Sports Betting 101

Millions of sports fans watch their favorite teams and think to themselves, “making money gambling must be really easy.” But in reality, most people lose more than they win when they wager on sports. It’s important to remember that before making your first bet, do your research (including checking forums and Better Business Bureau ratings) and always stay clear-headed. And never be lured in by promises of guaranteed wins by a sports betting service that charges a fee for their picks.

The most common way to bet on sports is with moneylines, spreads and parlays. But there are also prop bets that give you a vested interest in more specific outcomes, such as how many points a player will score. It’s also important to understand that odds can and do change, so shop around for the best prices.

If you’re a fan of over/under bets, remember this popular saying: “It’s never over until it’s over.” This is especially true when betting on totals. If a game is close, it can go either way, so be sure to check the score at halftime to see how much further the over/under has moved.

If a team wins by more than the number of points bettors expected them to win, they’ve covered the spread. This is known as a push. In some cases, the point spread is listed as a decimal, rather than a fraction, so bettors know that if the team scores more than the number of points they bet on, they’ll win the bet.