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How to Place a Sports Bet: Tips for Betting in Person at a Sportsbook

Mar 07, 2019 9:00 AM EST
Credit:

June 5, 2018; Stanton, DE, USA; Ivan Dinh of Wilmington places his bet. At 1:30 p.m. today Tuesday, June 5, 2018, Delaware launches the country’s first full-scale sports betting operation outside of Nevada as people roll into the Casino at Delaware Park in Stanton, Del. to wager their bets. Mandatory Credit: Suchat Pederson/The News Journal via USA TODAY NETWORK

  • For the uninitiated, betting in person at a sportsbook can be overwhelming and intimidating.
  • The Action Network provides a series of tips on how to "not be that guy" when placing your bet.
  • This includes finding a seat, knowing the game details, what to say at the window, and more.

We live in a highly digital world where almost every aspect of our lives takes place online. And while mobile betting is growing increasingly popular, it’s still important to know how to place a bet the old-school way: in person at a sportsbook or a casino.

For the uninitiated, walking into a sportsbook or casino for the first time can be overwhelming and intimidating. The lights are bright and it’s busy and loud, with hundreds of bettors watching countless games on wall-to-wall big screen televisions. There is also a massive LED scoreboard displaying teams and odds across all different sports. A huge line of bettors are waiting to place their bets at the cashier, which is popularly referred to as the “ticket window” or just the “window.” The last thing you want to do is be the idiot who is holding everyone up with no idea what to do.

How to place a sports bet in person:

1. Find a seat

This seems trivial and obvious, but it’s important. Depending on the day and what sports are in season, it might be packed and hard to find a seat. Finding a good seat will allow you a spot to post up and watch your bets. But more importantly, it gives you your own “office” or “work station” where you can write down notes, break down games and make your picks.

2. Grab betting sheets

This is often overlooked, but it’s critically important. Once you find your seat, head up front to the ticket window and grab as many betting sheets as you can. Betting sheets are pieces of paper that every sportsbook hands out for free detailing all the games and lines offered. If you can’t find them, ask one of the employees at the ticket window. Sheets are printed out in the morning and the lines will move throughout the day. By comparing the opening numbers on the sheet to the current lines on the LED scoreboard you can gain insight into how the lines have moved. Circle the games you are interested in and jot down notes in the margins.

3. Know the game details of your bet

Once you’ve selected a bet, you need to know a few housekeeping details before walking up to the window and actually betting it. First, look for the ID number of the game. This will be a 3-digit number to the left of the game. Also make sure you know the bet type you are selecting: spread, moneyline, over/under (total), win total, future, etc. Don’t forget to have your cash ready (most sportsbooks only accept cash) along with the specific amount you’re going to bet. Make it easy on yourself and just bring the betting sheet with you to the ticket window, along with the game circled that you’re betting.

4. Be friendly and courteous to the ticket writer

Find the shortest line and then wait for your turn up at bat. Once it’s go time, smile and say hello to the cashier. Tell them what you’re betting on: give them the game ID, bet type, amount you’re betting and then hand them the cash. For example, if you want to bet $50 on the Patriots as a 6.5-point favorite, tell the cashier: “50 dollars on 137 spread” (or whatever the correct game ID is for the Patriots).

5. Hold on to your ticket

Once you tell the cashier your bet and give him or her your money, they will print out a ticket, also known as betting slip or receipt. Before you leave the ticket counter, immediately double check the ticket to ensure it’s the correct game number, bet type, amount and team. If it’s incorrect, give it back to the cashier so they can fix it. Once you walk away, you lose all power. You cannot come back later and ask to change the ticket after the fact. All sales are final. If it’s correct, you can walk away from the window and go back to your seat to watch the game. Make sure you hang on to the ticket.

6. Cash your winning bet

Hopefully you’ve won your bet and need to cash your ticket. To do so, go back to the same place where you placed your bet and get in line. Hand the cashier your betting slip. They will scan the ticket and hand you your winnings in cash. If you aren’t sure if your bet won or lost, there’s no harm in handing them your ticket to scan. If you have to leave town early, don’t worry. You can always flip the ticket over and mail it in to the address on the back and they will send you your winnings.

7. Tip your ticket writer

If you won your bet, it’s a good idea to tip your ticket writer, just as you would tip the poker dealer if you won a big hand or the delivery driver who handed you your pizza. Not only is it the right thing to do, but you’ll feel good about yourself, impress your friends or significant other and it will set you up with some good karma down the road.

Once you’ve placed a few wagers in person, you’ll be an expert in no time.

Remember, smartphones are allowed at the sportsbook. So be sure to bring The Action Network app along with you so you can dive deep into the lines, read our analysis and track all of your bets.

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