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Sports Betting 101

sports betting

The sports betting boom is sweeping the United States, with more than $13 billion bet legally in 2019. While it is a great way to have fun and increase your enjoyment of a game, there are some important things you should know before placing your first bet. This article will cover the basics of sports betting, including how odds are calculated, common terms and popular bets. It will also provide tips for new bettors to avoid some common mistakes.

The most basic bet is to pick the winner of a game. The payout for this bet is based on the odds of the team winning, which are set by the sportsbook based on their calculations and algorithms. A bet on the favorite team will have lower odds than a bet on the underdog team. The higher the odds, the bigger the payout.

A more complicated bet is to place a bet on the total number of points scored in a game. This is done by selecting either the over or under a line set by the sportsbook. The over/under is a bet that the combined score of all teams will be higher or lower than a certain number, such as 66.5. The over/under is also available for props, which are proposition bets that ask bettors to predict something other than a team’s win or loss, such as how many total strikeouts a pitcher will have in a game.

If a team wins by more than the number of points they are favored by, their bets will win and their payout will be the amount of money they receive beyond the returned wager. This is known as covering the spread, and it’s a huge part of sports betting.

Odds are a crucial piece of sports betting, as they let bettors know how confident the sportsbook is in the outcome of a game. The numbers with a plus sign in front of them are called positive odds, and those with a minus sign are negative. This may sound confusing, but remember that the odds of a coin flipping heads or tails are 50/50, so the plus and minus odds are just mirror images of each other!

In some cases, the combined scores will land right on the total number, which is known as a push or tie. The sportsbook will not lose any money on the bets, but bettors will not win either. To prevent this from happening, sportsbooks often set the total at a half number like 66.5.

In addition to the over/under and moneyline bets, most sportsbooks offer a variety of other markets. These include futures bets, props and parlays, and in-game betting on things like the next possession result or whether a player will score a two pointer. In-game betting is typically available during timeouts, free throw attempts and between quarters, and the markets will suspend when play resumes.