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Learn the ins and outs of sports betting

(Family Features) - If you're intrigued by the idea of earning a little extra cash while rooting for your favorite teams, sports betting may be right up your alley. However, betting is a sport in its own right, and competing requires skill and knowledge.

With top tier reporting, free and paid gaming, Yahoo Sports offers sports lovers unique opportunities to immerse themselves in the fan-powered betting experience.

Learn how you can get in on the sports betting scene with these tips from Minty Bets, Yahoo Sports' lead betting reporter and analyst.

Do your research. Before initiating any bets, be sure you understand basics like how to place bets and how your payout is processed. You should also get familiar with the laws about sports betting in your state. Go into your bets well-informed about the predictions and how the teams are performing.

Understand different types of bets. The moneyline bet is one of the simplest wagers in sports betting. You're simply picking whether a team will win or lose. The positive and negative numbers calculate the payout if your team wins. The positive numbers show how much you'll win if you bet on an underdog. The negative numbers show how much you need to bet in order to win with a favorite. 

With totals, or over/unders, you're betting on whether the combined team scores will be over or under a predicted score. Parlays are another type of bet that let you combine multiple bets into one wager to minimize your risk with a maximum payout. The more bets you combine, the bigger the payout; however, if you lose one bet, you lose them all.

Set aside money for betting. Sports betting can become an expensive hobby, and with the unpredictability of the sports world, you can never count on a win. That's why it's important to only place bets with money you can afford to lose. Plan a sports betting amount as part of your regular budget that won't affect your ability to cover your bills or other financial obligations.

Take advantage of easy-to-use tools. For players new to sports betting, there are resources that can help you get up to speed. One example is Yahoo Sportsbook's How-To Guide, which includes information like terminology and how to calculate odds. For example, if you're not sure how your bet might pay out, a tool like the Bet Calculator can help you test different wagers. You can choose the amount you want to bet, select the odds you've been given or test to see the potential payout with the current odds and stake.

Know your limits. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement, so be sure to set a spending limit before you even look at the available bets or odds. Two good rules of thumb are to avoid putting too much into any single game (many experts recommend sticking to 1%-3% of your total budget, 5% being the maximum you should bet) and to limit your bets to sports you know. Betting without any knowledge of the game, the teams or their players' abilities is not a sound strategy.

Take an easy first step. If you're not ready to place a wager, another way to have fun is by playing single-game Daily Fantasy contests, where you can use your sports skills and knowledge to try to win cash and experiential prizes.

Get in on the game with more tips at sports.yahoo.com/sportsbook.

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