Sports Betting 101
Putting money on a sporting event to win some extra cash adds another layer of excitement to watching it. But winning isn’t always easy, and even professional bettors don’t make a living from their sports betting picks.
It’s important to be objective when placing a bet. Betting with your heart can lead to bad decisions. The best bettors follow the numbers and use logic to place their bets. They also track their losses and wins so that they can stay in control of their bankroll.
The most straightforward way to bet on sports is by picking the winner of a game. A sportsbook will assess the probability of a team winning by assigning odds, with lower numbers indicating a better chance of victory and higher numbers indicating a worse one. Someone who places a bet on a team with odds of 2 to 1 will make $100 if they win, but they won’t receive their original $50 wager back (they will only lose their initial stake plus the amount they won).
There are other types of bets, including spreads, moneylines and totals. The latter refers to the combined number of points, goals, rebounds, saves, hits, birdies or other statistics depending on the sport. When making a total bet, the bettor can choose to bet on the over or under a predetermined number. If the total ends up higher than the number set by the sportsbook, the bettor will win.
Lastly, there are prop bets, or proposition bets. These bets can be placed on anything that’s not a standard point spread, moneyline or total. They often have a high price, but they can be lucrative. They may relate to a player’s performance or even something that doesn’t show up in the boxscore, such as the color of Gatorade that douses a coach after his team wins a championship.
The most popular form of sports betting is on games that have a fixed outcome, such as a baseball game or a football match. This type of betting is called moneyline betting, as the bettors place their wagers on either the underdog or the favorite. Usually, the underdog is indicated by a minus sign while the favorite is marked with a plus sign. This helps to distinguish between the two teams and gives the bettor an idea of how risky their bet is. In most cases, the underdog will win a game when the bettors are right and the favorite loses when they are wrong. In some cases, however, a bet will result in a push, meaning that both sides get their money back. This is done to avoid a loss for the bookmakers.