As legal sports betting has entered the mainstream in America, millions of fans are eager to try their hand at placing a bet. But getting started can be tricky if you don’t have a basic understanding of sports betting odds and terminology. Luckily, we’re here to help! Read on for a complete guide to everything you need to know about sports betting.
The first step to becoming a successful sports bettor is to establish a budget and stick to it. While it’s tempting to go all-in on your favorite team or the game that you think is a sure thing, this can lead to big losses and can quickly drain your bankroll. Instead, it’s best to start small and work your way up as you become more comfortable with the process.
While the NBA may not be as popular as NFL and NHL, it has a dedicated following that keeps interest high throughout the year. This can be seen in the amount of wagers placed on NBA games and the overall volume of the league as compared to other major sports. When the playoffs and NBA Finals roll around, interest in the sport will skyrocket.
Point spreads are created to level the playing field between two teams when it comes to a bet. The favored team will be listed with a minus sign in front of their odds, while the underdog will have a plus sign in front of theirs. The number will also often include a half-point (for example, the Patriots are 2.5-point favorites), as this helps to avoid a push, which would give both sides their money back.
Another important aspect to keep in mind when betting on sports is that odds change over time. During the week, as sportsbooks adjust their lines to meet demand, they may shorten or lengthen them to improve their profits. This can be a good reason to shop around at different sportsbooks to find the best prices on your bets.
If you’re looking to bet on a particular event, you can make a straight bet by selecting the team or player you think will win. In addition to straight bets, you can also place props. These are bets that cover a specific part of the game, such as how many total strikeouts a baseball pitcher will have or how many rushing yards a running back will have.
Props are often more difficult to analyze and win, but can be very profitable if you understand how the oddsmakers price them. Having access to multiple sportsbooks can also help, as each one will have slightly different odds on various props. This is because they have different clienteles and can be influenced by local public opinion.