There are no surefire ways to make money betting on sports, but if you do your research and practice discipline (don’t bet more than you can afford to lose), you can improve your chances of breaking even. A basic rule of thumb is to risk only 1% to 5% of your bankroll per game.
Most people who place bets on sports are fans to begin with, and they want to use their knowledge of a team or an individual player to earn some extra cash. A good place to start is by investigating the various sportsbooks available online. Read user reviews, but remember that what one person thinks of a sportsbook is not necessarily the same as another’s opinion. Make sure the site accepts your preferred payment method and that it offers the types of bets you prefer to place.
A sportsbook’s odds are based on the probability that a particular team or individual will win a game. These odds can be positive or negative, and they are determined by the relative strengths of the competing teams. The higher the number, the more likely it is that the team or individual will win.
In some cases, the oddsmakers may decide to handicap the game by making one side the favorite and the other the underdog. This is called a spread, and it makes the game more interesting by forcing bettors to weigh the relative strengths of the two sides. A bet on the underdog requires them to win by a certain number of points, while a bet on the favorite needs them to cover the spread by a certain amount.
The most common type of sports wager is a straight bet, which is a single bet on the winner of a game. You can find these bets at most sportsbooks, but you’ll usually get better odds if you place your bets online.
Futures bets are a little different from straight bets in that they’re placed on events that won’t take place until a later date. These bets generally have lower odds than standard bets, but they can offer large payouts. For example, you might bet on a team to win the World Series next year, or on a golfer to win the Masters in 2022. Props, or proposition bets, are any wager that’s not a standard point spread, moneyline, or total. They’re often subject to a high house edge and should be avoided by casual bettors. However, there are some profitable props out there, and they’re typically easier to understand than point spreads.