Understanding the Basics of Sports Betting

sports betting

Sports betting is the act of placing a wager on a sporting event or match and being paid if that bet wins. It can take many forms, from simple straight bets to multi-team parlays that include point spreads. Regardless of the type of bet, understanding what you’re betting on is key to making wise decisions and staying in control of your bankroll.

The most basic bets are called moneyline bets, where you place your money behind a specific outcome and are paid out if it wins. Odds are marked with a plus (plus sign) or minus (negative sign) to indicate the oddsmakers’ predictions of the chances the team you bet on will win. The higher the negative odds, the more likely it is that the bet will lose.

Another popular way to bet is on over/under totals, which are based on the number of runs, goals, points and other statistics that will be scored during a game. For example, if the Rams-Seahawks game has an over/under of 42.5 points, bettors who place wagers on the over are expecting a defensive slugfest that ends with more than 42 combined points.

Futures bets are available on events that will take place in the future, like a team winning the World Series or a player being named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. These bets are generally made before the season starts and the odds update based on injury reports, trades and other factors until an event takes place.