The legalization of sports betting has set off a boom in the industry, with bets placed online and in person exceeding $13 billion in 2019. But while it’s fun to place a wager on your favorite team or player, it can be a costly endeavor. More people lose than win, so if you’re new to sports betting, there are some things you need to know.
This week on FRESH AIR, we’re talking to Eric Lipton, an investigative reporter for The New York Times who worked with other Times reporters on a series of stories about the sports betting boom in the United States. He and the team looked at how states are marketing the sport, including parlay bets that offer bigger payouts.
Lipton joins us to talk about the sports betting landscape, how the odds are calculated, and some tips on how to make money. He also talks about the potential for gambling addiction, which is an issue many worry about as more Americans begin to gamble on their favorite teams and players.
How to Read Sports Betting Odds
Sports betting odds are based on probability, and they’re designed to reflect the likelihood that something will happen during a game or event. Favorites have a higher probability of winning, so their odds are lower, while underdogs have a lower risk and higher returns. A bet on a team with a high probability of winning will pay out more often than one on a team with a low probability of winning.
Using a spreadsheet is an effective way to track your bankroll and bets. This will help you identify your strongest and weakest areas, and it’ll also give you a visual representation of your overall performance. It’s important to understand how your bets are affecting your profit margin, and this will help you make smarter decisions in the future.
Another useful tool for sports bettors is a sportsbook’s Promos + Bonuses page, which lists any available odds boosts and risk-free bets. This is a great way to take advantage of available opportunities without having to invest your own money, and it can increase your profits over time.
The key to making money in sports betting is to be patient and follow a sound strategy. This will include doing your research, shopping for the best prices, and taking advantage of props that have a low vig. It’s also important to stick to your bankroll management plan, and not bet more than you can afford to lose. Otherwise, you’ll be headed for a major loss. This is especially true when it comes to parlays, which are often marketed by sportsbooks as a way to get you to place more bets. This can easily wipe out your profits, as the law of large numbers applies. As such, if you’re new to sports betting, it’s a good idea to avoid placing parlays until you’ve developed some experience.