Sports Betting 101

A lot of people lose a lot of money betting on sports. Some do it because they think they have superior knowledge about teams and players (they don’t), others do it because it’s fun, and still others do it because their friends are doing it and telling them it’s cool. Regardless of the reason, losing isn’t fun. And it can be a real problem if you gamble with money that’s meant for something else, like bills or your favorite green congealed salad.

The simplest way to understand sports betting is that you’re placing money on an outcome of your choice, and getting paid if the outcome happens. If you bet on a team to win, that’s called a moneyline bet. If you bet on a team or player to lose by a certain number of points, that’s called a spread bet. If you combine multiple outcomes into one bet, it’s called a parlay.

In the past, you had to get on a plane or take the bus to gamble, but in 2018 the Supreme Court struck down a federal ban and opened up sports gambling to all states. While it’s easier than ever to place a bet, winning isn’t easy and requires research, discipline, and strategic betting. And a little bit of luck. But even if you’re not the next Billy Walters or Haralabos Voulgaris, sports betting can be profitable. You just need to learn the rules and practice!