting on Washington means they don’t need to win, but they need to come within at least 4.5 points of winning for the bet to be successful.

Either way you bet on the spread here, you’ll need to bet $110 to win $100. The oddsmakers try to set the spread number at a mark that will cause bettors to bet evenly on both sides.

  • Over/Under
odds info over under

In an NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics, the Over/Under is set at 215.5. Betting on the over implies that the total combined score of the game will be above 215.5. Betting on the under implies that the total combined score will be below 215.5.

  • Futures Bets

An example of a futures bet in MLB would be wagering on the winner of the World Series before the season begins. These bets are inherently risky due to the uncertain nature of the outcome, but they can offer great odds on unpopular picks.

screenshot of future bets
  • Prop Bet

In an NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Chicago Blackhawks, a prop bet could involve wagering on whether Sidney Crosby will score a goal. These bets focus on individual performance rather than the overall game outcome.

screen shot of pros bet
  • Parlay

A parlay is when you bet on two or more outcomes in the same bet. For example:

screen shot of betslip for parlay bets

In this parlay, you’re betting on the Vikings to win, Justin Jefferson and Miles Sanders to score touchdowns, and Kirk Cousins to throw for over 279.5 yards. These are risky bets because you need every event or “leg” in your parlay to happen in order to win the bet. If one leg doesn’t hit, you lose the whole bet.

  • Round Robin

Using the same college football example, a round robin would create three separate two-team parlays: Alabama and Clemson, Clemson and Ohio State, and Alabama and Ohio State. Bettors win money for each successful two-team parlay, but the overall payout is less than if all three teams were part of a single parlay bet.

By understanding these various bet types and their mechanics, bettors can make more informed decisions when placing their wagers, tailoring their betting strategies to their preferences and risk tolerance.

Other Types of Bets

Pleasers: Pleasers are similar to parlays, but the point spreads are adjusted in favor of the bookmakers, making it more challenging to win but offering higher potential payouts.

Teasers: Teasers allow bettors to adjust point spreads in their favor, making it easier to win but offering lower potential payouts compared to traditional parlays.

Live Betting: Live betting involves placing wagers on events that are already in progress, with odds that change dynamically based on the game’s current status.

Half/Quarter Betting: Half or quarter betting focuses on the outcomes of specific segments of a game, such as the first half or a particular quarter, instead of the entire game.

Asian Handicaps: Asian handicaps eliminate the possibility of a draw by applying a goal or point handicap to even out the perceived differences between teams or players.

Straight Bets: Straight bets are single wagers placed on a specific outcome, such as the winner of a game or the total number of points scored.

Alternate Lines: Alternate lines offer bettors different point spreads or Over/Under totals with adjusted odds, allowing them to choose more or less risk based on their preferences.


What is sports betting?

Sports betting is the act of placing a wager on the outcome of a sporting event, such as the winner of a game, the total points scored, or the performance of individual players.

How do I read odds?

Odds represent the perceived likelihood of an event occurring and determine potential payouts. American odds use a plus (+) or minus (-) symbol to indicate underdogs and favorites, respectively. For example, +200 means a $100 bet would return a $200 profit, while -200 means you need to bet $200 to win $100.

What is a point spread?

A point spread is a margin by which a favorite team is expected to win. To cover the spread, the favorite must win by more than the specified margin, while the underdog must either win outright or lose by less than the spread.

What is over/under betting?

Over/Under betting involves wagering on whether the combined score of both teams in a game will be over or under a predetermined number set by the bookmaker.

What is a parlay?

A parlay is a bet that combines multiple individual wagers into a single bet. All selections within the parlay must be correct for the bet to win, resulting in higher payouts but also an increased level of risk.

What is a prop bet?

A prop bet, or proposition bet, is a wager placed on a specific event or occurrence within a game, such as a player’s performance or the first team to score. These bets focus on individual events rather than the overall game outcome.

What are futures bets?

Futures bets involve wagering on an event that will occur in the future, such as the winner of a championship, league, or award. These bets often have longer time horizons and are riskier due to the uncertain nature of the outcomes.

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