Sports Betting 101

Millions of sports fans watch their favorite teams and games every week and think to themselves, “betting on this game must be so easy.” However, most of these bettors would be surprised to learn that making money wagering on a game is not easy. In fact, after factoring in the vig or juice, even the most successful bettors will experience a lot of losses mixed in with their wins.

There are many reasons why people lose money betting on sports. One of the biggest reasons is that they are influenced by media noise and hype. The hundreds of TV shows, radio stations and online websites that cover sports are in the business of generating ratings, so they pump up coverage of controversial opinions and hot takes. They do this because the loudest takes generate buzz and discussion, which ultimately leads to more viewers, listeners or readers. As a result, the noise machine can have a major impact on how the public perceives a game and can lead to them overestimating the chances of a team winning or covering a spread.

Before a game starts, sportsbooks release odds for bettors to place their wagers on. These odds are based on various factors, including injuries, home-field advantage, player and team performance over the past few weeks and more. Oddsmakers also consider the weather and how teams are playing on that day. They then determine which team will be the favorite and which will be the underdog based on this information. This is a process called handicapping, and it’s an important part of successful sports betting.