A sports bet is a wager that predicts the outcome of a game or event. Sports bets come in a variety of forms, including point spreads, moneylines, totals, and parlays, and are offered by both legal and illegal sportsbooks. The different bet types can seem complicated at first, but they are broken down into distinct categories that make them easier to understand.
Among the most common sports bets are spread bets, which handicap one team and favor another when two teams meet in a game. The sportsbook sets a line which indicates how many points the favored team must win by in order to cover the spread. The lines are typically expressed in increments of half-a-point (.5), though some sports have a full-point scoring system and use a different method of calculating point spreads.
Another popular type of bet is the moneyline, in which you bet on a team to win and hope that they win by more than you wagered. The odds of a winning moneyline are calculated as the probability that your bet wins multiplied by the amount you risked on it. The odds are expressed in American, decimal, and fractional formats. A minus (-) sign before a team’s odds indicates they’re the favorite, while a plus (+) indicates that you stand to win more than you wagered.
Another popular type of sports bet is the futures bet, which is a wager on the outcome of a game or event that will not take place until a certain time in the future. The payouts on these wagers can be large, but the payout is not guaranteed as it depends on how successful the actual event will be. For this reason, sportsbooks will adjust their futures odds throughout the season to try and receive equal action on both sides of a wager.