Sports betting has emerged into the mainstream, overcoming decades of anti-gambling stigma to become a multibillion-dollar industry. But, as with anything, a few bettors make it big while others are left struggling to break even or worse. The most common reason new bettors fail to make money is a lack of knowledge and understanding. Here are 12 things every sports bettor should know before placing their first bet.
1. Understand Odds
A key to making money is finding value, and this goes for both sides of a game. As a result, sports bettors should always be on the lookout for inefficiencies and mispriced markets. Just like the stock market, odds on a particular event or team can change significantly over time. For example, a sportsbook may lower the line on a player after a bad performance or an injury. By doing this, they create an opportunity for bettors to make a profit.
2. Learn About Spread Betting
A popular bet type is the spread, which handicaps one team and favors another when two teams are playing against each other. The point spread takes points away from the favorite and gives them to the underdog, allowing the bookmakers to balance out bets on both sides of the game. The favorite will have a minus sign in front of its odds, while the underdog will have a plus sign.
3. Learn About Totals Bets
A totals bet, also known as an over/under bet, focuses on the combined score of a game rather than who wins. By predicting whether the teams will combine for more (over) or less (under) than the posted total, bettors can potentially win large amounts of money. For example, a game between the Rams and Seahawks has a total of 42.5 points. If you think the two teams will combine for more than 43 points, then you should place a bet on the over.
4. Learn About Props
In addition to point spreads and moneylines, many sportsbooks offer hundreds of additional wagering opportunities known as props. Props aren’t as closely related to the outcome of a game, and can be anything from the number of rushing yards a player will make to the color of Gatorade that douses a coach after a big play. Props are often mispriced, and experienced bettors will look for these inefficiencies to maximize their profits.
5. Learn About Payouts
A key to winning is knowing how much you can risk per bet. The best way to do this is by opening a dedicated bank account that only contains the amount of money you plan on risking for each wager. Some experts recommend dedicating between 1 and 5 percent of your bankroll to each bet. This allows you to make a reasonable number of wagers before depleting your entire bankroll. This also ensures that you’re not betting more than you can afford to lose. Regardless of your strategy, always remember that losing bets are an inevitable part of sports betting.