Official betting is the most popular type of sports wagering in the United States. It involves picking a winner based on what the official odds are. It may be a straight bet, a spread bet, or a prop bet. It also includes money lines and totals.
Betting on official odds is a risky proposition, but it can also result in big payouts. The odds for a game change constantly. During the regular season, you can bet on the favorite or underdog. If the underdog wins, you win the bet; if the favorite wins, you lose.
If you bet on the favorite, you are winning if the team wins by a margin of two or more points (score differential). You can also bet on teams to win a series. The underdog needs to win three consecutive games, or the favorite has to win six in a row.
Unlike the old-fashioned dime line, which had only one source of information, official betting requires data from multiple sources. Some sportsbooks will buy data directly from the league, while others have contracts with real-time stats providers like Sportradar or Genius Sports.
The battle over data mandates has become a central front in the US sports betting policy conversation. The NBA and MLB have made this quest for official league data a priority since the Supreme Court overturned PASPA in May 2018.
Leagues want to monetize their data, either through a direct share of wagers or through a fee based on integrity. Lawmakers, however, are reluctant to impose a data mandate. This is a particularly contentious issue because of the ambiguity of how the value of data should be determined.