Sports betting is about predicting that something will happen during a sporting event and risking money on the chance it will. It can be a fun way to watch games but it’s important to know the math behind it in order to make smart wagers. A 52.4% winning record will break even, but only if you bet enough to cover your losses and then some.
There are many different types of sports bets, but the most popular are based on point spreads. Oddsmakers set the number of points the favored team must win by in order to “cover” the spread. This is done to ensure that both sides of the bet get some money if they win. If a game is too close to set a spread, it’s often considered a pick or pick’em, and you simply choose which side will win.
You can also bet on the total score of a game. This is the sum of all the points scored in a game, including overtime. This type of bet is especially popular in baseball and hockey because the scoring tends to be lower than other sports.
Finally, you can bet on futures, which are bets that will be settled in the future. These bets can include anything from a team to win the World Series to a golfer winning next year’s Masters. The odds of these bets are usually much longer than those on a standard straight bet, but the payouts can be enormous.