Whether you are a casual or serious sports bettor, it’s important to understand the process of making bets and how betting odds and payouts correlate. This knowledge puts you in a better position to create value, which is defined by how much your wagers are worth when compared to the risk that you take.
One of the most common ways to bet on sports is through point spreads, which handicap one team or player over another. When two teams are matched up against each other, the odds are listed as either “take” or “give.” For example, a Dallas Cowboys -5.5 spread requires a $50 bet to win $100, while the underdog Philadelphia Eagles +5.5 would only require $110.
In addition to point spreads, sportsbooks also offer a variety of other bet types. These include total points, moneyline bets, and a round-robin (which consists of multiple 2-team parlays). However, be careful when placing these bets, as they are often less profitable than straight bets.
Sportsbooks earn profits by taking juice from the losing side of each bet, which can be anywhere from 10-15%. This can make a huge difference in your bankroll, and it is best to shop around for the best sportsbook for you. Look for sites that offer a variety of betting options, good customer service, and a convenient site layout. Also, avoid those that require you to give your credit card information up front or that don’t post their withdrawal and deposit limits clearly.