Sports betting has always been a source of excitement and entertainment for sports enthusiasts. While the legalization of sports betting in 2018 sparked a boom in the United States, with a staggering $13 billion legally bet in 2019, newcomers need to approach sports betting to have fun.
Understanding How Sports Betting Works
Sports betting online offers thousands of options, but the basic premise remains the same: predict the outcome of a game or event and place a wager on the likelihood of that outcome. Sportsbooks set odds based on the probability of certain occurrences, allowing you to bet on the side you believe will win. The sportsbook essentially takes the opposite position.
Higher-probability events have lower risk and lower payouts, while lower-probability events have higher risk and higher potential rewards. Most sports betting options involve choosing between two sides, such as teams or Yes vs. No scenarios, but some bets offer multiple options to wager on, like predicting the champion before the season begins.
Favorites and Underdogs
In sports betting, you’ll often come across the terms “favorite” and “underdog.” The favorite is the side or outcome with a higher probability of winning, resulting in lower payouts due to lower risk. Conversely, the underdog has a lower probability of winning but offers higher potential payouts. When both sides have equal chances of winning, the odds may be even, referred to as a “pick” or “pick’em.”
Common Types of Bets
While the concept of sports betting is simple—betting on one outcome or another—there are various types of bets to choose from. Five common types include:
- Spread Bets: Often referred to as point spreads, spread bets even the playing field for uneven games. Oddsmakers assign a handicap to the two sides, requiring the favorite to win by a certain number of points to cover the spread while allowing the underdog to win outright or lose by a specific margin and still win the bet.
- Moneyline Bets: This type of bet involves simply picking the winner of a game or event. Odds are based on the implied probability of a result, with low-risk moneylines (favorites) offering smaller returns and higher-risk moneylines (underdogs) offering bigger returns.
- Over/Under Bets: Also known as totals, over/under bets involve predicting whether the combined score or outcome of a game will be over or under a projected total set by oddsmakers.
- Parlay Bets: These bets combine two or more individual bets into one larger wager. To win a parlay bet, all included bets must be correct. The more bets included, the higher the potential payout, but a single incorrect bet results in a loss.
- Same-Game Parlays: Many sportsbooks now allow bettors to create parlays using events and outcomes within a single game. Each selection within the parlay must be correct for the bet to win.
In sports betting, odds represent the potential payout based on the likelihood of an outcome. In the American odds format system, for example, -110 means that for every $1 you want to win, you must risk $1.10.
Negative values indicate that you must risk more than the potential return, while positive values indicate the possibility of winning more than the risked amount. Other odds formats, such as decimal or fraction, are also available.
Betting on Sports Online
To bet on sports online, start by researching the legal options available in your area. Some regions allow online sports betting, and there are numerous online sportsbooks to choose from.
In areas where online betting is not permitted, you may find mobile sports betting sites linked to retail sportsbooks and casinos, requiring in-person deposits and withdrawals.
Depositing and withdrawing funds from online sportsbooks is typically quick and simple, with popular options including major credit cards, bank transfers and digital payment methods like PayPal.
Finding the Best Online Sportsbooks
When selecting an online sportsbook, look for established and trusted brands that offer multiple deposit and withdrawal methods, prioritize privacy protection, and provide a wide range of sports, leagues, and bet types. The best online sportsbooks offer fair odds and returns on various markets.
Determining Bet Size
The amount to wager on a sports bet depends on factors such as your bankroll, the odds of winning and your risk tolerance. One approach is to use a unit system, where you bet a percentage of your bankroll on each bet.
Another approach considers the probability of winning and adjusts the bet size accordingly. It’s important to bet within your financial means and avoid wagering more than you can afford to lose.
Useful Sports Betting Tips
Here are some tips to enhance your sports betting experience:
- Consider Home/Away: The venue of a game can influence the outcome. Some teams perform better at home, while others struggle away.
- Monitor Line Moves: Odds constantly adjust based on the sportsbook’s action, injuries, weather and other factors. Place bets at the optimal time to get the best odds.
- Account for Injuries and Weather: Key player injuries and adverse weather conditions can impact game outcomes. Stay informed about any significant factors that could affect your wagers.
- Practice Money Management: Dedicate a percentage of your bankroll to each bet to avoid depleting your funds with one bad day of wagering. Many recommend risking between 1% and 5% of your bankroll per bet.
- Betting Trends: Be cautious when relying on betting trends. Consider long-term trends built on a narrative or reasoning rather than short-term trends based on small sample sizes.
- Know When to Stop: Recognize when to take a break. Avoid chasing losses by emotionally charged wagers. Step back, regroup and focus on researching future games.
- Shop Around: Download multiple sports betting apps and compare lines before placing your wagers. Use legal sports betting trackers to find the best odds available in your state.
- Bet with Objectivity: Remain objective and base your bets on numbers and unique circumstances rather than an emotional attachment to a team.
- Respect the Market: Remember that the betting market is well-informed. Avoid chasing bets when the market moves against you.
Sports betting offers an exhilarating way to engage with your favorite sports and events. By understanding how sports betting works, exploring different types of bets, practicing effective money management and following useful tips, you can enhance your sports betting experience. Remember, the key is to have fun while betting responsibly.