Sports betting seems like a game of chance, but it requires more than luck to make a profit. A few smart strategies can elevate your game to the next level. These include understanding the odds, researching teams, managing your bankroll, exploring different betting markets, hedging your bets, and keeping records.
Odds are the probability of an event happening, and they are calculated on the morning of a race. They are constantly recalculated by computer during the prerace period, and they are posted on a display called the tote board, which also tallies how much money has been placed in each pool. Bettors can place a wager on a particular horse to win first, come in second, or show (place or win in either the top two or the bottom three). Win bets have higher payouts than place or show bets.
Spreads are a number that handicaps one team and favors another when two teams play against each other. They are often seen in increments of half a point, because that prevents the possibility of a push (both sides get their bet back).
Many experienced bettors use the technique known as “fading.” This involves betting against what the majority of people think will happen. For instance, if a lot of money is being bet on a favorite, you can try to beat the bookmaker by backing the underdog. You can also use live betting to take advantage of updated odds as the action unfolds.