# How to Calculate Expected Value in Sports Betting

Whether you love to bet on your favorite team or just enjoy watching sports, betting has become a popular activity. Sports betting can be a fun and rewarding hobby, but it’s important to understand the risks involved before placing a bet. It’s also important to know how much you stand to win with your bets. By calculating your expected value (EV), you can make smarter decisions that maximize your profits.

In addition to moneylines and spreads, there are a variety of other types of wagers that can be placed on sports events. These include prop bets, which are based on specific outcomes, like how many points a player will score. They are especially popular for major contests, such as the Super Bowl or the NCAA basketball championship. Prop bets are also available for more minor contests, such as the first rushing or receiving touchdown of a game.

When you place a sports bet, the amount of money you receive back will depend on your stake and the odds at the time you placed your bet. However, there are several ways to calculate the potential returns on your bets. These calculations can help you narrow down your options and decide which wagers are the best fit for your personal strategy.

To improve your chances of winning, you should start with bets on teams and leagues you’re familiar with. Then, once you’ve mastered the basics, you can move on to more advanced betting strategies. Developing a sense of betting value takes time, but it’s well worth the effort.

The most profitable bets are those that have the highest expected value, or EV. EV is the amount you expect to win or lose on a bet if it’s repeated over and over again. EV is calculated by subtracting the risk-free rate of a bet from its expected profit or loss. A positive EV implies profit over time, while a negative EV indicates a loss.

Another way to determine the probability of a bet is by using a statistical method called Pythagorean wins. It’s a simple equation that looks at the number of total wins a team has in relation to the number of losses. It’s not as accurate as some of the more sophisticated stats out there, but it’s still a great tool to have when making sports bets.

While NBA betting is the most popular option at US sportsbooks, other sports have loyal fan bases as well. MLB and NHL games typically draw high bet volumes, especially during the postseason and Stanley Cup playoffs. And while the days of a lone bookmaker with a chalkboard have long since passed, today’s sportsbooks employ a wide array of sophisticated algorithms to balance action and make bets that offer the best potential for profits.