Sports Betting 101

Sports betting has exploded across America since the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018 and it’s an industry that can be lucrative for smart bettors. However, it’s important to understand that profitability is a marathon, not a sprint and making wise bets based on research and analysis rather than emotions and sentiment will lead to long-term success.

The key to sports betting is finding advantages, opportunities where the line a book is offering is vulnerable. Pro bettors are math freaks and know what statistics to look for to find those edges. In addition, they keep near-obsessive records of their bets. These records allow them to test their theories, such as the one that states that left-handed pitchers tend to lose games. Keeping proper records will also help bettors to identify when they are getting taken advantage of by untrustworthy services, which is why it’s important to only place your wagers with reputable sportsbooks. Check out forums and reviews of any service that you’re thinking about using to get a feel for what others are saying about the company. You should also check the Better Business Bureau for complaints.

A bet on a specific team or player is called a “moneyline” and you can place these types of bets online, in person at brick-and-mortar establishments and even via the internet at betting exchanges. The most important aspect of moneyline betting is thorough research, which can include team or individual player history, injury reports and weather conditions. This research is particularly important when placing bets against the spread, as the more you know about a game’s odds of winning and losing, the better your chances of making profitable wagers.

Another type of bet is the “Over/Under” total, which is a prediction of how many points will be scored in a game. A good rule of thumb for wagering on totals is to remember that it’s never over until the game is over, so don’t be afraid to take the Over if you think the teams will combine for more than the number set by the sportsbook.

Finally, sports bettors can make bets on teams and players through “correlated parlays,” which are two or more bets that are connected by a common theme. For example, if you’re confident that a particular team will win, you can make a bet on them and the “Over/Under” for the total points scored in the game. This strategy can offer huge payouts, but it’s important to use it judiciously because more bets increase the risk of losing. It’s best to stick with 2-3 events at a time when placing correlated parlays.