Sports Betting 101

Sports betting has exploded across America since the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018. What was once only available in Nevada is now available everywhere as sportsbooks open up shop wherever they’re legally allowed. This has brought a whole new dimension to NBA games and NFL Sundays beyond wins, losses, and playoff races. Bettors now can place wagers on all kinds of weird things, like whether the bases will be loaded at the end of the first inning.

The most common type of bet is a straight bet, which is simply a wager on one specific outcome. If your pick wins, you win; if it loses, you lose. It’s the easiest bet to make and probably the most common in sports. It’s important to remember that just because you bet on a team that you support doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed to win.

Spread bets are more complex, and involve a certain number of points, goals, or runs being given or taken away from the final score. This number is determined by the bookmakers, and it handicaps one team over another when they play each other. It’s a way for them to ensure that they have a balanced book, and that all bettors have an equal opportunity to win.

When putting a spread bet, you should always check the total number of points being scored in the game. This is because this will help you determine if the over/under bet is good value or not. A higher total means a more competitive game, while a lower total means a low-scoring match.

If the numbers have a plus (+) in front of them, it means that team/player is considered the underdog. The same goes for the minus (-) in front of the numbers, with the higher number being the favorite.

There are also prop bets, or proposition bets, which can range from very general to incredibly obscure. These can be as simple as which player will score the first touchdown of a game or whether the bases will be loaded at the end the first inning. They are fun to bet on, but don’t be afraid to avoid them if you want to maximize your winnings.

The best thing to do to improve your chances of winning is to stick with the sports you know and start small with bets on new ones. This will allow you to get used to the dynamics of different sports without risking too much money. It’s also a good idea to have a schedule or routine for placing bets, and to never chase a bad bet with more wagers in an attempt to recoup your losses. That’s known as going on tilt and it’s a surefire way to ruin your bankroll.