Sports betting can seem intimidating for new bettors. But if you understand the basics and learn to read odds, you can bet with confidence, and potentially make a profit.
A bet on the winner of a game is called a moneyline bet. Bets on teams to win or lose by a certain number of points are called spread bets. A bettor can take the spread (betting the underdog) or give it (betting the favorite). If a team covers the spread, it wins the bet. If a team loses by the amount of the spread, the bet is a loss.
Oddsmakers set spreads to create a handicap between two teams. They want to attract bettors who like to pick winners and discourage those who are more interested in winning by a wide margin. They also make the totals more appealing to those who prefer to bet on over/under wagers.
Many sports bettors use a strategy that has worked for them in the past and stick with it. However, this can lead to a lot of frustration. It’s better to bet on a team you know well and study their history in the specific matchup that you are betting on. For example, do they perform better on the road or in primetime? If so, what are the historical trends and how does that match up with your analysis of the game?