Sports Betting 101

In the United States, sports betting has grown exponentially since the Supreme Court decision in 2018 allowed individual states to regulate and legalize the practice. Most wagering takes place online and mobile. The NCAA is concerned about the impact of sports betting on college athletes and works with a variety of partners to protect the integrity of the game. This includes federal and state law enforcement, gaming operators, campus administrators and specialized vendors.

There are many different types of bets available in sports betting, including moneylines, spreads and parlays. In addition to the typical bets, some sportsbooks offer prop bets, which allow you to have a vested interest in a specific outcome, like how many points a player will score.

Odds for a game are set by the sportsbook based on the probability that an event will happen, with higher odds representing greater risk. If a team or individual has a higher probability of winning than another, they will be listed as the favorite while the underdog is listed with lower odds.

A popular type of bet is the Over/Under (O/U) total, which allows you to wager on whether a game will have more or less combined points than the number posted by the bookmaker. If you expect a defensive slugfest, bet on the Over; if you think there will be more offensive fireworks, make a bet on the Under.

Sportsbooks move lines for a variety of reasons, from an attempt to balance action on both sides to an adjustment in the availability of new information (injuries, etc.). Having access to multiple sportsbooks and shopping around for the best line can help you maximize your profits.