Sports Betting 101

Sports betting is one of the fastest-growing entertainment markets worldwide. In fact, it’s a multibillion-dollar industry that’s now legal in many states. But for new sports bettors, there are some things they should know before laying down their money.

First, learn to identify odds and the difference between a favorite and underdog. The odds indicate how risky a wager is, and they also tell you whether you stand to win or lose your bet.

Next, you need to understand how totals work. A total is how much run/goal/points a team or two teams must combine for to win a game. In a Los Angeles Rams-Seahawks matchup, for example, the Over is 42.5 and the Under is 42.

If you think the Under is a better bet, look for games where the Under is at least 8.5 points lower than the Over. Generally, these are games that feature a lot of scoring and have higher odds for an underdog to pull off the upset.

Lines move because of injuries or other factors that affect the game. Smart bettors can recognize when a line is moving and take advantage of this.

Parlay Bets & Money Management

If you want to bet on multiple games at once, a parlay bet is the way to go. It involves placing several bets on one ticket, and each bet on the ticket can have different odds and payoffs.

Money management is key, and you should set a minimum bet size for each wager. Some say you should use anywhere from 1 to 5 percent of your bankroll per play, while others recommend keeping your individual bets between $1 and $5. This will keep you from going broke if you have a bad run.