The sports betting industry is booming and many people are wondering how they can get in on the action. Before you place your first bet, it is important to understand the basics of sports betting. This article will cover common terms, different ways to bet and tips and strategies for making smart wagers.
Sports betting is simply predicting an outcome of a game or event and risking money on the odds that it will happen. Odds are set by the sportsbook based on the likelihood of an event happening and bettors can place wagers on either side of the line. The higher the probability of an event occurring, the lower the risk and the higher the payout.
There are millions of sports fans around the world who probably think to themselves, “Betting on sports must be easy,” but the truth is that it’s not. After accounting for the juice (also known as the vig), it takes a very successful bettor to hit 52.4% of their bets to break even. And even the most successful “experts” will see some cold streaks along with their hot ones.
The most basic bet in sports betting is a moneyline bet, which is simply placing a bet on the team you think will win a game. The higher the quality of the team, the better the odds. The lower the quality of a team, the worse the odds.
Spread bets, also called point spreads, are designed to make uneven games more attractive to bettors. The idea is that one team or individual has a greater chance of winning than the other, so oddsmakers give the favorite a handicap that requires them to win by a certain amount in order to cover their bets. The underdog, on the other hand, has a lower probability of winning and therefore offers a higher return for bettors.
Pro bettors understand that they can’t predict every single bet, and instead, make a variety of different types of wagers. In addition to moneyline bets, they will often make futures bets, which are placed on events that have yet to take place. These bets are usually made well in advance of a season or event and the odds will continually update based on injuries, performance etc.
Another popular type of bet is the totals bet, which is similar to point spreads. This wager focuses on the final score of a game and bettors can predict whether the two teams will combine for more or less runs, goals, points and other factors than the total amount posted by oddsmakers. For example, if a game has a total of 42.5 points and you expect a defensive slugfest, you would bet the over.
Prop bets are also available for most major sporting events and can be very profitable if placed correctly. These bets are often based on player or team performance, and they can include things such as how many yards the quarterback will pass for in a game, how long the national anthem will last and even what color Gatorade the winning coach will be doused with after the victory.