Everyone needs to start somewhere when betting, and in this guide I thought I'd start right back at the beggining. Not everyone knows what odds mean, what a handicap is or even the very basics of getting started. So if you're just getting underway on your betting journey, this guide should help to answer some of those very early questions you have on your way to becoming a seasoned punter.
The Odds The first thing you need to understand is that betting is all based on the probability of a certain outcome occurring. Whether that is who will win a certain match, how many goals will be scored or who will score the goals, each selection is given a probability of that outcome occurring by the bookmakers, something that is referred to as "the odds". Now these can be displayed in a number of different ways, most commonly either in fractional or decimal format, but they both mean the same thing.
If you're just getting going, I'd suggest you use decimal odds rather than fractional, just because they're a little easier to understand, but really you can convert any fractional price into decimal by just dividing the first number by the second number and adding 1. So 7/10 for example becomes 1.70, or 1/2 becomes 1.50. Now this price basically indicates the probability that bookmakers feel the selection has, but also determines the payout you will receive. When using decimals you just multiply the stake (how much you are betting) by the decimal price and thats how much you will receive back.
So a £10 bet on a selection at 1.50 would return £15.00 A £5 bet on something at odds of 1.70 would return £8.50 Now to calculate the probability of something occurring, just divide 100 by the decimal price. Odds of 2.00 for example would indicate that the bookies feel something has a 50% chance of landing, odds of 20.00 would indicate the bookies feel it has a 5% chance of landing, you get the idea.
The Markets Now when you're getting started it can be quite daunting looking at the massive selection of markets available and trying to understand them all. I can't go through every market that exists here for every sport, but I'll assume that by being on this website you're interested in football. To start with, stick with the markets that you are most comfortable with. Teams to win, both teams to score, total goals etc are all relatively self-explanatory. If you are thinking about having a dabble in something more exotic, before you go sticking your hard earned money down, learn what the markets mean and what outcome you would need to win. Each bookmaker has plenty of market rules that explain these kind of things, and always feel free to give me a shout on Twitter/Facebook/Telegram if you're unsure, but don't bet on things when you don't know what they mean, just because someone, somewhere told you to!
The Staking One of the things that new punters often neglect is some way to manage your money. Betting can be an entertaining hobby if you're careful and see it that way, but it can also be dangerous if you get sucked in to betting more than you can afford. Before starting on this journey, have a clear idea of what you can afford to bet, and follow something like my staking plan guide which should help you to get a good idea of how to manage your money.
And Finally...LEARN Don't just back bets for the sake of it. There are loads of guides out there across the internet and across my website which it's well worth reading before you start on this path. Whether that be ways to manage your money, learn different scenarios that you might encounter or help you to understand various markets, there's loads of resources out there that can help you out.