How to Win at Sports Betting
There are millions of sports fans around the world who watch games and think to themselves, “betting on sports must be easy.” While it’s true that some people make a living betting on sports, it is not for everyone. There is a lot of work involved, and even the best “experts” get less than 60% of their bets correct. The good news is that, with a bit of effort and the right strategy, anyone can improve their chances of making money.
Learn the Mechanics
The first step in becoming a successful sports bettor is learning how to read the numbers. Whether you’re laying points, placing moneylines, or taking total bets, understanding the mechanics of each type of wager will help you place smarter bets and increase your chances of winning.
A good place to start is by examining basic stats like home/away and against-the-spread records. From there, you can dive deeper into player and team matchups. In baseball, this includes studying batting vs. pitching trends, while in football it is possible to analyze coaching and player-coach matchups. As your knowledge base grows, so will your bankroll.
Don’t Bet Bad Numbers
One of the biggest pitfalls of sports betting is getting caught up in emotion or overestimating your skills. This is especially dangerous when it comes to bets on your favorite teams. Trying to win every bet on your team or against the competition can quickly derail your profits and put you in debt. Instead, be patient and learn from your mistakes. Remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. You’ll have hot streaks and cold spells. Just try not to lose too much of your initial capital in the first few weeks.
One mistake many bettors make is betting too often, particularly during busy sports schedules. For example, during a typical week of NFL action, there are 16 games to bet on. A shrewd bettor may identify a few games they want to bet on, but over time this is a losing proposition because the sportsbooks charge a vig, or house edge, on each bet.
This is how they stay in business, so if you bet more often than the average bettor you will end up paying more in juice than you’ll win on your bets.
Be Wary of Scams
While it’s rare for a scandal to impact the outcome of a sporting event, there are still many examples of unethical behavior in professional sports that can impact your profit margin. Some of these include point shaving (when players manipulate the score), spot-fixing (a specific bet is fixed), and overall match-fixing (the entire result of a sporting event is fixed). Regardless, sports betting is risky and should only be taken seriously by those who understand and respect the risks associated with it. You should also be aware that gambling addiction is real and can ruin your life. If you’re not careful, sports betting can turn into a vicious cycle of losing bets and unmanageable debt.