Sports Betting 101
There’s no question that sports betting is popular, with more than $13 billion bet legally in the United States last year alone. For many fans, it adds an extra level of enjoyment to their viewing experience, allowing them to have a vested interest in the game’s outcome. But before you start betting, there are a few things that you should know.
Money management: If you’re serious about making a profit, it’s important to stick with a budget and a plan for how much you’re going to wager each week. This will keep you from dipping into your winnings or chasing losses. Some experts recommend risking between 1 and 5 percent of your total bankroll on each individual bet.
Choosing the right sportsbook: It’s important to find a site that treats its customers well and has a good track record. Read independent reviews, and don’t be afraid to ask other bettors for recommendations. The best sportsbooks will also have secure deposit and withdrawal methods, and pay out winnings quickly and accurately.
Understanding the odds: In sports betting, the numbers at the top of a line show the number of ways a bet can win or lose. A bet on the underdog has a plus sign (+), while a bet on the favorite has a minus (-) sign. A “push” occurs when the bet wins or loses exactly, like a coin toss.
The house edge: This is a little known fact about sports betting that isn’t always advertised. When you place a bet, the sportsbook takes a small percentage of your wager as their “vig” fee, or vigorish. It’s not as big as the rake in a casino, but it’s still there and should be taken into account when you’re placing your bets.
Over/Under betting: When you place a bet on an Over/Under, you’re predicting whether the two teams involved in a game will combine for more (Over) or less (Under) runs/goals/points than the total amount posted by the sportsbook. For example, if the Rams-Seahawks game has a total of 42.5 points, and you think it’ll be a defensive slugfest that ends with fewer combined points than 42, you would place a bet on the Under.
If you’re betting on sports, there’s no guarantee that you will make a profit. However, with a smart strategy and careful money management, you can increase your chances of success. Just remember that there are no sure things in sports betting, and even the most successful gamblers will have losing streaks from time to time. The key is to stay patient and stick with your strategy, and you’ll be on the right path to a profitable future in sports betting! Have fun, and good luck! Mike Spector is a sports betting columnist for BettingPros. He specializes in NHL, college basketball, and minor league baseball. He has been betting on sports for over 20 years. Follow him on Twitter @MikeSpector01.