Sports Betting 101

Before the Supreme Court opened up sports gambling to the masses in 2018, millions of sports fans were already betting on their favorite teams and games. While it’s great to be able to wager on the action from the comfort of your couch while eating buffalo chicken dip, it’s important to keep your gambling habits in check and not lose control of your money. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned pro, here are some tips to help you make smarter decisions when placing your bets.

There are different types of bets you can place on a sporting event, but the basic premise is that you’re predicting what will happen in a game and risking money on the chances that it will occur. Straight bets are the most common, and involve placing a bet on a single outcome. If you think the Toronto Raptors will win a game, you place a bet on the team to win, known as a moneyline bet. You can also place bets on multiple outcomes in a game, such as the total score and Over/Under bets. Over/Under bets are based on the total points predicted by the bookmaker, and if you think the combined scores of a game will exceed the number, you bet on the Over; if you think the teams will play a defensive slugfest, you bet on the Under.

You can also place futures bets, which are wagers on a specific outcome over a certain period of time. For example, if you believe a team will win the Super Bowl this season, you can place a futures bet on that team before the season starts in September. These bets are often longer odds than standard bets, and the payouts can take weeks or even months to clear.

If you’re new to sports betting, it’s a good idea to start small and gradually increase your bet amounts as you gain experience and confidence in your ability to pick winners. It’s important to remember that even the best bettors, including those who have been betting for years, will still have a few cold streaks mixed in with their hot ones. This is why you should never bet more than you can afford to lose, and always consider your personal financial situation and risk tolerance before betting any money.

Another tip is to be sure to research any services that you are considering using for your betting needs. Check out forums, read reviews and Better Business Bureau ratings before making any decisions. If you’re not sure about a service, don’t be afraid to ask fellow bettors for recommendations. It’s also a good idea to set aside a bankroll for your betting activities and stick to it. Betting 1-2% of your bankroll on each play will give you enough room for variance to play out without going broke.