Types of Sports Betting

There are thousands of ways to bet on sports, but the core principle is that you’re betting on an occurrence during a game or event and risking money on its probability of happening. Whether you’re betting on a team to win or an individual player’s performance, sportsbooks will set odds on these occurrences and payout winning bettors.

The basic types of bets in sports betting are straight bets, totals, point spreads and futures. Straight bets are wagers on a single outcome, such as a team to win a game or a fighter to win a fight. You can make straight bets at physical or online sportsbooks.

Point spreads are used to even games between uneven teams. The number is based on the expected difference in points, goals or runs and is usually determined by the bookmakers. The goal is to force the favored team to win by a certain amount to cover the spread, while making it difficult for the underdog team to win outright.

Totals, or over/under bets, are another popular form of sports betting. These bets focus on the final score of a game rather than who wins it. If you think a game will end with a high score, you can place a bet on the over. If you expect a defensive slugfest, you can bet on the under. These bets are typically offered on all major sports. You can also place parlays, which are a group of 2-team bets that pay off if the whole series of bets is won.