Sports betting has come a long way since the anti-gambling stigma that surrounded it for decades faded away. Suddenly, millions of fans are looking to make money by placing wagers on their favorite teams and events. While winning and good payouts should always be the goal, it’s important for beginners to understand what they’re getting into before making any wagers. Here are 12 things that every beginner needs to know about sports betting.
A sportsbook will set the odds for a particular event, and the bettors can choose whether or not to place a wager on the over/under, moneyline, props or parlays. While each of these types of bets has its own unique complexities, there are some general rules that apply to all of them. For instance, if multiple teams/players have a “+” in front of their odds, the lower number denotes the favorite. This applies to individual games, as well as entire tournaments like the World Cup. The New York Yankees are favored to win the World Series, while the Cincinnati Reds are underdogs in the divisional playoffs.
The odds for a bet will also include what’s called the juice, or the house’s take on your bet. This is essentially how the bookmaker makes its profit. The more you bet, the higher the potential return, but it’s important to keep in mind that profits are not guaranteed.
Some bettors choose to focus on value, or finding bets where the odds at the sportsbook are higher than the probability of the outcome occurring. This requires a deep understanding of the sport and a keen eye for spotting discrepancies between your assessment of an outcome’s likelihood and the odds offered by the sportsbook. This strategy is known as line shopping, and it’s crucial for those who want to maximize their profitability.
Another common type of bet is the total, which is a prediction of the combined score of two teams in a game. For example, a sportsbook may set the over/under for a college football game at 66 points. If the final combined score ends up being exactly 66 points, the bettors will receive their original stake back.
Finally, prop bets are a great option for those who are interested in placing a bet that’s not a standard moneyline, spread or over/under. These bets can range from a player’s touchdowns and home runs to their rushing yards and passing yards. While these bets often have a low profit potential, they can provide a fun and interesting twist on the game of sports. Prop bets can also be a great way for avid sports fans to get more vested in the outcomes of their favorite teams. This can be especially rewarding for those who follow multiple teams and are able to compare the betting odds at different online sportsbooks. This is known as “shopping the lines.” The more diligent shoppers can find these differences, the better their chances of a successful bet.