Sports Betting 101

A bet is a wager that someone makes on the outcome of a game or event. The money placed on a bet is known as a stake. When a person bets, they are taking a risk by betting on something that has an unknown chance of happening. If they win, they will receive back their original stake plus any winnings. If they lose, they will lose their initial stake as well as any additional winnings. Bettors can place a variety of bets on different events. Some bets are called “props,” meaning that they cover multiple outcomes of an event. These bets require more research and can be more lucrative than straight bets, which only cover a single outcome.

A bettor’s success is based on their ability to identify and bet on value bets. This involves understanding the probability of an event occurring and comparing it to the odds offered by a sportsbook. This calculation is known as expected value (EV) and can help you make more profitable bets.

An over/under totals bet focuses on the combined amount of runs, points or goals scored in a game rather than who wins it. The oddsmakers will set a total and bettors can either take the over or the under. This type of bet is popular because it provides the opportunity to win a large amount of money for a small wager.

Taking the over means that the two teams will score more than the total amount of points, and taking the under means that they will score less than the total amount of points. The oddsmakers will adjust the totals depending on the amount of money being wagered on each team, and if they see that one side is getting heavier action than the other, they will lower the opposing line to encourage more bettors to place their bets.

A key is a selection that is used to build a multiple bet on a horse race. Customers can select a horse to win and then choose other horses to finish second and third in any order. This is often referred to as an exacta or trifecta. A key is used when a customer feels confident about a specific horse winning the race, and it can help maximize their payouts in case other horses finish behind the leader.

Another common form of a bet is a straight up or against the spread (ATS). In an ATS bet, a customer can bet on a team to win by a certain amount or to lose by less than the predicted number of points. This bet type requires careful analysis and research because it can be a difficult proposition to make.

A vig, also known as juice, is the sportsbook’s commission on bets. A vig is added to the payout of a bet, making it more expensive than a bet without the vig. The vig is calculated based on the bet’s risk factor, and it can vary from sportsbook to sportsbook.