Sports Betting 101 – The Basics of Sports Betting

sports betting

The legalization of sports betting in 2019 has led to an explosion of bets on all manner of events and teams. For those just getting started in this popular pastime, it can be intimidating to navigate the many options and terms. Here is an overview of the basics, including different ways to bet, odds and payouts.

The most common way to bet on sports is on the winning team of a game. This bet pays out based on the total number of points scored during a game. The odds on this bet are listed on your betting slip and include your amount wagered, so you can easily see the potential payout of your bet.

Point spreads, also called lines, are a way for bookmakers to balance action on both sides of a game and make money. The line shows how many points one team is expected to win by, and bettors can either “take” the spread (betting on the underdog) or “give” it (betting the favorite). The number is always in increments of half a point, even though few sports have scoring that goes up to that level.

Over/Under betting is a type of bet that predicts the total number of runs, goals and points in a game. These bets are often influenced by injuries and weather, so it’s important to stay current with injury reports and keep an eye on the forecast. Using an app or website that allows you to compare the lines at multiple sportsbooks can also help, as different books adjust their lines to their respective clienteles.

There have been several scandals involving the integrity of sports events through spot-fixing (a single player action fixed), overall match-fixing (the entire result of an event fixed) and point shaving (players intentionally miss shots to lower their team’s score). These issues have raised concerns about whether or not sports betting is really a legitimate form of gambling, but the vast majority of bettors make money from it.

Aside from standard wagers on the winner of a game, there are countless other types of bets available. Some are as simple as predicting the number of total points scored during a game, while others require more research into factors like past performances between two teams or their current state of mind.

Futures bets are another way to place a bet on a game, but rather than wagering on the outcome of a particular matchup, you’re betting on an event that will happen in the future. These bets typically offer higher odds than regular straight bets and can pay out huge sums of money if you’re successful. This kind of bet is especially appealing for those with a knack for predicting the future and an interest in accumulating large amounts of cash quickly. However, beware that the law of large numbers can quickly wipe out profits. For this reason, it’s recommended to limit bets on futures events and use a proven strategy.