Beginner’s Guide To Online Sports Betting

April 11, 2017 14 min to read

Online sports betting is growing in popularity by the year, with millions of users taking part in some form of betting activity annually.

Currently, it is estimated that total users wagers placed throughout the year on sports is worth over $250 billion. This is on sport alone. Roughly $100 million is placed on the Super Bowl alone.

In an environment where fans love to sound like an expert, online sports betting offers these ‘experts’ to put their money where their mouth is and show off their track record.

A damning fact is that vast majority of punters lose their money. So although many people like to speak about how much they know prior to placing a bet, very few can call themselves ‘experts’ afterwards.

We set up Alpha Sports Betting in order to reveal what it takes to becomes one of the few punters that can call themselves an expert.

In the past few weeks that Alpha Sports Betting has been up and running, we have been posting a series of different articles on various sports betting aspects.

The feedback we received (although consumers enjoyed our content), was overwhelming to navigate through article after article in the hope of grasping a solid understanding on online sports betting.

So we have responded by creating an Alpha Sports Betting beginner’s guide to online sports betting, covering all the basics in one piece of content.

This will serve as your bible to your future betting activity, reveals all the must do and do-nots in the pursuit of making a quick profit.

This guide will cover the fundamentals of online sports betting, which betting sites we recommend, tips on how to form your own strategy and most importantly the keys to responsible betting.

By the time you have finished reading this article, you will be known to begin your own betting venture.

Beginner’s Guide To Online Sports Betting – Fundamentals

Beginner’s Guide To Online Sports Betting

Money Management

Ultimately, you need to have money in the first place to bets. As obvious as this may sound, I am baffled by the lack of practicality people have when managing their funds.

In order to have an longevity in your betting activity, you need to have a disciplined approach when dealing with your own funds. Do not let an opportunity to make money go to your head. Just like you found that opportunity, you will find others.

When finding this opportunities, you must not be sucked into delusions of grandeur. There is a realistic chance that your bet doesn’t work out. If doesn’t, it is ok.

As long as you did not put an unreasonable amount of money into that bet, you may move to your next betting opportunity.

Set an overall budget, monthly and weekly limits and stake caps per bets. These will help you keep your activity reasonable.

Do Not Stick To One Bookie

As we saw with the statistics at the start of the guide, online sports betting is very lucrative. With this lucrativity comes huge competition between bookmakers, forcing them to come up with unique features to differentiate themselves from each other.

This is fantastic for us punters as bookmakers are offering several incentives for consumers to use their service ahead of others.

For example, Bet365 offer the best in-play product on the market while Betfair have the best betting exchange platform.

To take advantage of these features, create multiple accounts to capitalise on these opportunities and maximise your returns. Also, these bookies have attractive sign-up bonuses which is a nice byproduct of creating multiple accounts.

No Accumulators

As tempting it is to multiply your odds on your betslip, do not use accumulators. Adding more variables to your betslip on decreases your chances of winning.

As obvious as this sounds, too many people are swayed by the quick returns accumulators provide. This often ends up being the punter’s demise. Stick to one outcome you feel is an absolute certainty. In the long-term, you will be better off for it.

Stick To Sports You Follow

Bet on sports that you would be following without any financial incentive. In the sports that you have been following on a regular basis, you would have an understanding beyond pre-match statistics and opinions.

Therefore, focusing on these areas puts you in a position to make better decisions than you would on a sports you wouldn’t naturally follow.

You will also be able to formulate your own opinions and act on your own instincts rather than being easily influenced by an opinion you come across.

Have A Fixed Break Every Month

Betting can be very stressful on the mind and this can lead to making miscalculated decisions. Setting a regular fixed break at the end of each month is a good way to regain focus and re-strategise your betting activity.

Although you won’t be making any income from betting in that week, you will make money in the long-term as you will be in better condition to make the correct decisions.


In the history of anything, short-term thinking has never prevailed over long-term thinking. Be patient. If you are planning on starting your betting activity with the mindset focused on quick returns, you will lose.

Teach yourself to enjoy small wins as the road to success is not one giant leap, but the result of many steps.

The best bettors are the ones who are focused on their long-term goal rather making a quick buck, and this is vital if you wish to become a successful sports bettor.

strategies for sports betting


Now that we have clarified the must-dos for every betting venture, we will now talk about four main characteristics you should implement into your betting strategy when placing wagers.

