14 Sports Betting Tips for Beginners
This may be the most important section of our sports betting guide. All of the other information is, or will become, important over time, but the following sports betting tips for beginners will give you an idea of where to start and, more importantly, what to avoid.
Patience is a Virtue
Your parents probably told you this a thousand times growing up ““ patience is a virtue! It applies to just about every aspect of life, including something as disparate as sports betting. The novice sports bettor is itching to make wagers and will look for any decent opportunity to do so. It’s a quick way to lose a lot of money, let me tell you! Waiting for the right bets to come along is the key to winning more often and building a bankroll.
Discipline Begets Success
Famous author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn said it best: “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”? Basically, there is a difference between having a gal and accomplishing that goal. If you are disciplined, you are more likely to succeed, whereas letting yourself be persuaded into bad decisions leads to downfall. The most common lack of discipline in sports betting is when a punter can’t resist placing a wager on their personal favorite. If you’re a big Miami Dolphins fan, you should avoid all bets on the Dolphins because favoritism can cloud your judgment. Discipline also comes into play with your bankroll”¦
This is the most simplistic of all sports betting tips, and yet there are so many who fail to follow it. It is the line in the sand that separates a proficient sports bettor from a problem gambler. The first rule is to never wager any amount of money that has a prior intended use (i.e. bill money, grocery money, car payment, mortgage, the kid’s college fund, etc.); simply put, don’t bet more than you can afford to lose. Your bankroll should be made up of extra funds. Take a reasonable amount from your weekly or monthly income and set it aside. This stash is your sports betting bankroll; the funds you have to wager with. When you win a bet, the winnings go back into the bankroll. If it’s a significant win, put a portion into a separate fund for profits that can be used for special occasions, like a family vacation, NASCAR tickets, a trip to the Super Bowl, whatever tickles your fancy. Doing so means your sports betting is actually paying off. Sports betting is more enjoyable when there is a purpose or goal.
Sizing up Your Wagers
Don’t risk too much of your bankroll on a single wager. No single bet should exceed 5% of your bankroll. If you have $500 to work with, you should be betting, at most, $25. Don’t bet it all in one week either. If you let your bankroll dwindle too rapidly, you are more likely to be compelled to dip into funds that are not meant for sports betting.
Less is More
Avoid making too many wagers at once. Just because there are 100 sporting events happening on the same day, and lines are available for all of them, doesn’t mean you have to wager on them all. The more events you wager on, the less time you have to data mine for those events, thus the more bad bets you are likely to make. Fewer smart bets result in more long-term profits.
Due Diligence = Due Payouts
Experienced sports bettors use data mining to make wagers with the most profit potential. Take the time to research your bets before placing them, and again before the event starts. If a key player is injured, or the weather has taken a turn for the worse, there is still time to cancel the bet. Before placing any wagers, see what the stats for each contestant are and how they stack up against one another. See how they competed against one another in the past. Who has home-field advantage? Do the two teams statistically do better at home or away; against all opponents in general and against this particular opponent? All of these factors can play a part in the result of an upcoming event.
Value of the Underdog
Here’s an interesting fact ““ it’s the underdog that covers all bets for the favorite in sports betting. The majority of punters will bet on the favorite. Why? Because they are the favorite! When the underdog wins, the sportsbook makes a lot of money, and uses it to pay off the bets where the favorite did win. What am I getting at? Don’t be afraid to bet on the underdog. If a sportsbook is making the majority of its money from underdogs, why shouldn’t you?
Avoid Terrible Odds
As a newcomer to the sports betting arena, avoid bets with high risk, such as parlays, teasers and accumulators. There is a reason the payoff looks so attractive ““ because the odds of winning are terrible. As you become more accustomed to data mining, these types of wagers may become more appreciable, but the general rule of thumb is to stick to wagers that have a palpable chance of winning.
Don’t Pay for Handicapping
I’m not saying handicapping services are bad, but this early in the game, you shouldn’t be buying your picks. As a novice, you should only be making a few bets and doing your own research beforehand. Handicappers have a fluctuating rate of return. They may have an overall 78% win percentage, but that will cover all sports and all picks. Maybe they are great at predicting ice hockey games, but terrible at basketball. They aren’t going to advertise that. And besides, they have bad weeks, just like the rest of us. If you’re only making a few bets ““ as you should be ““ handicapping could actually cost you more money than you are making, even if you have a successful betting record. If you are serious about becoming a good sports bettor, you should be doing your own handicapping.
Comparing the Odds / Hedging
Modern technology is the best thing that ever happened in sports betting. Not only did the world wide web make the act of betting on sports so much more convenient and give punters the ability to easily look up stats, it allows them to quickly compare the odds at different online sportsbooks before placing a wager. Comparing the odds offers a rare but extraordinary opportunity known as “hedging”?. Sometimes, the odds at one sportsbook will favor one team, while the odds at another sportsbook favor the other team. In this way, a punter could bet on both teams and be guaranteed to win a small profit, or minimize a potential loss. Like I said, it’s rare to find such opportunities, but anyone diligent enough to look for them can snag a great deal. For this reason, if you plan to do your sports betting online, it is important to have accounts with a number of reputable sportsbooks. If you only use one operator, you will never find an opportunity to hedge your bets.
Have Reasonable Expectations
Too many people go into sports betting expecting to win the majority of their bets. The fact is any positive win percentage is a good thing. If you were envisaging 80% of your bets to win, your expectations are unrealistic. So long as you are winning 55% of the time, you are doing very well. A profit is a profit, period.
Punting for the Long Term
Do not evaluate your success in terms of days or weeks, even months. The long term results are what really matter. We all have upswings and downswings that can greatly affect the short term profitability, but so long as your long term results show a profit, you are on the right track (pun intended).
Be a Patient Bettor
Be careful not to place your bets too early. The longer you wait, the more information you can gather. Maybe there’s a big game coming up that you know you want to bet on, so you bet a week in advance. Now what happens if a key player is injured in practice a day or two before the game? It is always best to bide your time and gather as much information as possible before laying your money on the line.
Watch for Moving Lines and Spreads
When a linemaker sets the point spread, this is not exactly a prediction of the outcome of the game. Sportsbooks are less concerned with who wins, and more concerned with developing equivalent action on both sides. If a sportsbook takes in $10,000 in wagers for one side, and $10,000 in wagers for the opposing side, they are guaranteed a profit from the juice. On the other hand, if they take in $15,000 for one side and $5,000 for the other, they stand to lose $5k. If you see lines moving heavily, it’s because all of the action is going to one side. Do your research, find out why and get it on it!