Betting 101 – How to Bet Smartly


In betting, you place money behind an outcome of your choice and get paid if that outcome is achieved. It can be as simple as placing a moneyline bet on the winner of a game or as complicated as putting multiple outcomes in one parlay. There are also many prop bets available, which allow you to have a vested interest in more specific outcomes such as how many points a player will score.

While recreational bettors often bet based on emotion or simply who they feel will win, sharp bettors take a much more analytical approach to their wagers. They shop odds and analyze trends, looking for anomalies. They know that the weight of their bets must be balanced and can even hedge against bad bets to limit their losses.

If you want to bet smartly, you should create a bankroll and use betting units to keep your risk in check. You can do this on your own or through a service that offers data analysis. A good starting point is to have six percent of your bankroll dedicated to your top plays and five or four percent for average or borderline wagers.

Don’t chase bad bets, no matter how much you believe you’re right. This is a dangerous practice and can lead to disastrous results. Instead, if you’re no longer confident in a bet, walk away or reduce the amount of your bet. And, never bet on anything you’re not comfortable with.

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