12 Things Every Beginner Needs to Know About Sports Betting

The anti-gambling stigma that has long plagued sports betting is quickly fading, with more than half of American states now legalizing it. This has sparked a multibillion-dollar industry, and millions of people are eager to try their hand at making winning bets. Before you can make a bet, though, it’s crucial to understand how sports betting works. Here are 12 things every beginner needs to know.

Betting odds are the cornerstone of sports betting, and it’s essential to learn them well. They are based on the implied probability that a given bet will win, and they’re adjusted to reflect action from sharp bettors. The higher the bet amount, the more likely you are to lose, but understanding how they work is fundamental for any bettor.

Lines move in response to injuries and other factors that could affect the game, but they also move because the public is betting heavily on one team and the book wants more action on the other side. This can be a great opportunity for the contrarian bettor, as it often leads to inflated prices for teams that are undervalued.

Props (proposition bets) are wagers that don’t fall into the standard point spread, moneyline or total categories. They can be anything from how many total strikeouts a pitcher will have against the Reds to how many points the Rams and Seahawks will combine for in their matchup. These bets are more difficult to win than standard wagers, but they can have huge payouts if you’re successful.

The best way to make money at sports betting is to become an expert in a single league or team. This means watching every game, reading every report and analyzing all the relevant statistics week after week. If you’re able to do this, you’ll know everything there is to know about the team, its players and the league and will be able to pick the most accurate bets.

If you’re not an expert, it’s usually better to stick with bets on games that you already know a lot about. This will reduce the risk of losing your bankroll and increase the likelihood that you’ll be able to win. It’s also important to keep your emotions in check when betting, as you will most likely lose more than you win. If you’re making bets based on emotion or fandom, or because you think one team has prettier uniforms, you’ll have a hard time making money. This is especially true if you’re a die-hard fan of a particular team or player.