Sports Betting 101

sports betting

The sports betting industry has never been more accessible to consumers, thanks to state-by-state legalization and the growing number of online and mobile betting options. But sports betting comes with a much higher risk than investing in the stock market, so it’s important to understand what you’re getting into before wagering any money.

Bankroll Management

First and foremost, be sure to manage your bankroll wisely. Determine a fixed amount of money you’re willing, in the worst-case scenario, to lose on any given game and stick with it. This is your bankroll, and it’s important to be able to separate yourself from your fandom and do the research. Set your beer aside and learn as much about both teams as you can before deciding on a bet.

Spreads (also known as lines) are numbers created by bookmakers that handicap or favor one team over another when two teams play each other. A line is usually in increments of half-a-point (.5) because very few sports have a full point scoring system. When a bet is placed against the spread, the team with the higher total score will win, and the team with the lower total score will lose. Pushes are rare, and most books will refund the bet if they occur.

Futures bets are wagers made on long-term outcomes, like a team winning the World Series or a player winning next year’s MVP award. Generally, futures bets offer higher odds and larger potential payouts than straight bets. Novelty props are often thrown in for good measure, with some examples being the length of the national anthem and the song the Super Bowl halftime artist will perform.