In a few short years, sports betting has emerged from the shadows and into the mainstream of American culture. The anti-gambling stigma has faded, and more people than ever are trying their luck at making a profit on their favorite teams and players. While the sport of gambling may be risky, it can also be rewarding for those who are smart and understand how to manage their bankroll.
One of the most common mistakes new sports bettors make is not knowing how to read the odds. These numbers are designed to, at a glance, give bettors an idea of how likely it is that each team/competitor will win the event they’re betting on. The odds are rounded up or down, depending on how many points are being wagered on each outcome. This helps the bookmakers balance their books by covering loser bets with winners and turning a profit.
The second mistake new bettors often make is failing to understand how moneyline and point spread odds work. When you bet a team, the moneyline odds tell you how much you would win if that team wins. The number on the left is how much you will win if your team wins, and the number on the right is how much you need to wager to get that amount. A plus sign (+) before a team’s odds means they are the underdog, while a minus sign (-) indicates that they are the favorite.
There are also a variety of other types of sports betting lines, including totals, props, and futures. Futures odds are available for events that have not yet taken place and are based on the opinions of market participants. For example, a team’s coach might say that they are not as good as their opponent. Those comments can affect the futures line for that game.
Props are wagers on specific aspects of a game, like how many strikeouts a pitcher will throw or how many field goals will be made. These bets typically have lower betting limits than standard moneylines and point spreads, and are sometimes even restricted to a few hundred dollars. In order to get the best prices on these types of bets, it’s important to know which sportsbooks are “market-making,” and when they will release their lines.
The most important thing to remember when betting on sports is that more people lose than win. It’s important to be clear-headed and separate your fandom from your betting decisions. You should also do your research and learn everything you can about both teams—not just how well they play, but what injuries and other factors could affect the game. Lastly, never bet more than 1% to 5% of your bankroll on any one game. That way, if your bet doesn’t pan out, you won’t ruin your entire week. With the right knowledge and a solid strategy, you can bet successfully and have a little fun while doing it. Good luck!