Sports Betting 101

Whether you’re betting on the Super Bowl, March Madness or an MLB game, sports betting offers many options to choose from. However, to place a successful bet you need to know some fundamentals and understand the language that is used by professional bettors.

To make a bet, you must first find a reputable sportsbook that offers the betting line you want to bet on. A bet is either a win or a loss and must cover the spread for you to profit. A win is when the team you backed wins the game by the amount of points required to cover the spread (this is also known as a “cover”). A loss is when the team you backed loses the game by the amount of points required to covers the spread (this is also referred to as a “back”).

When it comes to sports betting, the oddsmakers have a lot to consider, including past performance, current injuries and trends, and home-field advantage. Then they must decide who should be the favorite and underdog. Favorites typically have superior players, more experience, better coaching and match up well against their opponents. The underdog, on the other hand, has poorer players, less experience and often struggles to score points against their opponents.

One of the biggest mistakes is to buy into the media noise machine when betting on a game. If you see ESPN pumping the tires on the Seahawks all week, this tells you that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of other bettors are likely to jump on the Seattle bandwagon and back them. This gives the sportsbooks an edge as they are aware of this public sentiment and will shade their lines in this direction.