So you got into betting on sports because you know everything there is to know about sports so how hard can it be to make bets and win? Let me guess - you haven’t been doing so well. I'm not surprised sports gambling is a risky venture where the books naturally have an advantage over the bettor in the long run. That being said, there are some simple betting rules to live by that can flip the odds in your favour and bring back the thrill of winning some real money.
You see it’s not just being knowledgeable about sports that will make you money at the sportsbooks it's about finding the best value, the best markets and turning yourself into an "advantage player". We present you with some basic betting guidelines that will allow you to create a betting system for yourself and in the long run help you become a smarter, value driven bettor. Someone the online sportbooks won't look forward to seeing place a bet!
1. Know The Sports You're Betting
Some people think that they can bet every night and any sport, good luck with that. For example, March Madness shows up and even though they haven’t watched an NCAA basketball game all year they are suddenly bracket experts. Or you head to a bar and there is an NHL game about to start and you figure, ‘why not, I’ve watched hockey before - that Sidney Cosby is pretty good, I'll bet his team'.
Let 's be clear on this point - Don't bet on sports you don't follow regularly! If you know football and baseball but don’t pay any attention to other sports, don’t bet on those sports. Stick to what you know, never lose money on a 50/50 play. All your real bets should be focused on only the ones you follow and have above average knowledge of. If you want to bet on March Madness yet have never watched a game, ok that's entertainment money, make sure you can afford to lose it.
2. Have Multiple Sportsbooks At Your Disposal
Most people tend to join one bookmaker and play there almost exclusively, and I get it, who want's to go through the hassle of signing up to multiple books. Well I'm here to tell you it's worth the hassle and in the long run will help you beat the book.
You need to join at least 2 to 3 sports books if you are going to be successful at sports betting because you need to shop around for the best odds. Sportsbooks have different lines for games and if you are set to make a particular bet on a game you need to see if there is value betting at one place over another.
For Example: You are set to bet on the New York Yankees money line and Bovada has the Yankees at -150. Bovada is your favourite sportsbook so you blindly throw the bet on their site. What you didn't do is shop for the best odds where could have gotten them at -130 at let's say TitanBet. If you put $100 down and won, you would have won $76.92 at TitanBet as opposed to $66.67 at Bovada. Now the difference of $10.25 may not seem like a big deal but trust me over the long run these differences in profit are the keys to being a successful bettor.
Another example where odds shopping is crucial is in NFL football. You love the Eagles to beat the Cowboys. BetOnline has them at +3 but over at Bovada the Eagles are +3.5. Why not take the extra half a point? If the Cowboys win by a field goal you push and lose the juice, but at 3.5 you are cashing in for the night. Finding the best odds is so crucial for the NFL, the amount of bets that are won and lost on simple .5 spread movements is insane.
When you are betting for money, you need to find value. Once you’ve decided on what games you are going to bet, you need to shop for the best lines. It's ok to have a group of your favourite online sportsbooks but make sure you check them consistently for the best odds.
Check out our list of recommended sportbooks if you don't know where to start.
3. Take Advantage of Bonus Offers
When you join a new sports betting site and make a deposit you can take advantage of signup bonuses that will get you a bigger bankroll to start off with. So Take advantage of the FREE money.I know there is no such thing as a free lunch and of course there are usually stipulations to claim your new player bonus. Most of the time you just have to play through the bonus amount before you can withdraw it.
Some of the betting sites we promote have great ones:
Bovada.com - has a welcome bonus of up to $250
Bookmaker.eu - has a welcome bonus of up to $250
Our advice don’t limp in with a $25 deposit, take advantage and get as much bonus as you can because you usually only get one shot at a big welcome bonus when you sign up to a new site. If you decide you don’t like the site, you can always take out your money (not the bonus of course) but you won’t lose a big deposit unless you play it.
4. Manage Your Bankroll
True professional gamblers know that sports gambling is a marathon not a sprint. If you are expecting to make a huge windfall shortly after signing up to a book and collecting your bonus, change those expectations. Please do not spend all your money in one bet, you must learn how to smartly manage your bankroll.
Your bankroll is essentially the amount money you allocate for sports gambling, your budget. I good way to look at it is, how much can I afford to lose over a selected period of time. You should not deviate from this original number, be strict and don't get tempted to re-load if the bad beats come quickly.
