Sports Betting 101

sports betting

If you’re a sports fan, you might be thinking “betting on sports must be easy.” Well, it’s not. It requires discipline, research and a little luck. But it can be fun, too, especially if you use the right tools. Here are a few things to know about sports betting:

Betting on a team that wins by more than the number of points the favored team is expected to win is called covering the spread or “covering.” If you bet on the team that covers the spread, you will have won your wager. You can also place a straight bet, in which you bet on the team to win by exactly one point.

Payouts are determined by the odds attached to a bet and the amount of money you bet. The higher the odds, the more you can win. The odds are listed on your bet slip, whether you place it in person or online. The payout is also indicated on the bet slip by a ratio, such as 100:1.

A bet is considered to have won if it beats the point spread. This is referred to as covering the spread. Essentially, you are predicting that the favored team will win by more than the point spread. If the favored team does win by more than the point spread, it is said to have won the game and covered the spread.

The best way to bet on sports is to make wise choices and use the proper bankroll management techniques. If you’re not careful, you can quickly deplete your bankroll and be left with nothing. The key is to be aware of how much you’re spending on each bet and to never go over that limit. You should also use multiple sportsbooks to give yourself options for line shopping.

Another popular form of sports betting is placing a bet on an Over/Under total. These bets are based on the combined number of runs, goals, or points scored by both teams. The Over/Under lines are posted by sportsbooks and can vary widely depending on the public’s opinion of a game.

If a team is heavily backed by bettors, sportsbooks will often shift their odds to encourage more action on the other side of the line. This is to balance the action and help them achieve their desired profit margin, which is called the vig.

Prop bets are unique to sports betting and offer a variety of ways to bet on sports. They are usually offered for big events, like the Super Bowl, and can be anything from predicting the color of Gatorade that douses the coach to who will win the coin toss before the game begins. Prop bets typically pay out at a lower percentage than standard bets, but can provide some excellent value for players. Some veteran bettors track their prop bets on spreadsheets or by using tracking apps. This is a great way to keep tabs on your wagering and learn from past successes and failures.