Many millions of sports fans around the world watch games and think to themselves, “betting on sports must be easy!” While it is possible to make a profit betting on sports with an optimum strategy (and good money management skills), most people will endure some cold streaks as well. This is due to variance, the statistical concept that explains why picking winners at 55% doesn’t mean winning 5.5 bets every 10. The reality is that even most professional tipsters with profitable long-term results will still lose a small percentage of their bets from time to time.
The odds that a particular team or event has of happening are set by the sportsbook based on their probability of occurring. When a side is considered the favorite, it has a higher chance of winning and pays out less because of this lower risk. The opposite is the underdog, which has a lower chance of winning but offers a bigger payout. A bet placed on either of these sides is known as a point spread.
Another way to bet on a game is with parlays, which are multiple wagers on different outcomes of the same game. Parlays pay out a much higher amount if all of the selections are winners, but this requires extensive research and knowledge of the sport as a whole.
In-game wagering is becoming increasingly popular as more states legalize sports betting. This is because of the increased coverage of sporting events, lowered gambling taxes, and new technologies that allow more players to place bets on a variety of sporting events from the comfort of their home or office.