Sports Betting 101 – Getting Familiar With the Odds

sports betting

Sports betting is booming across the United States and around the world — nearly $13 billion was bet legally in 2019 — but it’s important for anyone who’s new to the sport to remember that the main objective should always be to have fun. And that means avoiding the temptation to take more risk than you can afford to lose.

The first step to that is making sure you know how to read the odds on a game. The odds are how bookmakers predict the probability of a certain outcome, so they’re helpful for bettors to determine how likely a wager is to win or lose. They’re displayed as positive or negative numbers, with the lower number being a better chance for the underdog to win and the higher one suggesting the favorite will win.

Another way to get familiar with the odds is by learning how to bet different types of bets. A moneyline bet is the most basic type of bet, while other options include over/unders and parlays. Those bets are determined by adding the teams’ total points together and then betting on whether those total points will exceed or fall short of a predetermined number, such as the over/under 2.5 goals in a hockey game.

One of the most important things to understand is that it’s going to be a while before you become consistently profitable at sports gambling. Many people who are not accustomed to the discipline of gambling will continue to bet on sports long after their losses have piled up, often blaming their losses on bad luck or poor performances by teams or players.