The Basics of Sports Betting

sports betting

Sports betting is the act of placing wagers on a variety of sports events. It has been legalized in 20 states and is growing rapidly. While sports betting can be a fun way to watch and wager on your favorite teams, it is important to understand the basics of how it works before you begin.

The first step to making money betting on sports is to set aside a bankroll for the amount of money you will be betting on a game. Depending on how much you have set aside, you should determine the size of your individual bets. Betting too small can deplete your bankroll in one bad game and risking too much can result in a losing streak that will cost you a lot of money.

Know Your Bet Types

There are many different types of bets in sports betting, but the most common are straight bets and futures bets. Understanding how each of these wagers work can make you a more successful bettor and help you win more often.

Straight bets are the most common type of wager and are commonly referred to as “single bets.” They’re simply wagers on the outcome of a single game or event. They are typically marked with negative odds for a favorite team and positive odds for an underdog, and they’re the easiest to place at a sportsbook.

When you’re deciding which bet to place, it’s best to consider your personal preferences and the sportsbook’s odds. You’ll also want to think about how much you’re willing to risk on each bet, as well as your betting strategy.

A bet on a total is similar to a bet on the winning team, but this time you’re betting on how many runs/goals/points two teams will combine for during a game. For example, a Los Angeles Rams game has a total of 42.5. Rather than betting on the team that has the higher total, you’re betting on the team that has the lower total.

You can also bet on props, which are random wagers on events that don’t affect the outcome of a game. These are often popular at parties and can be a great way to add excitement to a sporting event.

The most important thing to remember when you’re learning how to bet on sports is to start off with just a few wagers, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in the emotion of a bet and want to bet more than you’re willing to lose, but this can lead to big losses down the road.

Lastly, be sure to understand your money management strategies. Most bettors suggest that you should use anywhere from 1-2% of your bankroll on each wager, as this allows variance to play out without going broke.

It’s also important to learn when to stop. If you’ve had a poor run, it’s easy to feel like you need to bet more than your available funds allow to try to make up for the losses you’ve suffered. But it’s better to take a break and focus on your research for the next game than to risk going over your bankroll with an emotionally-charged bet.