Sports Betting 101

sports betting

Sports betting is an increasingly popular way to wager on sporting events. It’s an exciting and rewarding pastime, but it can also be dangerous if you’re not careful. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

The Right Bet Types

There are many different types of sports bets, each of which has its own rules and payout structure. Understanding the different types of bets can help you make smarter, more informed decisions when placing your wagers.

Straight bets

A straight bet is the most common type of sports wager. This bet involves a single team or player, and the amount you win depends on the odds offered by the bookmaker. For example, a -150 bet on the Atlanta Braves to win the National League East division means that you will win $150 for every $100 wagered on the team.

In-Play Betting

In-play betting is an excellent way to place a bet during a game, and it can be a great way to cash in on big upsets. You can find in-play odds on sportsbooks and online. In-play bets allow you to place a bet without having to leave your home or office, and they’re available at most major sportsbooks.


The odds on a particular team or player are often calculated by computer. These odds are then posted on a display called the tote board, and on television screens throughout the betting area.

These odds are constantly changing during the prerace betting period. This can be confusing, especially for new sports bettors who aren’t familiar with the process.

Point Spreads

These bets involve a “spread” that determines the margin of victory. Typically, the spread is larger for the underdog than for the favorite. This is because it’s a better bet to play the underdog than to play the favorite, as you’ll have a lower risk of losing.

Over/Under Totals

This is another common type of bet, and it’s an important one to understand. This is because a bet on the Over/Under can make you more money than a bet on a team’s regular-season record, if it’s under.

Futures Bets

A futures bet is similar to a moneyline bet, but it’s a bit different. Instead of choosing which team will win a single game, futures bets focus on the outcome of a larger event, such as the NHL Stanley Cup, the World Series or a golf tournament.

The odds for a futures bet are generally higher than the odds for a straight bet, and the payoff can be much larger. However, it’s crucial to remember that you have to choose the right time to make a futures bet.

If you’re new to sports betting, it’s a good idea to start small and build your bankroll over time. This will help you avoid a run of bad luck and prevent you from becoming overwhelmed by large losses.

It’s also a good idea to set aside a certain amount of money for sports betting each month, and to separate that from your day-to-day budget. This will ensure that you don’t overspend on sports betting or get too emotionally involved with the games.