Whether you’re a professional sports bettor or a casual recreational bettor, understanding how to read betting odds and the different terms used in the sport is key to your success. It’s also important to know what makes a team a good or bad bet, and how to spot a game that might have been fixed.
A basic bet is a moneyline wager on a specific outcome of a sporting event, with the amount paid to you depending on the probability that your selection will win. Moneylines do not use any spreads or handicaps to even the playing field, and low-risk moneyline bets (favorites) typically pay lower returns than higher-risk ones (underdogs).
Point spreads, also known as “handicaps,” are designed to make uneven games more competitive by forcing one side to win by a certain margin or lose by a certain number of points in order to cover the point spread. The favored team will be listed with a minus sign (-) in front of its odds, and the underdog with a plus sign (+).
Totals are a type of sports betting where you predict if the two teams involved will combine for more (Over) or fewer (Under) runs/goals/points than the set total posted by the sportsbook. In some cases, the total is adjusted based on the venue where the matchup will be played, as some teams perform better in their home field than others.
Parlays are a fun and profitable way to increase your winnings by combining multiple bets into a single bet slip. However, it is important to do your research and find a reputable licensed operator that treats their customers fairly and pays out winnings promptly and accurately.