Next you need to set guidelines for your bankroll.
An easy rule to follow is to never bet more than 5% of your bankroll on a particular night and many pro gamblers use the guideline of 1-2% of your bankroll for each game.
Ex. If you deposit $1000 as an overall bankroll, your daily bet limit should be $50 and your per game limit should be $10 - $20. The reason for this is that you will go on losing streaks and if you stick to a fundamental bankroll management system, you can withstand any bad streaks.
5. Don't Bet Every Game
Building on the bankroll management from above, don’t bet games across the board. Some rookie sports bettors will bet on every game on a particular slate or they like too many games and can't resist. Even if you win 60% of those games, you will give away profits back to the sports book on the commission or the Vig.
Analyze all the games and come up with the ones that are the best bets and then stick to those, remember value trumps all. On a big slate, let's say 10 games, you should have a max of only 3 games you are betting on and on a small slate of 5 games or less stick with one bet only. Winning just one game and making a profit is better than winning 5 and losing 4 and giving the bookie your profits for the night.
6. Don't Be A Homer
We all have our favorite teams and we all think that team can beat any team on any given night. I am a Chicago Bears fan and I have learned over the years…Never bet with them and never bet against them. Historically I would bet the Bears when I knew they would win and I’d lose. Conversely I would bet against them when I knew they weren’t playing well and that would be when they would win. The point is when you love a team and live and die with their wins and losses, you have built in biases that even you might not realize.
Try to avoid betting games of your favorite team, you need to bet with your head and not with your heart to be successful. The best bettors have zero connection to any team they bet on. They have one goal to make money not to celebrate a championship parade.
7. Don't Chase The Late Games
Let me repeat this as it is the one mistake that destroys so many - DO NOT chase late game bets. I'm not saying don't bet on the late games or west coast games, I'm saying don't try and make up for an earlier loss by getting in one more bet for the night.
It has happened to all of us. We pick a game that we were sure would win and watch as they lose at the last second. The temptation is to see what other games are on the late slate and make up for that loss by making another bet, or even worse doubling up on a late game bet to make up for the earlier loss. This is the biggest mistake anyone can make and the hardest to resist doing.
Losing will happen, even when you should have had the win (bad beats). Take the loss and let your mind clear, tomorrow's another day.
8. Sometimes It Is Too Good to Be True
I remember seeing many basketball lines and a 1st place team only favored on the road by 2.5 over a below 500% team and think “Wow, that’s the play of the night”…Guess what? I lose 95% of those bets. The line is set that way for a reason, they are so accurate it is scary. Maybe you didn't hear about an injury or the team has the flu bug, there is always something. Sniff out funny looking lines before you make a bet, don't fall into a trap bet.
Odds makers are very, very good at their jobs and if the line looks too good to be true, it likely is.
9. You Don't Need To Win Every Bet
Here are some facts to keep in mind – If you bet the same amount on each game, you only need to be right 52.4% of the time to break even. If in all your bets you are winning 56% of your bets…you will be winning money and depending on your betting amounts, you could be making a lot of money in sports betting.
If you stick to a system, control your betting and manage your bankroll properly, you CAN win at sports betting and make some great money doing it!
10. Favorites Can Lose
An easy mistake to make is to always bet the favorite. Sure favorites win, depending on the sport, approximately 60% of the time but you can get crushed by the juice if that's all you bet one. I love betting underdogs but I don't do it stupidly, this comes back to knowing your sports. For instance, I would never bet against the Golden State Warriors at home vs a below average team even if the odds are like +2000. The chances of that win happening are so slim that you are essentially throwing money out the window for entertainment, which is fine if you can afford to do that.
Most of us can't that's why I look for underdogs with value. A perfect example was at UFC 193 when Ronda Rousey took on Holly Holm. Rousey was a heavy favorite because of her absolute dominance in the sport but if you looked closely she never really fought anyone who had the world class boxing skills like Holm did before. Rousey was lacking on her feet and was known for her devastating takedowns. All you had to do believe was Holm could defend those takedowns and then she had a great chance as a big underdog. Well she defended them and knocked out Ronda in round 2 at odds as high as 9 to 1.
Point is there is big money to made on underdogs, but you have to choose them wisely.