The explosion of sports betting is raising questions about gambling addiction, the integrity of professional sports and what impact it could have on Native American tribes. This week on FRESH AIR, investigative reporter Eric Lipton joins us to talk about his work with a team of Times reporters exploring the business of sports betting.
Sports betting is a numbers game and the best way to win is by understanding variance and the math behind it. But there’s also a lot of noise out there and it can take years for new bettors to understand that sports betting can be a profitable endeavor.
Before legalizing sports betting, states adopted a patchwork of laws that regulated it differently from one another. In the wake of a Supreme Court ruling in 2018, they’re now all embracing the business, with many pro leagues and universities striking marketing deals with betting companies. It’s generating billions of dollars in revenue for state governments and the sportsbooks themselves.
Injuries and weather are among the factors that can influence sports betting lines, which are constantly adjusting to action at the book. If you can spot a team that is attracting more bets than expected, it’s a good sign that there’s value in the bet.
But this is a complex and risky strategy, so you must decide on a fixed amount of money that you’re willing to lose if things go sideways. Then, use the odds and probability to determine how much to wager on each bet.