Sports Betting 101

sports betting

Sports betting is an industry that continues to grow as more states legalize it. The reason is simple – it’s a fun pastime that can be rewarding if done correctly. But it’s important for new bettors to understand the mechanics of the sport so they can play smart and avoid common pitfalls.

Understanding the Odds

One of the biggest mistakes that sports bettors make is misunderstand how odds are set. Essentially, odds are the implied probability and potential return of a wager. Negative odds imply a favorite and positive odds indicate an underdog with the potential for higher return.

Managing Your Bankroll

While it’s fun to place a bet on your favorite team, sports betting is a gambling activity that can quickly drain your bankroll. The best way to manage your bankroll is to keep your expectations reasonable and be prepared for losses. You should also avoid chasing your losses, as this can be a recipe for disaster.

Betting on Props

In addition to point spreads and moneylines, sportsbooks offer a variety of other wagering options known as props. These include player-specific statistics (like how many home runs a hitter has hit in his career), team totals and more. A common type of prop is the over/under, in which a sportsbook predicts the total number of points scored during a game and bettors can place a bet on either the over (total will exceed the predicted amount) or the under (total will fall short of the predicted amount). You’ll typically have to pay a higher price to bet the over than you would for a standard straight bet.