Just a few years ago, Las Vegas was practically the only place in the U.S. where you could legally bet on sports. Today, sports betting is legal in three dozen states and counting.
That includes North Carolina, where there are retail sportsbooks at the Harrah’s Cherokee casinos in Cherokee and Murphy and the Catawba Two Kings Casino in Kings Mountain. Moreover, experts expect that NC online sports betting legislation will pass within the next year or so.
The popularity of sports betting has risen as fast as it has spread across the country. The way people bet on sports has changed just as quickly. Previously, you would simply bet on your favorite team to win a game. You can still do that, but now there are several different ways to bet on sports. People are betting on all kinds of props and parlays that cover practically everything that moves on and off the field.
Most legal and licensed sportsbooks in this country now take bets listed in American odds. These odds tell you the chances of either side winning and how much you stand to win if you bet on the winning side.
Your guide to this exciting new world of legal US sports betting is below. It includes everything you need to know about the odds, the types of bets you can place and the most popular sports for betting. Plus, you can find out where to wager right here in North Carolina now and in the near future.
How to read sports betting odds
As we mentioned, US sportsbooks employ American odds. These are expressed as three-, four- and even five-digit numbers with a minus or plus sign. This tells you whether the team or athlete involved is the favorite to win or the underdog. The size of the number tells you the chances of that team or athlete winning. Plus, it lets you know how much you’ll win if your bet is correct.
- The favorite: American odds with a minus sign in front of the number indicate the favorite. That number is exactly how much you need to bet to win $100 (plus your bet back). The bigger the number, the higher the chances of that team or athlete winning.
- The underdog: American odds with a plus sign in front of the number denote the underdog. That number is exactly how much you stand to win, plus your stake back, for every $100 you bet. The bigger the number, the lower the chances of that team or athlete winning.
Fractional and decimal odds
You may also see betting odds expressed as a fraction. You can multiply fractional odds by your bet to find its potential profit. There are also decimal odds which consist of a single number telling you how much a $1 bet would pay.
Types of sports wagers
- Moneylines: The moneyline is where you pick straight-up game winners. These bets are booked at currently posted odds. That means winners are paid at the odds when the bet was placed, no matter how much they might change afterward.
- Totals: Totals are over/under bets on the total number of points scored in a game. Sportsbooks set a predicted total, and you place a bet on whether the teams will combine to score more or fewer points than that line.
- Point spreads: Point spread bets involve picking game winners with a point spread factored into the final score. The spread works like a handicap, giving the underdog points to even out the betting odds. You add the spread to the underdog’s final score or deduct it from the favorite’s. That adjusted final score determines which side of the bet wins.
- Parlays: Parlays combine two or more bets into one. These bets pay better than the sum of their parts because you have to win every single bet, or leg, to win anything at all.
- Teasers: Teasers are a type of parlay bet that lets you manipulate the spread in each leg in your favor. These bets pay less than standard parlays because manipulating the spread gives you an edge.
- Pleasers: Pleasers are a type of parlay bet that lets you manipulate the spread in each leg against your picks. These bets pay more than standard parlays because manipulating the spread in this manner makes it tougher to win.
- Futures: A futures wager involves betting on an outcome in the distant future, such as betting on the winner of the Super Bowl early in the season. These odds are riskier, but the payouts are much higher than average for game bets.
- Prop bets: Prop bets are wagers placed on in-game events, such as how many points a player might score or whether there will be overtime. There is a huge variety of props available on each game, especially major events. Props are usually framed as yes or no questions or a moneyline-style wager.
Find a sportsbook in North Carolina
Right now, the only sportsbooks legally taking these bets in North Carolina are retail sportsbook operations at the Harrah’s Cherokee casinos in Cherokee (Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort) and Murphy (Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River) and the Catawba Two Kings Casino in Kings Mountain. You must place bets in person at these retail sportsbook locations.
However, online sports betting legislation is expected to pass through the North Carolina General Assembly within the next year. After that, you’ll be able to legally bet on sports online in North Carolina. All the lines and odds listed above will subsequently be available at licensed North Carolina online sportsbooks from some of the top sports betting brands in the US. Once that happens, you’ll find clickable links to these online sportsbooks on this page and all over this website.
How to bet on football in North Carolina
NFL and college football betting are relatively straightforward in North Carolina. You can bet moneylines, point spreads and totals for every game across the country. You can also bet on props surrounding team and player game stats and season-long futures. A variety of parlays, including same game parlays, are also available.
These bets are available for every NBA and NCAA football team, including betting on Carolina Panthers games and all kinds of local college football action. Football betting can be tougher than with other sports because the lines are set with incredible accuracy.
How to bet on basketball in North Carolina
NBA betting and college basketball betting in North Carolina offers you the chance to wager standard game lines for every game across the country, plus props and season-long futures. Parlays and same game parlays are also available. Of course, basketball betting is different from football because the games are so consistently high scoring. Predicting the outcome of games that average 200 points or more can be much trickier than those that average 40 points.
All these bets are available for every NBA and NCAA basketball team, including Charlotte Hornets bets, but North Carolina and Duke basketball betting may be even more popular here. Basketball betting can also be quite tough because so many games are decided by a bucket or less.
How to bet on baseball in North Carolina
You can bet on Major League Baseball in a variety of different ways in North Carolina. Typical MLB bets available include:
- Run lines (spreads)/moneylines/totals and alternatives
- First 5 Innings moneylines
- Stat props (HRs, RBIs, strikeouts, etc.)
- World Series, division, postseason appearance and pennant futures
These bets are available for all MLB teams, including the teams closest or with the closest ties to North Carolina. That includes the Tampa Bay Rays, Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves and Chicago White Sox. Baseball betting offers more choice and bet-type variety than many other sports.
How to bet on hockey in North Carolina
You can bet on the National Hockey League in a variety of different ways in North Carolina. Typical NHL bets available include:
- Puck lines (spreads)/moneylines/totals and alternatives
- Stat props (goals, assists, etc.)
- Stanley Cup, division, playoff appearance and conference title futures
These bets are available for the entire NHL, including the Carolina Hurricanes. NHL hockey lines are tighter than in many other sports because of parity in the league and the low-scoring nature of the game.
How to bet on soccer in North Carolina
You can bet on Major League Soccer and other top-flight pro soccer leagues from around the world in several different ways in North Carolina. Typical soccer bets available include:
- Three-way moneylines, spreads, totals and alternatives
- Scoring props/No Scoring (NG)/Both Teams Scoring (GG)
- Total red and yellow cards
- Total corners
- Double chance moneyline (Win or Tie)
- Tie No Bet (Two-way moneyline)
- Championship futures
These bets are available for all MLS teams, including Charlotte FC. MLS regular-season moneyline betting is three-way betting because of the possibility of a tie.