When betting on sports, it’s important to understand the various types of bets and payout structures. This can help you avoid making costly mistakes and maximize your profits. In addition, proper money management is essential, and you should never bet more than 5 percent of your bankroll on a single wager.
Straight bets are single-game wagers that don’t have point spreads or moneylines. The oddsmakers set a number for each event, and you place your bet on either the under or over side of the number. For example, if the Reds are playing the Astros, Scherzer’s strikeout total might be listed at 7.5. If the total goes over, you win. However, if the total goes under, you lose.
Spread bets, also known as point spreads, are used to make uneven games even. They do this by putting a handicap on one team, forcing them to win by a certain amount or lose by a certain amount in order to turn a profit for those who bet against the spread.
Futures bets are wagers on events that won’t take place until the future, such as a team winning the World Series or a player winning the NBA Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Futures bets typically offer much better odds than traditional wagers, and can make for fun and profitable plays.
Prop bets, or proposition bets, are unique wagers that don’t fall into the category of moneylines, point spreads or totals. They are typically priced higher than regular bets due to the increased research that goes into making them. For instance, if a team’s star player is injured and their performance suffers as a result, that could lead to lower than usual prop bet lines.
Aside from researching a team’s past performances against their opponent, sports bettors should also study weather forecasts and stay current on injury reports. Keeping near-obsessive records is also an important part of sports betting, as it allows bettors to test theories, such as whether or not a left-handed pitcher’s advantage holds up against a right-handed opponent.
While sportsbooks are a great source of information, they can be difficult to navigate for beginners. Some sites may feature a downloadable app, while others provide their customers with live chat support and an FAQ section. These features can be a big selling point for newcomers to the sports betting industry, especially for those who don’t have a lot of experience with betting online.
Another tip for new bettors is to shop around for the best line on their desired bets. Different sportsbooks offer varying lines on the same game, and a half-point difference might not seem like a lot, but it adds up over the long haul and can significantly affect your winning percentage. In addition, a good sportsbook will offer competitive juice, or “vig,” which is a small fee charged by the house to offset the risk of accepting bets. This isn’t a big deal for most recreational bettors, but it can be a pain for those who place large bets with low win/loss ratios.