Sports betting has become a popular pastime in the United States, with more than 13 billion bets legally placed in 2019. While it’s certainly an exciting way to make some cash, it can also be intimidating to new bettors. Fortunately, there are several strategies that can help you win money consistently and make a profit.
The first and most important strategy is to learn how to value bets by expected value (EV). When a book assigns a team a positive or negative +EV line, they are essentially saying that if the team wins, then their odds should be higher than if the team loses.
This can be an advantage for sharp bettors who understand how to calculate EVs, but it’s not a foolproof strategy. Bettors should consider every metric available, including past performance, recent performance, injuries, weather and trends when weighing their betting options against assigned odds.
Oddsmakers set the lines for both teams in a game, and they vary based on the type of game and its level of competition. In football, for example, a +300 line means that if you bet $100 on the Texans, you will win $300.
Moneylines are especially important when betting on lower-scoring games, such as baseball or hockey. If the favorite wins, but a lot of people bet on the underdog, then the oddsmakers will adjust the line so that the underdog has a better chance of winning.
Betting on the underdog is also a good idea if a team has been performing well recently. If the Steelers are favored by four points in a game against the Packers, but they take an early lead and win, then the oddsmakers will move the line to favor the Packers more. This shift is called a “moneyline” bet, and it can make you a lot of money over the long term.
In addition to using a moneyline, bettors can also bet on totals and pushes. In a push, neither team can cover the spread, which is the amount of money that they’re expected to lose.
Bet the underdog – The underdog is often overlooked by bettors, but it’s one of the most profitable types of bets. When a popular team is overhyped, it’s a great bet to bet against them.
Read injury reports – The biggest factor in a game’s outcome is the health of the players. If a key player is injured, it can change the outcome of the game significantly.
Money management – When it comes to betting, many experts recommend risking only 1% to 5% of your bankroll per bet. This keeps your bankroll intact even when you have a bad day.
In the United States, eight states have legalized sports betting, and more are expected to follow. These include Mississippi, Nevada, Delaware and West Virginia. The most popular sports include soccer, rugby, basketball and NFL football. Online and mobile betting is also legal in these states. In the meantime, some of the most popular sportsbooks include DraftKings, PointsBet and Caesars.