Sports Betting 101

sports betting

Sports betting is booming in the United States, with $13 billion bet legally in 2019. But more people lose than win. Here’s what you need to know before placing your first bet.

The Basics

Sports bets come in many different shapes and sizes, but they all involve putting money behind an outcome of your choice and getting paid if you are right. The more information you have about the sport, team and player, the better your chances of making a winning bet. Learn everything you can about the sport or event, including history, trends, player and coach stats, as well as injuries and weather.

Understand Betting Terms and Language

When it comes to sports betting, there are several terms that will be important to familiarize yourself with. Two of the most common are favorite and underdog, which refer to the two sides of a bet that can be placed. The favorite has a higher probability of winning, but the return on a bet is smaller. The underdog has a lower probability, but the payout is bigger. You can also bet on a team to cover the spread, or combine multiple outcomes into one bet, which is called a parlay.

Another important concept to understand is vig, or the house’s profit on a bet. The vig is usually calculated as a percentage of the total amount of bets. Understanding vig is key to finding the best bets and keeping your profits high.

Understand Variance

Despite your best efforts to make smart bets, cold streaks will inevitably occur from time to time. When they do, it’s crucial to protect your bankroll by avoiding risky bets or betting more than you can afford to lose. This will help you ride out the cold streak and come back stronger next week. In addition to managing your bankroll, it’s important to separate yourself from your fandom when making sports bets and do your homework. This will not only improve your odds of winning, but it will also allow you to make more informed bets. For example, do not be tempted to bet on teams just because they have the prettiest uniforms. This type of blind betting is often referred to as “punter envy” and is not worth the risk. Instead, do your homework by reading sports betting forums and checking out Better Business Bureau ratings and complaints. Also, don’t be fooled by free bet offers that promise guaranteed wins. These are often a sign of a scamdicapper. Instead, do your research and find a legitimate service that will provide you with value bets over the long term.