You know sports inside and out, you’ve got great instincts, and you’re smart with your money. So, why is it so difficult for you to be a profitable sports bettor?
If you’re like the vast majority of gamblers, you struggle to achieve sustained success. The good news? You can overcome the struggles most bettors face if you’re willing to reevaluate your strategy.
While there’s no magic bullet, there are plenty of things you could be doing (and not doing) to help improve your bottom line. In this article, I’ll go over three do’s and don’ts for a winning betting strategy.
1 – Do: Research Games Before You Bet
The biggest misconception among amateur real money sports bettors is that the oddsmakers have set things up in a way where betting is essentially a coin flip. It’s critical to understand that it’s betting markets, not necessarily sportsbooks or oddsmakers, which determine the closing odds.
Why do I bring this up? Because it’s a reminder that doing your homework is the single most important factor in getting you to cross the threshold into profitability.
The public has a range of biases, and most of them are the result of a lack of information. If you take the time to do your own research, it’ll put you ahead of the curve.
Of course, you’re still going to win some games even if you bet blindly. However, luck is not going to help you win at a high enough rate to be profitable. The line between winning money and losing money is extremely thin in sports betting, and you need every edge you can get.
2 – Do: Consider the Value in Your Picks
Some bets just aren’t worth it. If, for example, you often find yourself in the position where you have much more to lose than you stand to gain, things aren’t going to work out in your favor in the long run.
Any successful sports bettor will tell you that value is the most important thing to consider before making a bet. Yes, it’s awesome to win 65% of your bets. But if you’re frequently betting heavy favorites on the moneyline, for example, your risk-reward ratio is simply not in a favorable spot.
I’m not necessarily saying that you need to be in a plus-money situation for every single bet you make, but I think it’s a good idea to never go lower than -130 or so on any play. Somewhat counterintuitively, sportsbooks rely on bettors who are largely risk-averse to make their money.
When you chase wins and forget about the value they’re bringing to your bottom line, it’s easy to get mixed up with your definition of success. It doesn’t really mean anything to win the majority of your bets if you’re still constantly losing money. On the flip side, it doesn’t matter if you go 3-4 on the day if your four wins averaged out to +150 odds—you’d still come out ahead.
Don’t pay extra just to try to win a bet with bad odds attached. This is an inexperienced move that beginners make, but it should not be part of the strategy of any experienced gambler.
3 – Do: Create a Bankroll and Actually Use It
Step one, even before you log in or sign up for a betting platform, should be to put your bankroll together. If you don’t take this necessary step, you’re essentially a business that lacks a budget or balance sheet. A bettor with no bankroll is creating a recipe for disaster.
If you’re new to betting or are unfamiliar with the term “bankroll,” it’s a fairly simple concept. Your bankroll consists of the amount of money that you’ve set aside that you only use for betting on sporting events. You should only use an amount of your money that you’re comfortable losing and setting it aside should not put you in any type of compromising financial situation.
Once you have this money set aside, the next step is figuring out a range of some sort where the amount you wager falls. This is usually a percentage, such as anything between 2% and 5%. That means if you have a $500 bankroll, you would only bet between $10 and $25 on a single play. Obviously you can play around with the percentages and totals based on your situation, but the goal is to “re-load” your bankroll as infrequently as possible.
Being a winning sports bettor is about much more than just making good picks. Money management is the best way to ensure you’re staying profitable and on top of your finances at all times.
1 – Don’t: Stick to One Sportsbook Only
It’s easy to get stuck using only one betting platform. Once you get familiar with how it functions and get comfortable using its interface, you’ll like develop a go-to option. It’s not bad to have a preference, but you shouldn’t be sticking to just one sportsbook.
Utilizing multiple online sportsbooks offers a number of benefits.
For example, you can compare odds and “line shop,” you can take advantage of more bonus offers and free play opportunities, and you can enjoy different betting options such as unique props that are only offered on specific sites.
With the ease in which you can switch between platforms in today’s gambling environment, you’re simply missing out on easy money if you aren’t checking out multiple sportsbooks before placing a bet. You wouldn’t pay more for a product if it was offered for a cheaper price on another site. So, why would you overpay for betting odds when a better deal is out there?
2 – Don’t: Bet Emotionally
It’s been said that emotion is the antithesis to reason. This is true, and it impacts sports bettors on a regular basis.
This might sound like the time I’d mention that you shouldn’t bet on your favorite teams because your judgement is always going to be impacted by your emotional ties. While that is certainly true, your own team is likely not the only thing you feel emotional about when it comes to sports.
I understand that it’s all but impossible to remove any type of non-objective feelings from the betting process, but you should at least try to recognize it and check yourself when you feel emotions creeping in.
As sports fans, everyone has their favorite teams, players, and also probably a few that they root against on a regular basis.
It’s extremely challenging but when placing a bet, make sure you focus on what you “think” will happen and not what you “want” to happen. It takes practice. But if you work on it, you should be able to avoid the pitfalls that come with emotional betting.
3 – Don’t: Try to Outsmart the Sportsbook
Beginner sports bettors often think they can outsmart the system. Whether it’s playing moneyline favorites thinking they’ll never lose, unrealistic parlays that are a waste of money, or prop bets with bad odds, most sports bettors have gone through this trial period of thinking they can develop a winning system the easy way.
Trust me when I say that if there was a strategy that resulted in consistent winning, people would know about it.
Just as in other areas of life, there are no shortcuts to success when it comes to sports betting.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t try to “get cute” with your picks. The more complicated you make your sports betting strategy, the worse off you’re going to be in the long run. Stick to doing your research, proper money management, and betting with value in mind, and you won’t need gimmicky betting strategies to help you along the way.
Not many bettors are able to make a profit long-term. At the same time, the majority of sports gamblers don’t adhere to the advice I’ve laid out in this article.
I can’t guarantee that you’ll be a winning bettor if you follow the do’s and don’ts I’ve laid out in this article. With that being said, I can guarantee that you’ll have a much better of chance of success.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …