Betting With Your Head

Whether you love to bet on your favorite team or just want to spice up your gameday experience, betting can add another level of excitement. It can also be a great way to make money. But it’s important to understand the odds and how they are calculated in order to make smart bets that will yield positive expected value over time.

Betting with Your Head

One of the most common mistakes bettors make is relying on their emotions when placing a bet. While it’s fun to bet on your favorite team, doing so is rarely the smart long-term strategy. Instead, bettors should look for +EV opportunities to fade high-profile teams and leagues like the NFL’s Cowboys and Steelers, MLB’s Yankees and Dodgers, or the NBA’s Celtics and Lakers.

The odds show what a wager might win or lose, and can be either American or European. They are determined by the probability that an event will occur based on the actual likelihood and the bookmaker’s margin. For example, a coin toss has a 50% chance of landing heads or tails. The bookmaker’s margin is equal to the difference between that coin’s true probability and the odds it is offering.

Bettors can also place a total, or over/under, bet on the number of points scored in a game. An over bet means that both teams must score more than the number shown, while a under bet says they will score less than the number.