Sports betting is booming as millions of fans have discovered the joys and financial rewards of placing wagers on their favorite teams and players. Legalization of the activity in recent years has removed the anti-gambling stigma and opened the door for a multibillion-dollar industry to emerge.
While the popularity of sports betting has grown, it’s important to remember that this is not a get-rich-quick game. Bettors who take the time to understand the various types of bets, odds, and other popular terms are best positioned to make informed decisions and maximize their chances of winning. Here are 12 things every beginner needs to know about sports betting.
Betting lines are the numbers assigned to each moneyline, point spread and total bet type. In the United States, nearly all legal sportsbooks exclusively use what are called American odds, which are based on probability. A positive figure (such as +100 or +222) is assigned to the underdog, and a negative number (such as -120 or -155), to the favorite. These line numbers are converted into an implied probability, which bettors can then compare against each other to determine which team or event has the better chance of winning.
Value betting is a measured way of making bets on sports that can help savvy bettors generate a long-term profit with a bookmaker. The concept is closely linked to Expected Value, which identifies situations where the odds suggest that a selection is less likely to win than it actually is – creating a potential edge in your favour.
The risk of losing streaks
If you’re going to invest your time and money in betting on sports, it’s important that you understand the risks involved. There is always the possibility that a bad streak will wipe out your bankroll, so it’s important to manage your money and stick to an investment plan. One recommended strategy is to risk between 1% and 5% of your bankroll on each bet, depending on how confident you are in the play.
The risk of chasing wins
As a bettor, it’s natural to be drawn toward the high-odds winners, but it’s important to remember that you won’t win every bet you place. Despite what your brain may tell you, the plus sign (or ‘over’) does not mean a team is the underdog; it means the line is set higher than it should be. It’s also important to avoid chasing your losses, as it can quickly derail any profit-generating process.