Sports betting has never been more accessible to the average bettor, but there is still a learning curve when it comes to understanding the many different bet types. Luckily, there are many resources available to help you make sense of all the options, including expert tips from winning sports bettors and thorough analysis of sportsbook odds.
Straight bets are the most basic type of wager, and they involve placing a bet on the outcome of a single game or event. They are generally easier to win than parlays, as you don’t have to get every team or player involved. While there is a higher risk involved with straight bets, they offer a better payout if you are right.
When placing a sports betting bet, the potential payout will be displayed on your bet slip. This will include the amount of money you wagered, the odds attached to your bet and the maximum payout if you win. This information is always provided when you place a bet, whether online or in person at the book.
Point spreads, also known as handicap bets, are used to even out the playing field between two teams. They do this by setting a margin of points that the favored team must win by in order to cover the point spread, and they allow bettors to place bets on either the underdog or the favorite.
Over/Under (O/U) bets are based on the total number of points, goals, touchdowns and other scoring events in a game. They are a popular way to wager on the final score of a contest, and they can be very lucrative if you are correct.
Props, or proposition bets, are a great way to add some extra excitement to a sporting event. These bets often have a lower house edge than standard bets and are available on both major and minor league games. Some of the more common props include the length of the national anthem and first song played at halftime.
While some “experts” claim that they can make a living from sports betting, most people will lose more than they win. Even those who manage to hit 53% or more of their bets will still lose 45% to 47% of the time, thanks to the built-in house edge, called vig.
A good strategy is to stick to a sport that you’re familiar with, and look for specific situations where you can take advantage of the bookmakers’ mistakes. For example, if you know that certain players are prone to hitting left-handed pitching or that some teams are terrible at home, then focus on those aspects of the game. Also, try to make your wagers at times when the bookmakers are less busy – such as during the summer. This will make it easier to find value bets. A good rule of thumb is to wager 1 -2% of your bankroll on each play, which will prevent you from depleting your funds with one bad day of betting.