Sports Betting 101

Sports betting has exploded across America since the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018. It’s now legal to place a wager on almost any major sporting event, and more than half of college-age students report having made at least one bet in the past year. It’s important to remember, though, that while sports betting can be fun and exciting, it is also a serious threat to the well-being of student-athletes and to the integrity of NCAA competition.

While there is no magic formula for winning at sports betting, following some simple rules can help bettors increase their chances of profiting. These include starting slowly, setting a bankroll and studying player and team stats before placing a bet. Bettors should also avoid making bets they are unable to afford to lose. Finally, it is essential to keep track of losses and wins in a spreadsheet.

Using a tool like Sharp can make sports betting more profitable for bettors. The site allows bettors to evaluate teams for profitability on moneylines, against the spread and when betting totals (over/unders). Users can even use Sharp to discover trends that might surprise them, such as how many times a team has won when facing a losing opponent or how often they win after trailing by three or more points.

A good rule of thumb when betting on sports is to only risk 1% to 5% of your total bankroll per game. This allows you to recover from a bad week and build up your profits over time. In addition to limiting the amount you bet, it is also important to follow expert analysts on social media and watch pregame shows on sports channels. Many analysts provide their best bets and picks for the day’s games, and their insights can give you an edge over your competitors.

Betting on sports is all about understanding odds. Odds specify the implied probability that a certain outcome will occur and how much money can be won if it does. They can refer to moneyline, spread or total bets, and they can be displayed as American, British (fractional) or European decimal odds. American and fractional odds are more common, but both systems can be confusing for beginners.

If you’re new to sports betting, odds are one of the first things you need to learn. They are displayed as a number on top of a fraction, with the numerator indicating how many times an outcome is expected to fail and the denominator showing how many times it’s likely to succeed. For example, if a boxer is given odds of 9 to 5, this means that he is expected to lose eight fights and win five.

There are also odds calculators available online to help bettors understand odds and calculate their potential profits. Having a basic understanding of odds will help bettors decide whether to place a bet on an underdog or a favorite, and they can also be used to predict the total number of goals scored in a soccer match or basketball game.