How to Find Value in Sports Betting

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There are several things that go into finding value when betting on sports, but one of the biggest is understanding how odds and payouts work. Moneylines are bets on a team to win, while totals are bets on the combined score of a game or event. Both types of bets pay out if the outcome is a tie, but there is a big difference in the payout you receive. The reason for the higher payouts on moneylines is that they eliminate the possibility of a push, which occurs when a bet neither wins nor loses.

When betting on a sports event, you’ll also see odds listed for each individual team and the total. These are known as the “line” or “odds.” A team’s line will be based on its expected winning percentage, which is calculated using an algorithm that considers all of a given team’s past performances. The line will shift as the betting public makes its decisions, but it is almost impossible to beat a sportsbook’s algorithm using just this information alone.

In addition to moneylines and totals, most sportsbooks offer a variety of other bets called props. These can include player props (such as a baseball player’s strikeout total against another team) and non-player-related props (like the color of Gatorade that douses a coach). The increasing availability of legal online sports betting has allowed bettors to shop lines between different sportsbooks, a practice known as “line shopping.” While a fraction of a point may not seem like a huge advantage in one single game, diligent line shoppers can find a lot of extra money over time by finding the best possible odds.