Millions of sports fans think, “betting on sports must be easy.” It isn’t. The break-even point on any wager after accounting for the vig (sportsbook “juice”) is 52.4%, and even the best pro bettors only get their picks right about 60% of the time.
Sports betting has grown rapidly in the United States since it became legal in New Jersey in June 2019. The industry is expanding across the country, with new states legislating to create varying sportsbooks online and in person. In addition, major sports leagues are seeking and striking partnerships between themselves and gaming entities and individual teams to boost revenue streams and brand reach.
The most common types of bets are spreads and totals. A spread is a number that the favored team must win by in order to cover the bet. For example, the Patriots are three-point favorites against the Bills, so the bettors who take the Patriots will win their money back if they win. But the bettors who take the Bills will lose their money. That’s why the oddsmakers add a half-point to the Patriots’ point spread in order to avoid a push.
A total is a bet on whether the total points in a game will go over or under a line that the sportsbook sets. These bets can also include player and team props, which are wagers on things that don’t show up in the box score or statistical summaries. For example, a team total might be how many rushing yards a specific player will have in a game, while a player prop might be the number of strikeouts a certain pitcher will make in a given game.