Sports Betting Guide For Beginners – Learn how to bet on sports today

Sports betting can seem daunting when you see the fixtures and markets for the first time – but players quickly get used to betting on their favourite teams and superstars

Paddy Power sports betting


Betting on sports is what we do best here at Paddy Power and we’re here to take you through it all. If you’ve not bet on sports before and want to get started today then we’d recommend you read our quick guide first.

We’ll take you through the basics of sports betting, why people love it, and the types of sports bet you can make today.

Whether you’re planning to bet on your favourite football team, wager on sports you’ve never even heard of, or just want to trigger a free bet, this guide aims to boost your sports betting knowledge before you join Paddy Power.

What is sports betting?

Paddy Power sports betting

Sports betting allows bettors to wager money on a sporting outcome, with the chance of winning back profit if that outcome happens. For example, you bet on England to beat the West Indies in a Test cricket match. England win, so you get your stake back PLUS winnings, relative to the odds you bet on.

Choosing to bet on sports is all about risk and reward, and understanding whether the odds are worth your time. The bigger the odds, the greater your potential profit will be, but your risk is also higher.

How to bet on sports

Betting on sports at Paddy Power is simple. First you need to sign up to an account and create a profile, using your personal details to build a secure account. Then make a deposit to fund your account and trigger any welcome bonuses that might apply. After that, head over to the Paddy Power sportsbook and check out the range of odds from games, tournaments and competitions from around the world.

You’ll see the most popular sports to the left of your desktop, or run across the screen on your app. Click on the sport you want to bet on, and find the competition or fixture from there. You can also search for a player, team or country in the search bar.

Once you’ve found your chosen event, take a look at the range of outcomes and odds available. In tennis, for example, outcomes include:

  • Match winner
  • Correct score in sets
  • Total number of games played

Click on the odds beside your chosen outcome to open up your bet slip. From here you can enter your stake (how much you want to risk) and see what profit you’d win if your selection is correct. In this instance, a £5 bet on Hanfmann to beat Tsitsipas would earn you £16.25. Once you’re happy with your risk and reward, hit Place Bet to complete the process.

tennis bet example

Remember, when working out how to bet on sports online, ask yourself if you’d prefer to wager on your computer or phone. If it’s the latter then download the Paddy Power app today for easier access to the sportsbook!


How sports odds work

Before placing a sports bet it’s important to know what the odds are for your selection. Sport odds aim to reflect the likelihood of something happening, and show you how much money you’d earn if it did happen.

There are three types of sports odds:

  • Decimal – The most common ‘modern’ odds type, decimal odds look like this: 5.00. They show you how much you get back (return) from a bet if it wins, including your stake. So, a £10 bet at 5.00 earns you £50 (£10 stake + £40 profit)
  • Fractional – Historically the favoured odds type of many bettors, fractional odds look like this: 5/1 or 3/10. Fractional odds show you how much profit you make from a £1 bet. In the first instance, you earn £5 profit from a £1 bet. In the second, you earn just £3 profit from wagering £10. This latter instance is when a bet is “odds on”.
  • American – Not commonly used in the UK, American odds show you how much money you earn from a £100 bet. They look like this: +300 or -400. Of course, the US has to supersize everything. So, odds of +300 means you’d earn £300 from a £100 bet. Or £3 from a £1 bet if you want to wager on a smaller scale. Negative odds show you how much you need to wager to win £100 profit.

If you need help working out your potential profit and how to bet, then use the Paddy Power bet calculator today!

What sports can I bet on?

Paddy Power bet on sports

You can bet on practically all sports in the Paddy Power sportsbook. Here’s a full list of what’s available right now:

  • American Football and NFL
  • Australian Rules
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Bowls
  • Boxing
  • Cricket
  • Current Affairs
  • Cycling
  • Darts
  • Esports
  • Football
  • Formula 1
  • Gaelic Games
  • Golf
  • Greyhound Racing
  • Horse Racing
  • Ice Hockey
  • Lotteries
  • Mixed Martial Arts
  • Motor Sport
  • Netball
  • Politics
  • Rugby League
  • Rugby Union
  • Snooker
  • Special Bets
  • Surfing
  • Table Tennis
  • Tennis
  • Virtuals
  • Volleyball
  • Water Polo

Many sports are available to bet in-play as they happen, thanks to Paddy’s live odds. Sports such as athletics, wrestling and skiing are also available to wager on seasonally, such as during the Olympics or Winter Olympics.

Types of sports bet

Sports betting is about more than just who wins and loses. The great thing about following sports these days is we have instant access to millions of data points. Whether it’s surfing or Champions League football, table tennis or baseball’s World Series, the live data that filters into the Paddy Power sportsbook means you can bet on practically anything.

Of course, punters can get specialised with their wagers – but we always advise new players to stick with popular sports bets and get accustomed to the markets before diving in at the deep end.

With that in mind, here are the best types of sports bet to get you going if you’re a newcomer to the community:

  • Match winner – A wager on who will win a game or match, which is usually set out as Home Win (1), Draw (X), Away Win (2). In sports where there is no draw, such as snooker, punters bet on the first player (1) or second player (2) to win.
  • Correct Score – Accurately predict the score in a match or tournament, or perhaps even a set when you bet on tennis. This is great for low-scoring sports such as football but not for basketball or rugby.
  • Over/Unders – Bet on whether a match, a team or an individual will produce over or under a number of points, runs or goals. In the football odds, for example, you could bet on Germany to score +2.5 goals in a game against Denmark. If they score three times, you win your bet.
  • Handicaps – Level out the odds during uneven matches by adding a virtual handicap to the score. Give underdogs a lead, or knock points off heavy favourites. For example, New Zealand are heavy favourites to beat Japan in a rugby test. So, you give New Zealand a -14.5 point handicap, at better odds. They now need to win by 15 points or more for your bet to win.
  • Player specials – We excel in player specials here at Paddy Power. From who scores first in a football game, to how many medals an athlete will win at the Olympics, or perhaps even the total player points scored in an NBA game, there’s a player special for everyone in the sportsbook!
  • Each Way – Horse racing offers Each Way bets for those who don’t think their pick is guaranteed to win. Here, your stake is split in half. The first half is a ‘win’ bet, and the second half a ‘place’ bet. If your horse wins its race, you win the bigger payout. If it places (usually in the top three to five spots) then you win the ‘place’ portion of the bet.
  • Outright bets – Paddy Power offers extensive outright bets (also known as futures) on an extensive range of sports. This includes who will win the Premier League, who will be named MVP after the Super Bowl, and who will claim most 180s at the darts. Outright bets are long-form wagers that can take up to several years to pay out.

Now that you’ve had the basics of online sports betting explained, it’s time to check out our other online betting guides here!

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