A lot of people like to bet on sports nowadays and that’s easier than ever thanks to the hundreds of online betting sites out there. You can open a new account, add some cash and start placing wagers in no time at all.
That is easy and convenient but often leads to quick losses. Most people simply don’t have what it takes to make money. They think that watching a sport for 5, 10 or 20 years would be enough to instantly start profiting.
The truth is that betting with real money has certain fundamentals that you need to follow. This post is focused on four of the most important tips that apply to all sports and leagues out there, no matter your strategy.
Table of Contents
Evaluate Every Outcome, Don’t Guess
The vast majority of people try to guess what is going to happen and believe that is enough. Their approach works approximately like this: “I think that team A will beat team B, so I will place my money on team A.”
That sounds intuitive, but it eliminates a very important part of the equation – the odds. The price that every bookmaker provides equals a certain implied probability. For a wager to be profitable, the outcome you back must have a higher true probability than the implied probability of the odds.
That’s basic betting math that sounds complicated, but it’s actually really simple once you understand it. The easiest way to illustrate the point would be to take a look at a simple example.
Let’s say you are flipping a balanced coin against a friend. The chances of heads and tails are both 50%. If you both bet $1 and the winner takes all, no one has the mathematical advantage in the long turn. That’s because you need to win 50% of the time to break even and that’s exactly what your mathematical expectation is.
However, if you bet $1.10 against his $1 and the winner once again takes all, you now have negative expectations for your wager. The same logic applies to sports betting, but most people don’t approach it like that and forget to consider the odds and return when placing their wagers.
Bankroll Management Is Crucial
The next factor that applies to all sports and competition is the need of proper bankroll management. No matter how good you are at evaluating the odds and finding profitable opportunities, you depend on luck in the short term.
It’s not uncommon to lose five, six or even ten good bets in a row. In fact, it will inevitably happen if you bet on sports for long enough.
If your wagers are too big, every bad streak will wipe out your entire bankroll. That’s why you need to be careful and place only a small chunk of the amount you intend to use for sports betting.
The exact system depends on your needs, your personal qualities and your habits. There is no fixed strategy that works for everyone, but there are ways to determine what’s best for you.
The most popular approach to money management in sports betting is to apply some variation of the Kelly Criterion. It’s based on two factors – the probability of success and the positive expected value. The higher each of them is, the larger your wager should be and vice versa.
Place Your Wagers Sober and with a Cool Head
The first two tips are based on math and can be measured objectively. The third one is different and it seems obvious, but the number of people that place wagers when they are far from their best is simply staggering.
You should never put real money on the line when you are under the influence. Alcohol and drugs are bad advisors in pretty much every aspect of life and sports betting is not an exception. Many people have lost their entire bankroll after making stupid bets in such a condition.
The other most common reason for complete failure is to place wagers when you are not emotionally stable. If you have just lost a ton of cash and feel the compulsive need to instantly make it up or there’s another reason that’s disrupting your ability to make reasonable decisions, you should simply skip betting.
Bet on the Internet
Some people prefer to bet in land-based bookmakers and that’s a huge mistake. The online sportsbooks offer much better conditions for various reasons that we don’t really need to discuss.
The important part is that your money will have a higher average return if you bet on the internet. You will consistently find higher odds, more flexible limits, more betting markets and a lot of added value through deposit bonuses and other promotions.
Let’s not forget about the ton of time you will save that can be invested in better preparation for your wagers or other stuff.
There’s no doubt that you should bet online if you want to be successful in the long run.
The three tips presented in this article won’t suddenly allow you to become a millionaire from sports betting. They are designed to help you understand the basics of the industry and avoid the biggest mistakes most people make.
Becoming consistently profitable is another story and requires a lot of discipline and effort.