Sports betting is complex. If that were the case, Vegas would go bankrupt, and regular Joe bettors all would quit their day employment and live extravagantly as millionaires.
Seasoned gamblers understand that there will never be any ups and downs. The key is to stay the course, be disciplined, and gradually increase your bankroll over time.
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On this are nine common errors to avoid if you’re new to betting:
1. Unit Size Modification
Money management is the most crucial skill needed to become an effective sports bettor. One of the worst mistakes bettors can make is adjusting their unit size based on the extent to which or poorly they perform. When you’re on a roll, never double down and take on more risk because you need to be more confident. When you’re cold, never chase and attempt to take back everything in one fell swoop.
Instead, unless you possess a solid, quantifiable edge on specific bets, we recommend that most bettors adopt a flat-betting strategy.
Flat betting entails betting the very same amount on each game and risking no more than 1% to 5% of your bankroll for every play. A good middle ground is 3% for each play.
For instance, if you start with $100, each play involves a $3 risk. On the other hand, if you start with $1,000, each bet is worth $30.
A flat-betting strategy will keep bettors from declaring bankruptcy once they hit an unavoidable rough patch. When things go well, it will additionally present bettors with a favorable Return on Investment (ROI).
2. Excessive Reaction to Recent Trends
If a team performed well in the previous game or is on a four-game unbeaten run, newbie bettors will want to bet on it because it is performing well. Meanwhile, if a team is coming off a 20-point loss and a five-game losing streak, novice gamblers will instantly fade them.
However, this is a mistake: traditionally, teams getting off a win have been overvalued.
Assume the Patriots are coming off a 21-point victory. In the next game, the oddsmakers may have a true opener of Patriots -7. Still, they open New England at -7.5 or -8 because they understand that consumers will take the Pats no matter what. As a result, you’re paying too much for a bad deal.
On the other hand, teams to come off a loss have historically been undervalued. The oddsmakers know that if the Browns are arriving off a 21-point loss, the public will want to wager against them. So, rather than starting the Browns at a true +10, they open at +10.5 or +11, giving sharp, snarky bettors additional points and enlarged line value.
For this reason, we usually recommend bettors buy when there is terrible news and sell when there is good news.
3. The Gambler’s Illusion
Gambler’s Fallacy is the assumption that if something occurs more frequently than usual over a time frame, it will occur less often in the future. For example, assume you walk up to a roulette table and notice that a black number has hit the last ten spins.
Your first instinct may be to place a bet on red since it hasn’t occurred for a while and is “due.”
However, this logic needs to be revised because each roulette wheel spin is granted independence from previous spins. In some ways, the same theory is applicable to sports. For example, if the Cubs end up losing the first two games of a three-game series it against the Padres, it does not guarantee that they will win the third game.
4. Too Many Wagers
Bettors enjoy betting. However, betting solely because it’s worth needing action doesn’t constitute a good idea. Betting on 10 or 15 games every night is risky. You are taking a considerable risk; one tough night can wipe out your entire bankroll.
Instead, bettors should exercise self-control and limit their wagers to their most assured games of the day. You can never lose a bet that you do not place.
5. Having Irrational Expectations
When new bettors first begin betting, they have high expectations. Of course, everyone wants to become wealthy overnight by winning 70% of their wagers or hitting a 1,000-1 parlay, but this is not possible.
A bettor should win 52.38% of the time to break even when wagering on spread sports with standard -110 juice.
Anything more significant than 55% is considered highly profitable.
6. Investing in Ploys
Because there is no oversight or regulation in the sports betting industry, anyone can establish an organization or website and start selling picks. Additionally, due to the lack of regulation, handicappers can try to promote false records and promise incredible wealth in their quest for business.
While there are plenty of legitimate and transparent handicappers in the industry, an overwhelming number of people use phony names, flashy cars, bikini-clad women, and unattainable records to entice new or poorly educated gamblers to buy their picks.
In order to entice you to sign up, they will bombard you with “Five Star Locks” and “Guaranteed Winners.” If something appears to be too enticing to be accurate, it most likely is.
7. Putting Your Heart Before Your Head
The majority of the time, public bettors lose. They bet on instinct and favor favorites, home teams, and overs because it’s more entertaining to watch a high-scoring match than root for blocked shots and failed field goals. They are also prejudiced toward historic sequels, teams with star players, and teams that receive the most media attention.
Contrarian bettors can exploit public bias and obtain artificially inflated numbers by betting against the public. They also put themselves on the side of something like the sportsbooks as a bonus. The house, which we all know, always wins.
8. Neglecting Sharp Action
You would like to sit on the same side as professional gamblers who win at a high rate along with a long track record of success, in addition to going, contrarian. Looking for Reverse Line Movement, which occurs when the line shifts in the other direction of the gambling percentages, is one of the simplest ways to spot quick action.
For example, suppose the Warriors receive 80% of spread bets but fall from -10 to -9. Why should the oddsmakers lower the line so that public Warriors bettors could get a better price? Because strong professional bettors pounced on the opponent, the line fell.
Long-term success requires bettors to have accurate and precise results. You’re already at a disadvantage if you need to know where the public is, which smart bet is, and why the line has moved.
By concealing the names of the teams, eliminating all bias, and gambling based on line movement, percentages, and value, bettors can make the most informed decisions and massively improve their chances of winning.
9. Failure to Search for the Best Line
Having the ability to bet at numerous sportsbooks increases your chances of long-term success. Why? Each point and cent counts.
Assume you would like to bet on the Miami Heat and also the points. Your book has a Heat +5 rating, but another book has a Heat +5.5 rating, and a third book has a Heat +6 rating.
Getting that extra point and betting at the book posting +6 is obviously advantageous to you. You just received an entire point for free by getting numerous accounts at various books. It may not appear to be a big deal at first, but in the long run, it can significantly impact expected losses into wins.
Best Legal Sportsbooks for Sports Betting
Where should you place your bets now once you’ve better understood some errors to avoid? As mentioned above, the simple answer is the sportsbook with the best odds, like the top bookies like BetMGM Sportsbook and Caesars Sportsbook.
Fortunately, since U.S. Following the Supreme Court’s decision in May 2018 to overturn the federal ban on sports gambling, a number of states have established robust mobile gambling operations.
Check out our comprehensive review to find out where legalized gambling stands in your state.
We have more learning materials on the basics of sports gambling if you want to read them:
- American odds are based on winning or betting $100 on a specific bet.
- Spread betting is a wager on a game’s winning margin. Moneylines. When you bet on the Moneyline, you choose the winner of the game or event.
- Totals. A total also recognized as an over/under, is a wager on how many points both teams will score in a game.
- Players Prop. A prop bet, also known as a proposition bet, is a wager which is not directly related to the final score or results.
- Futures. Future bets are wagers on an event that would occur in the future, such as end-of-season results.
- Parlay. A parlay is a kind of bet in which multiple bets are connected to produce a larger payout. It is treated as a single large bet, so each game in the parlay should win for such a bet to win.