Sports Betting 101

sports betting

Sports betting is one of the fastest growing segments in sports, with 13 states legalizing it so far. But even though it’s a lot more common than ever before, there are still some things you need to know before placing your first bet.

Betting odds are a key factor to understand when it comes to placing a bet. The odds are a measure of the probability that a specific bet will win or lose, and are calculated by dividing the payout odds by the risk. The higher the odds, the more likely you are to win a bet.

The sportsbooks make their money by taking a small percentage of all bets placed. To offset this, they shift the lines in an attempt to entice or discourage you from making certain types of bets. For example, a team may be listed as +400 while another sportsbook has them at +300. The difference of a half-point might not seem like much, but it adds up over the long haul.

Another important thing to consider is the total (Over/Under) bet. These bets are based on the combined total score of both teams. If the teams score exactly what the line says, it’s a push and the bets are refunded by most sportsbooks.

Finally, it’s also helpful to open a separate bank account that’s exclusively for placing bets. Having this dedicated account will help you stay in control of your money and prevent the temptation to chase bad bets. A good rule of thumb is to never risk more than 1% or 2% of your bankroll on any bet.