Sports Betting 101

sports betting

Sports and betting have always gone hand in hand, though betting has been especially popular in horse racing and baseball. Betting scandals have periodically dampened this popularity, including one involving the 1919 World Series that was a major blow to baseball and other major league sports. The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn PASPA has renewed interest in sports betting, and the industry is expanding to include regulated markets that are often safer than illegal ones.

Legal sports betting is a big business. As a result, many states are attempting to establish their own regulated markets. While a few have been successful, most are still in the early stages of their efforts.

Those who are successful at making money from sports betting generally have a well-crafted strategy that involves thorough research and disciplined bankroll management. Professional sports bettors, known as sharps, are not immune to losing streaks, however. In fact, they’re more likely to experience a long run of losses than a short winning streak.

The most basic form of a sports bet is a straight bet. This bet is placed on a single outcome, such as the winner of an NBA game or a UFC fight. You bet on the team or individual you think will win, and if you are right, you’ll win the bet. This bet type is the most popular and offers a low house edge, about 2.5%.

Spread bets are a little more complex than straight bets. The number of points, goals, or runs a team will score is determined by the oddsmakers at the sportsbook, and this determines how much money you can win. The term “cover” is used to describe when a team beats the spread; for example, the Green Bay Packers covered a 4-point underdog by beating the Washington Redskins in Week 2 of the NFL season.

Aside from spread bets, there are also a wide variety of other types of wagers available in most regulated markets. These range from prop bets (which are based on non-events, such as how many touchdown passes a quarterback will throw in a game) to over/unders (over 1.5 TD passes, for example). Another common wager is the moneyline, which is similar to a coin toss and pays out if either team scores a touchdown or loses a touchdown.

Some of these wagers, such as the moneyline, have an extremely low house edge, while others have a much higher one. This difference is due to the commission that a sportsbook takes for every bet, which is commonly called the juice or vig. It’s a mini fee that sportsbooks charge for their services, and it makes up a substantial portion of their profits. This is why savvy bettors understand the importance of knowing the house edge and taking advantage of it.