The Basics of Sports Betting

sports bet

A sports bet is a wager on the outcome of a game or match. This type of betting is becoming increasingly popular as states legalize the practice and remove the anti-gambling stigma that once plagued it. As a result, millions of new bettors are entering the industry and need to understand the basics.

Moneyline betting is the most common and easiest bet to understand. The bettor simply picks the team that they think will win and receives a payout based on the odds of the bet at the time it was placed. Moneyline odds can be in increments of half a point (.5), even though only a few sports use this scoring system.

Generally speaking, the goal of a sportsbook is to minimize risk and maximize taxable revenue. As a result, the lines that are offered to bettors will shift back and forth until they find an equilibrium. For example, the line on a certain team might be -130 and then move to +120 if there is enough action on one side of the market.

Expected value, or EV, is a critical metric for sports bettors to know and understand. EV represents the amount of profit that is expected on every bet if the betting strategy is successful over a large sample size. If a bet has positive EV, it is considered to be profitable. Otherwise, it is considered to be a losing bet. The ability to identify bets with positive EV is the foundation of a profitable sports betting strategy and is what separates sharp bettors from the average bettor.