There are many ways one can use their knowledge of sports and ideas of what a player or team will do, to earn money. You only need a good approximation of a pick’s percent chance to win and to cross-reference that to the implied percent chance of the given odds for the pick, to do so. If your aptly estimated percent chance is higher than that implied by the odds, any of the following bet types can be successful.
There are a lot more methods available than just betting on who will win or lose a game; you can also predict how much a team will win or lose and whether it will be more or less than the number the odds-makers give you. This is called the spread. In a game, the odds-makers will give a number that the favorite has to win by to cover the spread. Inversely, the underdog would win the bet by not losing by more than that amount. So in a game of A vs B, if the spread is 7, and the final score is A wins 59-51, A has covered the spread. And a bet on A against the spread would be a winner. A bet on B against the spread has lost if this is the final score. If the final score was A wins 59-54, though A has won the game in real life, a bet on A against the spread has lost because they did not win by 7 or more points. A bet on B against the spread has won, despite their losing the game because you had an additional 7 points. So betting a team plus or minus the points is called betting against the spread and betting on a team to win the actual game with no point spread is called betting the Moneyline.
You can also bet on the combined or individual team’s scores from a game and whether they will go over or under a certain number. These are called totals. If they are for one specific team and not the other, then they are team totals. So if the final score is 59-54, the final total is 113. If they gave you a total of 105 and you bet on the over, you won. If a team is good at offense or bad at defense, this should often raise the total. If a team is bad at offense and/or good at defense, this should lower it.
If both teams are good at offense and bad at defense, these should raise it. Though the teams abilities to score or prevent scoring are already factored into the total or number they give you to predict over or under, there are sometimes factors beyond what they have given you that you can apply or use to take a side in predicting what the score will look like at the end of the game. The odds-makers have so many games and sports to attend to that there often are inefficiencies in some markets even beyond the fact that a lot of times totals, props and spreads are heavily influenced by teams’ averages.
A great way to bet on sports is called a prop bet. This is where you make a wager on a specialized or focused outcome within the game. Proposition bets can involve the whole team, both teams or just a single player. You can bet on a team to make over or under a given number of field goals or for both teams combined to do so or for a specific player to score over or under a given number of points.
With prop bets, the upper limit on how much you can bet is often much lower than how much you can bet on a spread, total or game-winner, likely because you can get a huge edge by knowing a little bit of information instead of a small edge by knowing a lot of information. The number they give you for which you can bet over or under on a player prop bet is usually based on and very close to the player’s season average. If you know of some abnormality of either why the season average is so low or higher or why they should likely out-perform that season average that night, that is your advantage. Often, when there are factors like this, the odds-makers will still leave the number close to the season average but just adjust the payout odds so the same thing applies to all wagers with determining what a good bet is. This is comparing and contrasting your perceived true odds of an event occurring to the implied percent chance or given odds of the event occurring.