How to Get Started in Sports Betting

Sports betting has become an enormous part of the gambling industry, with regulated operators offering odds and markets on a wide variety of sporting events. While it’s possible to win money placing bets, it’s important to know what you’re doing and how to make smart bets. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Before you place a bet, you should establish a bankroll that represents a number you are willing, in the worst-case scenario, to lose. This will help you avoid making irrational decisions. Once you’ve established your bankroll, you can then decide on the size of your individual bets. It’s recommended that you start with a minimum deposit of $100 and that you risk no more than 1% to 5% of your bankroll on each play. This will give you the chance to survive bad streaks without going broke.

In addition to betting on the winner of a game, you can also bet on the total points scored by both teams. This is known as an over/under bet. A game’s total points are predicted by the bookmakers, and bettors can place bets on either the over (total points will exceed the prediction) or under (total points will fall short of the prediction).

The odds that a team is expected to win are called “odds.” You can find these at your favorite sportsbook and they are calculated using a complex mathematical formula. The odds are usually displayed in decimal form, and the lower the odds, the better. Odds are adjusted over time as the event draws closer. For example, the odds on a team to win the Super Bowl may be long at one point but will be much shorter as the season progresses and the playoffs begin.

A common mistake many novice bettors make is letting their emotions and fandom influence their betting decisions. It’s important to separate yourself from your team and do your homework on both teams. This includes looking into injuries, past performance against each other, and anything else that could impact a game. You should also be careful to not base your decisions solely on locker room gossip or media reports.

After New Jersey voters passed a non-binding referendum in November 2011 to legalize sports betting, the major sports leagues challenged the state’s efforts in court. The lower courts sided with the leagues, and the Supreme Court refused to hear the case. The ruling effectively blocked regulated sports betting in all states except for Nevada, which had been operating since 1992.

In September 2019, West Virginia finally legalized sports betting. Its first retail sportsbooks opened in October and were quickly joined by online options, including DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, and BetRivers. Bets can be placed on mobile devices or in person at these sites. The state has plans to expand its offering in the future.