Do Not Look At Odds Before You Know Your Bet

A common error rookie punters do is they let themselves be impressed by the promotions and odds at the homepage of their betting platform.

A way to avoid this happening to pre-decide what your prediction will be before making your way to the bookmaker, regardless of the odds. This helps you think with a clear mind and make predictions purely on instinct.

At the end of the day, the outcome that actually happens is the one that makes money so it is useless basing a bet on potential winnings. Bet on what will actually produce some form of return.

Keep A Record Of Your Betting Activity

In any profession, self-criticism is an important part for self-development.

Keeping a record of your betting activity allows users to self-analyse and understand in which areas they are making and losing the most money.

This creates the possibility for punters to restrategise and refocus their time and effort in the most efficient way possible.

In-Play Markets

I strongly recommend all users to looking into the possibility of betting on in-play markets.

In-play betting allows users to make prediction on actual real-time events. This is an unique opportunity for punters which allows them to make more calculated risks.

In my personal betting activity, so a dramatic increase in my success rate in my wagers when I shifting my focus onto live betting.

Do Your Homework

Research is key in sports betting. It is the most tedious part and the work people avoid, and that is way majority of players lose.

Getting a proper understanding of the game is crucial in making sound decisions. Being focused on the returns alone is a recipe for disaster.

Research also includes the platform itself, fully understanding the terms of the bet you are placing. It is common for punters to lose a bet over a misunderstanding of the terms.

Betting Sites For Betting Beginners

At Alpha Sports Betting, we are constantly reviewing different betting sites to provide a basis to punters on which bookmaker is ideal for you. The betting market is fierce and this forces bookmakers to come up with unique offers to have an edge over its competitors.

Different offers appeal to different customers. Everyone has their preferred markets therefore would prefer different bookmakers over others.

These are the Alpha Sports Betting top 3 bookmakers for online sports betting, each having their own strengths outlined. This will make your choice easier when deciding which sports betting site to use.

William Hill

WillHill Sports Online

William Hill is one of the most established names in the betting industry, with the company being founded way back in the 1930s.

William hill have an attractive sign up bonus which is users are given a €30 free bet when placing a first bet of €10.

On top of that, William hill have regular competitive promotions. This combined with competitive odds and a huge variety of markets, this has put William Hill to the top of the pile.

The range of markets is so diverse that they have a subject of interest for everyone, this list includes sports like hurling and australian football.

In case of any dispute you may want to bring up, William Hill have a reputation for offering excellent customer care. They are multilingual and offer their customer care on their website, email, social media, fax and telephone.

The mobile app is one of the best on the market as you would expect from a bookmaker like William Hill. It is known for its simplicity and slickness, making it a joy to use for users. The app is available on both Android and iOS.

The withdrawal and payment system that William Hill offer is one of the most efficient systems on the market. Multiple currencies are accepted and all traditional methods such as Visa and Mastercard are accepted.

A variety of E-wallets are also available.

With everything considered, William Hill has an excellent product in all sectors. This justifies the huge market share it has today.


Bet365 Sports Betting

Bet365 is arguably the strongest brand in sports betting which is a result of their extensive marketing campaigns.

It was founded in 1974 by the Coates family and since then has been the benchmark bookmaker in the industry. Today, Bet365 is the 7th biggest private company in the United Kingdom.

Bet365 has built a reputation for the usability of the platforms it has to offer, playing a key role in the bookmaker’s success. Using Bet365 is an enjoyable experience from its platforms, to it’s customer care and high value odds.

Bet365 offers all the sports you can ever think of and also combines this with the largest range of betting markets of all bookmakers. Sports include Martial Arts and Gaelic sports.

Bet365 is the ideal bookmaker for punters who focus their activity on In-play betting. With Bet365 having the best in-play product on the market with it’s great live streaming and smooth real-time odds.

The sign-up bonus is one of the best in the business. The offer is a 100% free bet on first deposit, this is capped at €200.

Customer care is excellent, especially the live chat that they offer. They also offer their support through email, fax, phone and call back.

As you would expect, Bet365 have an impeccable payment method. All the payment and withdrawal methods you will ever need are offered, including a variety of e-wallets.

As an in-play bettor myself, Bet365 is the perfect bookmaker for me and strongly recommend it to any bettor.


