Sports Betting 101

sports betting

Sports and betting have long gone hand in hand, from horse races to baseball and beyond. While the anti-gambling stigma that dominated for decades was slowly dismantled, sports betting emerged into the mainstream over the past four years as more and more states passed laws to legalize it. That has led to a huge growth in the industry and millions of people are now wagering on their favorite teams and games.

For those new to the sport, there is much to learn, including terminology. This article will explain the basics of sports betting, from what is a “moneyline” to what is a “round robin.” It will also look at some common types of prop bets and how they differ from traditional point spreads.

Moneyline: A type of bet that pays out the amount won plus the original stake. A winning moneyline bet requires the winner to win by more points than the underdog, which is why a winning wager often offers a lower payoff than a loss. A moneyline is usually offered at odds of 1 to 1, though some casinos offer them at higher or lower odds depending on the local market and available bettors.

Over/Under: A bet that is based on the total number of points scored in a game. In the United States, most sportsbooks offer hundreds of these bets ranging from a baseball player’s total hits to a golfer’s second-round score. If neither team in a game scores enough to beat the under/over, it’s considered a push and all bets are returned.

Parlays: A parlay is a bet that combines two or more bets in one ticket. These bets are a great way to increase your chances of winning, but they come with higher risks than individual bets. Parlays are offered at different odds, with higher-risk bets offering bigger payouts, and lower-risk bets paying out smaller amounts.

Futures: Bets that are placed on events that have yet to take place, such as a team winning the championship or a player winning a playoff MVP award. These bets are available before the season starts and the odds will update based on injuries, trades, and other factors until the event takes place.

Putting it all together: Sports betting is an inherently risky endeavor, so it’s important to manage your bankroll carefully. It’s best to set a specific amount of money that you’re willing to lose and stick to it throughout the season, known as your unit size. A strong, consistent bettors who hit 55%+ of their plays will still go broke if they wager 10% or more of their bankroll on each play.

It’s also crucial to understand how sportsbook lines move and why. A bettor’s goal should be to find value on the other side of the line, and this is where research comes in. The lines will change based on the public’s perception of a game, and access to multiple sportsbooks allows bettors to shop for the best prices.