Understanding the Basics of Sports Betting

Sports betting has become a huge part of US sports culture in recent years, with more than $13 billion bet legally in 2019 alone. It’s no surprise that there are many questions for those new to the industry, but it’s important to understand a few key aspects before making your first wager.

One of the most important aspects to understand is odds. Essentially, they indicate how confident the sportsbook is that the specific side or outcome will win. The higher the number, the more confident they are in their prediction. The opposite is true for the underdog, which has a lower probability of winning and is thus riskier to bet on.

Besides the standard full-game odds, most sportsbooks also offer several different lines for each event, including first-quarter and halftime odds as well as live lines that are constantly being updated based on how a game is playing out. The latter are often referred to as in-game wagering and have grown in popularity as more Americans embrace legal sports gambling.

In addition to traditional win-loss records, teams are measured by their record against the spread, known as “ATS.” The better a team is at covering point spreads, the more profitable they are to bet on. The Jets, for example, have a conventional win-loss record of 7-9 but go 10-6 ATS.