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Sports Betting 101

Welcome to Sports Betting 101! If you're new to the world of sports betting, things might seem a little confusing at first. But don't worry, we're here to break down the basics. Let's take a walk through the key concepts and terms that will hopefully give you a better understanding of the world of sports betting.

What is Sports Betting?

Sports betting is like a game where you predict what will happen in a sports event. The bet (or wager) is your guess. If your guess is right, you win money. If it's wrong, you lose the money you bet.

Understanding the Basics:

  • Bet: This is the money you risk or place on a game.

  • Odds: These tell you how much you can win if your bet is right.

  • Favorite: This is the team that is expected to win.

  • Underdog: This is the team that is expected to lose.

What are 'Odds'?

Odds show you:
a) The likelihood of a certain outcome happening.
b) How much money you could win if your bet is right.
For example, if a team has odds of 2 to 1 (also written as 2/1), it means that for every $1 you bet, you'll win $2 if your guess is correct. So, if you bet $10, you'd get $20 back plus your original $10.You will also see lines that say -125 or +125. The -125 would be considered the “Favorite” and it means you would have to bet $125 to win $100.On the flip side the +125 is considered the “underdog” and if you bet $100 you will win $125-300 line means that you need to bet $300 to win $100 but it SHOULD be the outcome, but hey it is gambling after all!

Different Types of Bets:

  • Moneyline Bet: This is the simplest type of bet. You just pick who you think will win the game, period.

  • Over/Under Bet (Totals Bet): Here, you bet on whether the total points scored by both teams will be over or under a number set by the sportsbook.

  • Point Spread: This is a bet on the margin of victory. The favorite "gives" points to the underdog for betting purposes.

What's a 'Point Spread'?

This one can be a bit tricky, but let's try to simplify it. Imagine you're in a race, and you give your friend a 10-second head start. That's kind of what a point spread is. The favorite team has to win by a certain number of points for a bet on them to pay off. These points are the 'spread'.For example, if the New York Knicks are favored by 5 points against the Boston Celtics (shown as Knicks -5), the Knicks need to win by more than 5 points for a bet on them to win. If they only win by 5, it's what we call a "push," and you get your money back.

How to Place a Bet:

  • Find a sports book (in a state that allows sports betting)

  • Choose the game you want to bet on.

  • Decide what kind of bet you want to make (Moneyline, Over/Under, Point Spread).

  • Decide how much money you want to risk.

  • Place your bet!

Remember, sports betting should be fun, and it's important to only bet money you can afford to lose. Always make responsible decisions, and never bet under the influence of emotions.That's it! You now know the basics of sports betting. Happy betting, and remember, it's all about having fun, but it’s much more fun when you’re winning!

Here are some abbreviations you may see sports handicappers use and what they mean:

  • ATS: "Against The Spread." Betting on the point spread, i.e., the margin of points in which the favored team must win by to "cover" the spread.

  • ML: "Money Line." A bet on who will win the game/match outright, irrespective of the points scored.

  • O/U: "Over/Under." Betting on whether the total points/goals/runs scored by both teams will be over or under a figure set by the sportsbook.

  • PK: "Pick" or "Pick'em". A game where neither team is favored. In other words, the point spread is zero.

  • RL: "Run Line" in baseball, similar to the point spread in other sports. Usually set at 1.5 runs.

  • PL: "Puck Line" in hockey, similar to the point spread in other sports. Usually set at 1.5 goals.

  • EV: "Even." This means the bet pays out 1:1. You win the same amount of money you wagered.

  • VIG/JUICE: The commission that sportsbooks earn on any bet. It’s also known as the 'house edge'.

  • PUSH: A tied bet that results in the initial stake being returned to the bettor.

  • PARLAY: A single bet that combines two or more individual wagers and requires all of them to win for the parlay to cash.

  • PROP: Short for "proposition" bet, which is a bet on a specific outcome within a game (like which player will score the first touchdown).

  • FUTURES: Bets on events that will happen in the future, like who will win the championship.

  • TEASER: A type of parlay where the bettor can adjust the point spread or totals line in their favor in exchange for reduced odds.

  • HEDGE:Making a new bet that opposes a current bet, to reduce risk or guarantee some profit.

  • SQ or SQUARE: A novice or less sophisticated bettor.

  • DOG: Short for underdog, which is the team or individual expected to lose.

  • FAV: Short for favorite, which is the team or individual expected to win.

The Basics of Bankroll Management

  • Determine Your Bankroll: This is the total amount of money you're willing to risk or set aside solely for betting. This should be money you can afford to lose and shouldn't include funds for essential living expenses.

  • Establish Your Unit Size: This is the standard wager size of your bets. A common recommendation is to make your unit size between 1-5% of your bankroll. So if your total bankroll is $1,000, a 1% unit size would be $10, and a 5% unit size would be $50.

  • Stay Consistent: Stick to your unit size. This can be difficult when you're on a winning streak and feeling lucky, or on a losing streak and want to win your money back. But part of proper bankroll management is consistency and not letting emotions dictate your bet size.

  • Adjust Your Unit Size: As your bankroll grows or shrinks, adjust your unit size accordingly. If you've been successful and your bankroll grows to $2,000, and you're still betting 1-5%, your new unit size would be $20-$100.

  • Avoid Chasing Losses: If you're on a losing streak, it can be tempting to try to win your money back quickly with larger bets. This is known as "chasing losses," and it can quickly deplete your bankroll.

  • Limit Your Plays:Don’t bet on every single game. The key is to look for games where you believe you have an edge.

  • Avoid Parlays: A parlay is a single bet that links together two or more individual bets for a high payout. However, every bet included in the parlay must win, which is a difficult feat.

  • Long-Term Mindset: Always approach sports betting as a long-term process. Some days you'll win, some days you'll lose. What matters is making a profit in the long run.