In its most basic form, sports betting is placing money on an outcome of your choice and getting paid if that outcome occurs. There are many types of wagers in sports betting, including moneylines, spreads and parlays. Prop bets are also available and allow you to place a vested interest in more specific outcomes, like how many points a player will score. Being clear-headed (so hold the beer until after you bet) and doing your homework are key to making smart wagers. Separate yourself from your fandom and study both teams and their unique circumstances, not just how well they’ve been playing lately but any injuries, roster changes or other factors that might impact the game.
Odds are the probability of an outcome occurring and they specify how much money can be won if that outcome does occur. They can be displayed as American, British (fractional) or European (decimal). Understanding how odds are calculated is a crucial first step to becoming a successful sports bettor.
Understanding the Over/Under Line
Sportsbooks set their own lines and they can be very different from one book to another. This is due to a variety of reasons, from the way a game is played (ie: baseball games are nine innings; football games are four quarters; hockey games are three periods) to a particular book’s history with a team or player.
A good rule of thumb is to risk no more than 1% to 5% of your total bankroll on each bet. This will ensure you don’t deplete your bankroll on a bad day of wagering.