Sports Betting 101


A sports betting bet is placing money behind an outcome of your choice and getting paid if that outcome happens. Bets can be placed on individual teams, players, or combined outcomes like a parlay. This bet type is popular in baseball and hockey because they are lower-scoring sports where one run or goal can make the difference between a win and a loss. Money line bets are also available in other sports, but are less common because of their higher risk and smaller payoff.

The oddsmakers determine which team will be the favorite in a game and which will be the underdog. A variety of factors go into this, including home field advantage, injuries, and overall track record. A favorite is expected to win by a larger margin than the underdog. This is because the underdog is typically weaker in skill, experience and coaching than the favored team.

Another way to place a bet is on the total line, which sets a number for the total combined score of both teams. When this bet type is first released, the limits are low to protect sportsbooks from professional bettors who can push an off or shaded line. As the line gets bet, the sportsbooks adjust it to the strongest and most accurate number.

One of the most important things to remember when betting on sports is to ignore media noise and bias. Many sports talk shows, radio stations and websites are focused on generating buzz and ratings to keep their viewers, listeners or readers tuned in. In this way, they can shape public opinion and influence how a bet is perceived.