Sports Betting 101


A betting bet involves placing a wager on the outcome of a sports event. A winning bet is one that has positive expected value, meaning that you win more than you lose. A losing bet is one that has negative expected value, meaning you lose more than you win.

Bets on teams that are not the favorites to win a game (called “spread bets”) are based on the margin of victory, with the team that isn’t favored receiving a certain number of points/goals/runs to cover the spread. This is often called an “over/under total” bet. It’s a good idea to avoid these bets because they can quickly add up and reduce your bankroll.

Parlays are a combination of two or more bets that can boost your payouts by a large amount. Teasers, which allow bettors to shift point spreads by a set number of points, are similar to parlays but offer lower payouts because the bettors must be able to pick both teams to win in order for the bet to pay out.

Futures bets are long-term wagers on an event or award that won’t be decided until the future. They tend to have higher odds than regular bets and can be a fun way to make some money.

A straight bet is a simple bet on a single team to win a game. For example, if you think the Toronto Raptors will win against the Boston Celtics, you would place a straight bet on the Raptors. Horse racing odds are displayed in fractional form, with a number on the left of the backslash that tells you how much you’ll win for every $1 wagered. The number on the right of the backslash is the amount of the bet. Odds of 7/1 mean that you’ll win $7 for every $1 wagered.