Betfair Sports Betting Review

Betfair began during the dotcom bubble burst in the last 1990s and was of the few to survive it. This survival has allowed Betfair to establish themselves as one of the giants in the industry.

Betfair had initially started purely as a betting exchange platform which had hugely disrupted the betting market.

The reason why the concept of a betting exchange was so successful is that it offered odds that a sportsbook could not afford to. Today, Betfair still dominate the betting exchange market.

After a few years, Betfair expanded their horizons by introducing a sportsbook platform.

Betfair offer an extensive range of betting markets on both platforms. This includes sports like Horse-Jumps, Speedway and Cycling.

Betfair have a very competitive sign-up bonus, offering €30 bonus on your first €10 bet. They also have impeccable customer support, but is only offered in English. Their support is 24/7 and offered through Twitter, Facebook, email and phone.

They also offer two separate apps, one for their sportsbook and the other for their exchange platform. Both are great apps and are available on Android, iOS, Windows and Linux.

Betfair have a great payment and withdrawal system, offering all the options you would want. A negative is that you are charged 1.5% per transaction.

Betfair is the obvious choice for all betting exchange users, and also offer a competitive sportsbook so would recommend to anyone to give them a try.

Responsible Betting

Responsible Betting

Although I would agree with anyone who says this sector is boring to talk about, it is one we are going to have to discuss.

Today, it is impossible to ignore the sports betting scene. With promotions distributed through every device that we own, you will hear about sports betting even if you have no interest in it.

Although this might not seem like a big deal to punters who bet once every so often, this is a real problem to those who wish to cut down on their betting activity.

I am not against online sports betting. I actually place bets quite frequently but what I am against is betting in an irresponsible manner.

The reason I have included this sector in this guide is to remind punters that there is a limit to their betting activity.

The moment your involvement in sports betting starts affecting your personal life is the moment you must take a step back and reassess if your betting activity is actually worth it.

Although many are skeptical to how possible it is to be a responsible bettor, we have provided a list of questions to ask yourself and see how responsible your betting activity is.

Is This Money I Can Afford To Lose?

The value of your stakes and the frequency of the bets are the two variables you must look at when asking yourself this question.

Calculate the value of your daily/weekly/monthly stakes and based it on your income, then ask yourself whether the amount is significant to your life.

Are You Doing It For Entertainment Value Or As A Form Of Investment?

Although there are a group of individuals in the world who bet as their full-time profession, it is unlikely you are reading this guide at that level expertise.

If you are planning on covering a future expense with your potential winnings, that is no way to live.

Play for the sake of entertainment, no personal activity should add anxiety into your life.

Are You Chasing Your losses?

In a book I read (Snowball by Warren Buffet), Warren mentions a story about how he lost an amount of money by betting at the horse track. He ends off the story by saying that was the last time he’d ever try get money the same way he lost it.

In any money gamble you ever do, do not try win back your losses in the same way you lost it.

If you are truly doing it as a form of entertainment, you do not have any reason to try with them back.

Are You Betting Based On A Hunch Or A Promotion?

Like i said earlier, it is easy to be tempted by promotions offered by bookmakers.

Nevertheless, do not let your mind be swayed by these offers. This will only increase your chances of losing your stake as your are placing it out of greed rather than belief the outcome will happen.

Know your bet then make your way to the bookmaker, not the other way round.

By asking yourself these questions, you will have a clear indicator of how responsible your betting activity is.

Final Words

Overall, this guide will provide a solid foundation to your future betting activity. We have covered the main aspects for you to go on and experiment in your own free time.

Although this guide will provide you the knowledge that you will need to get started, the real learning comes when you begin actually betting.

Once you begin your betting venture, do not be naive and expect to be an overnight success story. I can assure you that would be impossible.

Betting, like all skills, will take you time to become an expert in. Use all the stumbles and obstacles you face at the start of your venture as lessons that will put you in a better position for future success.

If there was a secret formula that will win all bets constantly, I wouldn’t be here writing this guide and instead would happily retire young with my winnings.

Be patient and persevere through the hard times, as this will teach you lessons not only for gambling but for your life as a whole.

Hope you found this beginner’s guide to online sports betting useful. For more content such as betting tips and hacks, feel free to scroll through our articles via the homepage.

Author photo


Adam is long time Manchester United fan but admits that he has a few international favourite teams which he looks forward to watching and betting on for international events like the World Cup


Be the winner you were always meant to be.