Sports betting has made a big splash in American culture since the anti-gambling stigma faded, and millions of fans will place wagers on the outcome of their favorite games for the first time this season. Making money consistently on sports betting is not easy, but it is possible if you understand the different types of bets, know how to read and interpret the odds, make smart bets, and walk away from bad ones.
Point spreads are the most common type of sports bet, and they revolve around a team or individual’s chances of beating another team or individual. In order to win a bet, the team or individual must beat the line set by the oddsmakers. This is not a guarantee, however, and you should always research the teams you are placing a bet on.
Payouts in sports betting are determined by the odds attached to your bet and the amount you wagered. The potential payout will be listed on your betting slip, which you can use to place a bet online or in person. Often, the payout shown will include the amount you bet, but if not, just add your wager to the number of points or goals you are trying to win to get the total payout.
When it comes to horse racing, the odds for a particular race are estimated on the morning of the race and constantly recalculated by computer during the prerace betting period. Typically, the odds on a winning horse will be higher than those for a place or show wager, because the prize pool has to be divided more ways.
Over/under bets are similar to point spreads, but they focus on the overall score of a game rather than who will win. To bet an over/under, you must predict if both teams will combine for more (over) or less (under) runs, goals, points, and other statistics than the total posted by the oddsmakers. For example, a Seahawks-Rams game might have an over/under of 42.5, and if you think the game will be a defensive slugfest that ends with under 42 combined points, you would bet on the over.
Prop bets — short for proposition bets — are a type of bet that can be placed on anything related to a sporting event or game. These bets can range from a player or team’s total touchdown passes to the length of the national anthem before a Super Bowl halftime performance.
The most important thing to remember when betting on sports is that the majority of bettors lose money. Even professional sports bettors only win about 45% to 47% of the time, and this is not because they are lucky; it’s because they put in a lot of work and follow sound strategies. You can increase your chances of success by investigating each sportsbook, reading user reviews, and doing your own research into teams and players.