New To Maryland Sports Betting? How to Bet on Sports Simply Explained!

All indications are that it won’t be long until Maryland sports bettors can bet legally within the Old Line State. Governor Larry Hogan signed off on HB 940 earlier this spring. He continues to push for Maryland sports betting to get underway before the end of 2022. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the basics of Maryland sports betting and learn how to bet on sports!

What wagers will be available? What does each represent and what odds will be offered? Find out below.

How to Bet on Sports – Point Spread Betting in Maryland

The most commonly offered form of sports bet sees an oddsmaker create a ‘spread’. This is simply the number of points the sportsbook believes represents the difference in the two sides. This spread is then assigned to each side. However, the designated points are subtracted from the “favorite” and added to the “underdog.”

To illustrate this point, let’s take a hypothetical contest between many Maryland sports bettors’ two favorite NFL football squads. Let’s say the Baltimore Ravens and the Washington Football Team are playing. In this game, let’s make the Ravens a 4-point favorite over the Football Team.

This means if you bet on the Ravens, you need them to beat Washington by 5+ points to win your bet. If the bettor bets on Washington, they need them to lose by three points or fewer (or win the game.) A final margin of exactly four points means all wagers return to the bettor.

The typical odds on a point spread bet is -110, meaning the bettor risks $110 for every $100 he could win. This is the vigorish, or house edge. If you win, you walk away with $210 (your original $110 wager, plus another $100.) This is crucial to know if you want to understand how to bet on sports.

Totals – Over/Under Betting in Maryland

A wager that is even simpler (and almost as popular) as a point spread bet is a total, or over/under wager. In this case, the sportsbook assigns a total number of points that two teams will accumulate in a given contest.

These totals can range as low as 4.5 or 5 for an NHL hockey game to numbers well into the 200s for an NBA basketball game. Once this number is assigned, the bettor chooses ‘over’ or ‘under’ the given number for his wager.

In our hypothetical Baltimore Ravens/Washington Football Team game, a total might be around 44 points. An ‘over’ bettor would be gambling that the two sides will combine for 45 or more points. An ‘under’ bettor is wagering on 43 total points or fewer.

As with the point spread wager, a total of exactly 44 points means all wagers are refunded.

Again, typical odds on a totals bet are -110.

How to bet on Sports in Maryland

MoneyLine Betting in Maryland Explained

In explaining how to bet on sports, the moneyline is the simplest wager conceptually, but the odds require further explanation.

Let’s use our hypothetical Baltimore Ravens/Washington Football Team game once more. If a Maryland bettor is a big fan of a team, he could simply bet on his side to win. Without worrying about a point spread.

That’s what a money line bet allows. The bettor can simply pick the winning side. Then, regardless of the exact margin, he wins or loses based on the outcome. It is EASY.

However, the odds on these bets are NOT standard at -110. Remember, the Baltimore Ravens were 4-point favorites in our game, so fair odds on the Ravens to simply win the game might be around -200 (meaning you risk $200 for every $100 you hope to win.)

Meanwhile, as an underdog, fair odds on the Washington Football Team might be around +170 (meaning you win $170 for every $100 you risk.) Money lines are never equal between the two sides, as the sportsbook maintains its house edge.

How to Bet on Sports – Popular Bets in Maryland Sportsbooks

Type of BetExplanation
Point SpreadA ‘spread’ is assigned to both sides, and points are added to the ‘underdog’ or subtracted from the ‘favorite.’ Bettors choose their side with this spread in mind.
TotalA number of points is assigned to a contest, allowing bettors to choose whether the game will finish ‘over’ or ‘under’ this designated figure.
Money LineNo point spreads here, you’re just picking the winner of a game. Odds will be affected, however, with the expected winners seeing shorter odds and the team expected to lose receiving longer odds.
ParlayA popular opportunity to combine two or more outcomes. If each piece of your parlay wins, the bettor will receive a larger payout than you would betting each outcome individually. But if just one outcome loses, so does your parlay.
FuturesA wager that allows the bettor to choose the winner of a major event, such as the Super Bowl or World Series, at the start of the season or before the participants are determined.

How to Bet on Sports – Parlay Betting Explained

Now we come to a slightly more complicated, but increasingly popular wager. The parlay allows the bettor to take multiple events and wager on their outcomes collectively. And any description of how to bet on sports shouldn’t exempt this increasingly popular type of bet.

If each wager is a winner, the bettor wins his parlay. But if even one bet loses, the parlay is a loser.

For example, aside from our Baltimore Ravens/Washington Football Team game, perhaps the bettor wants to wager on the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles game. He can combine two wagers – say the Football Team and the Eagles – into a parlay.

What makes these bets attractive, when you need more contests to go your way in order to win? Simple – larger payouts. For example, if you wager $110 on the Washington Football Team point spread and win, you win $210 ($100 plus your original $110 wager.)

However, if you parlay the Football Team and the Eagles’ point spread for $110, you walk away with roughly $400 (your original wager plus $290.) The odds increase as you add more outcomes to your wager, but remember, you need ALL of them to win.

Payouts can get pretty lofty on big parlays! If you wagered $100 on a six-team parlay, with each point spread at -110 odds, you could walk away with close to $5,000.

Another reason for the popularity of parlays is variety. You can combine point spreads, totals, and money lines into a single parlay.

Futures Betting in Maryland – How to Bet on Sports

Lastly, we come to Futures bets, an option that has become increasingly popular with online gambling. Futures bets allow you to wager on the outcome of a season. Or, a portion of a season, rather than just a specific contest.

For instance, for the NFL football season you could wager on the Baltimore Ravens to win the Super Bowl. Most sportsbooks had the Ravens at 15:1 odds to win the Super Bowl at the start of the 2021 season, meaning a $100 wager would net you $1,500 (plus the original $100 wager) if the Ravens win the big game.

However, as with parlays, there’s no credit for getting ‘close’! Either the Ravens win the Super Bowl, or you lose your wager. It’s a binary option.

Future bets can also be placed on individual players, such as Lamar Jackson, to win the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award. These bets are available in preseason and during an ongoing season, albeit at changing odds.

For instance, after a strong start this season Super Bowl odds on the Baltimore Ravens are down to 12:1 from the preseason figure of 15:1, meaning a $100 wager would now net a Maryland sports bettor $1200 (plus the original $100 wager.)

The above are the most common wagers Maryland sports bettors will see offered by the sportsbooks in the state. This is not a complete list of every wager! But this guide on how to bet on sports gives the novice bettor a strong foundation from which to begin wagering!

Maryland Betting Experts
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