Sports betting has emerged from the shadows and into the mainstream over the past four years, fueling billions in wagers and generating tax revenue for states that allow it. For many novices, however, the nuances of sports betting can be confusing and even overwhelming. Here are 12 things every beginner should know before placing their first bet.
The odds on a team winning a game or event are calculated in advance by the bookmaker and displayed on a screen called the tote board. They are updated continuously as bets are placed, and are based on a complex formula that considers the team’s historical performance, current standing in their division and league, and other factors. Bettors can wager that a team will win (first place), lose (place or show) or tie (place and show). Payouts for bets on horses are displayed on the tote board as well and vary by pool, with winners earning higher payouts than those who select either place or show.
A bettor can also place bets on “props,” or proposition bets, which can be any type of wager that doesn’t fit into the point spread, moneyline or totals markets. These bets often require you to pay a premium to back the under, such as the over/under on Scherzer’s strikeouts versus Cincinnati.
To be successful, a sports bettor should focus on one sport and become an expert on it. It is advisable to watch matches of the specific sport and take notes on the nuances of the game. Moreover, the sport should be studied from its history to its present trends in order to understand the dynamics of the game.