Sports betting has emerged from the shadows into the mainstream, with millions of sports fans now wagering billions on their favorite teams. But while legal sports gambling has sparked a boom ($13 billion was bet legally in 2019), it’s important for those new to the industry to keep a few key things in mind.
1. Know Your Bankroll
Before placing a bet, determine how much money you’re willing to risk in a single game and stick to it. This number will serve as your baseline for the entire season, helping you avoid a big loss when your luck turns south or a string of bad games makes you feel like a sucker for taking another bet. It’s also a good idea to open a specific bank account that you’ll use solely for your sports betting activities. Each bet should represent one to two percent of your bankroll, so you don’t deplete your entire stash with a few bad days.
2. Know How To Read Odds
Betting on a sporting event is based on the probability of an occurrence occurring during the event, and oddsmakers set these probabilities by comparing both teams. A team with a higher chance of winning will be listed as a favorite, while a team with a lower chance of winning is the underdog. When making a bet, don’t let your emotions or fandom of a team get in the way of thinking clearly; separate yourself from your emotions and focus on the stats.
3. Understand Betting Options
There are many different ways to place a bet, and learning about them will make you a better sports bettor. Most bets are made by clicking on the sport you want to bet on, and a list of available games and ways to bet will come up. Each bet will include the potential payout, so you can see whether or not you’re a winner before placing it. The easiest bet to understand is a straight bet, where you bet on a team or player to win.
4. Know What a Cover is
A “cover” in sports betting refers to a bet that beats the line or spread given by the bookmakers. The oddsmakers handicap a game by giving points to a team and subtracting them from another, causing the underdog to win the bet. This is why you’ll often see a plus sign (+) before a team’s odds, as it indicates they’re the underdog.
5. Understand the Vig (Jake)
The vig is the sportsbook’s edge, or profit, which you pay when you bet on a game. It’s not easy to break even when you factor in the vig, as the most successful sports bettors only get less than 60% of their bets right. However, if you can learn how to make smart bets and manage your bankroll effectively, you’ll have a much better shot at breaking even. Just remember that it takes a lot of discipline and dedication to master the craft of sports betting.