A Beginner’s Guide to Sports Betting

Sports betting has become a big part of sports culture, with Americans placing around 13 billion bets last year. But new bettors can be confused by all the different terms and phrases used in sports betting. We’ve put together a beginners-level breakdown of everything you need to know about sports betting, including the different ways to bet and popular terms.

Moneyline Bets

The simplest way to place a bet is by placing your money on the team or player you think will win the game. These bets are typically called “moneyline” or “over/under” bets, and can be placed on single teams or multiple teams in a game. You can also make a parlay bet, which involves placing multiple bets on different events in one bet slip.

Point Spreads

The purpose of a point spread is to balance the action on both sides of a game, so that the bookmakers don’t lose too much money. The point spread is usually adjusted based on injuries, weather, and other factors that could impact the game. This makes it possible for a sharp bettor to find value bets by going against the public.

Another common type of bet is a total. A total is the combined number of something in a game, such as points, goals, rebounds, wins, saves, rounds, birdies, or aces, depending on the sport. You can bet over or under a total, and you’ll win if it ends up higher than the sportsbook’s listed amount.

Futures Wagers

While all bets are made on future events, those that are labeled as “futures” have a long-term payout horizon. A bet on a team to win the Super Bowl, for example, will not pay off until after the season has concluded.

Managing Your Bankroll

Whether you’re a recreational gambler or a professional bettor, it’s important to set aside a budget for your sports betting. This should be an amount you’re willing to risk, and it should be separate from your normal day-to-day cash. By doing this, you’ll be able to avoid gambling-related debts and protect yourself from bad luck.

Another important factor is to do your research before making a bet. You should learn as much as you can about both teams and the matchup, including the weather, current injuries, and past performances. You should also try to separate yourself from your fandom and be unbiased when assessing the odds of a team.