So, you want to start placing wagers on sports? It looks easy. And because you’re a fan you think you know everything you need to start winning right away.
I’ve got some bad news for you. Everyone else thinks the same thing, and they’re all losing money. The same thing is going to happen to you if you’re not careful.
The good news is that you don’t have to make the same mistakes those other new sports gamblers are making. I’ve put together a list of five questions designed to help you start on the right foot. Answer each of these questions honestly and you have a much better chance to become profitable quickly.
1 – Do You Want to Be a Pro or Just Bet for Fun?
This happens to be the most important question you need to answer. This question is important because it dictates everything that comes after you answer it. And the good news is that there isn’t a correct answer.
If you want to bet for fun, you don’t have to worry about much of anything. The main thing to worry about is making sure you have enough money to wager on games that you want to bet on. Of course you want to win, but whether you win or not really doesn’t matter.
Whether you’re betting for fun or as a pro, you should never make bets that you can’t afford to lose. So when you’re betting for fun, you don’t really need to worry about anything else.
On the other hand, if you decide to become a pro sports gambler, you have a great deal of work to do. This isn’t a bad thing, because if you do the right work and do enough of it, you can win money instead of losing it like everyone else does betting on sports.
Before I continue, it’s important to make something perfectly clear. You either make wagers for fun or you’re a pro. You can’t be anything in between. It’s a waste of time and money to try to act like half a pro.
It’s time to make a decision. Are you going to make sports wagers for fun, or are you going to start acting like a pro?
If you want to bet for fun, you can stop reading and get back to doing something fun. You’re going to win somewhere around half of your point spread wagers in your life, and lose somewhere around 5% of the money you wager, based on how much vig you have to pay.
You’re going to have winning streaks and losing streaks, and hopefully, you’ll also have a lot of fun along the way. But there’s no reason to put too much time or effort into picking games.
If you’ve decided to be a pro, keep reading. I’ve got some great stuff to help you get started.
2 – Are You Willing to Be a Specialist?
The first step on your path to professional sports gambling is to become a specialist. If you master being a specialist now, you can bet on a wider range of things later. But if you can’t win as a specialist, there’s no way you can win as a generalist sports gambler.
When I say a specialist, I mean that you have to choose one area to concentrate on and become a true expert in that area. It’s not enough to specialize in a single sport. You have to dig deeper than that.
Here’s a list of possible areas of specialization:
- The NFC west in the NFL
- The MAC in NCAA football
- The AL east in MLB
- The NBA western conference
- The Big 10 in NCAA basketball
Of course, you don’t have to pick one of these. But this list gives you an idea of what you need to look for. Maybe you prefer the NL central in MLB, or a different basketball conference in NCAA basketball.
It doesn’t matter where you choose to specialize, as long as you do it. I’ve found that the less popular an area is with general fans, the better it is for your purposes. This is why I usually suggest a small conference in NCAA football or basketball to start.
Once you choose an area of specialization, do everything you can to become the top expert in your area. Learn everything you can and use your knowledge to start making money. Once you prove that you can make a long-term profit, add another area of specialization.
Keep using this model to grow your options for wagers. Never add an additional specialty until you prove your ability to profit.
3 – Do You Have a Favorite Team?
When you start acting like a pro sports gambler, you have to quit acting like a fan. You can have a favorite team, but you can’t make wagers on their games until you learn how to evaluate their games as a sports gambler and not as a fan.
I personally just quit wagering on games with the teams I liked for many years. I still followed my favorite teams, but I never bet on or against them. Eventually, I learned how to evaluate their games as a pro gambler, but it took a long time.
As you’re learning how to be a pro gambler, you simply can’t make good judgments about teams and players that you root for. The answer is to simply not evaluate these games for gambling purposes. Even if you don’t agree with me, if you avoid making bets on these teams you’re going to thank me later.
4 – Do You Understand How Betting Lines Work?
This might seem silly to some people reading this, but you need to have a complete understanding how every type of betting line works that’s available in your specialty. Different sports use different types of betting lines.
Football has point spread bets, moneyline bets, and totals or over under bets. Basketball also has point spreads, moneylines, and totals. Baseball uses run lines, moneylines, and totals. Hockey has puck lines, moneylines, and totals.
Some sportsbooks offer a wider range of betting lines on each sport, but as a beginner, the ones listed above are the ones you need to stick with. Once you learn how to make profit using common betting lines, you can look at others to consider the possible profitability.
5 – How Much Should You Bet on Each Game?
If you just gamble on sports for fun, you can bet whatever amount you’re comfortable with. This can be a few dollars or hundreds, depending on how much you can afford to lose. If you’re just betting for fun, I recommend betting the smallest amount possible.
You can set up a gambling account at an online sportsbook and make bets as low as $1 on most games. If you’re betting at a land based sportsbook, you can probably make wagers as low as $10 or $20 a game.
If you’re working as a pro sports gambler, the amount you wager on each game is determined by the size of your bankroll and how much value you find on the game you’re betting on. I use a simple system that you’re free to copy. I make wagers on games based on a percentage of my bankroll. My bet size ranges from 1% to 3% of my bankroll on any single game.
I never place a wager on game unless I find value when I handicap the contest. Most games get a 1% wager on them. When I find games that offer a higher value, I bet either 2% or 3%. I rarely place a wager with 3% of my bankroll. Because when you wager on sporting events, there’s never a 100% lock no matter how much value you find.
This might seem like a strict bankroll system, but it protects my bankroll and limits the damage when I make mistakes. And you’re going to make mistakes as a pro sports gambler.
I recommend never risking more than 3% of your bankroll on any game, and even if you’re willing to take on more risk, never wager more than 5% of your bankroll.
If you’re still reading, your odds of becoming a profitable sports gambler are good. It means that you’ve decided to stop betting for fun or trying to be half a pro gambler. Now, it’s time to get to work and start making some profitable bets.
Pick a specialty and get to work becoming the most knowledgeable person in the world in your area. Don’t get in a hurry to start placing wagers. Wait until you can clearly see value, then take advantage of it.
Find the best lines that you understand, place small wagers, and build your bankroll as you make profits. Eventually, you’re going to be making large profitable wagers.
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. …