to Sports Betting
If you love watching or playing sports, and you have a knack for
picking winners in basketball, football or baseball (or any other sport
for that matter), sports betting could be a great way for you to enjoy
the games even more. And of course, you could score a little money.
Maybe even a lot of money. But there are risks involved, and there are
things to know before you bet and pitfalls to avoid at all stages of
the gambling game.
The most important thing is, of course, to know your teams inside and
out. The best sports gamblers study the stats and injury status of all the players, not just the
star players. Beyond that, there are things you must know about the
sports betting process. Here’s a quick guide that will teach
you some of the basic rules and concepts of sports betting.
Odds and Payouts
Probability plays a huge role in sports betting. To place a smart
wager, you should know what odds apply to your specific bet. If, for
example, you bet on a highly favored team, then the odds of that team
winning go up. Expressed as a fraction or ratio, like 2-to-1, or
3-to-1, the odds of a long shot winning a game are low, as expressed in
a ratio such as 300-to-1.
Those numbers and ratios also indicate the payout for each bet. If you
bet on a long shot at 300-to-1, for instance, and you win, then it pays
out $300 for every $1 that you put in. Conversely, if you bet on a
heavily favored team, say at 2-to-1, the pay out is only double of what
you put in. This works the same way in most games you wager money on.
for example, betting on a certain number pays 35-to-1 while a bet on
red only doubles your wager.
To level the playing field and do away with confusing odds and ratios,
sportsbooks will offer a spread bet. In a spread bet, the sportsbook
designates a favored team for each game, and assigns them a negative
point spread (an amount of points to be added to the team’s
score at the end of the game). So if Team A plays Team B, and Team A is
favored by a five-point spread, then they are said to have a spread of
“minus five.” Team B is said to have a spread of
“plus five.” If team A wins by only four points,
then Team B wins the bet. If the score comes out to a tie after
applying the spread, then the bet is a push and you get your wager back
and point spreads can be a
little confusing at first, but if you can identify when the odds makers
have made a mistake in who they think will win, then you can improve
your chances greatly.