From a relatively minor pastime to a global multi-billion dollar business, sports betting has expanded enormously over the last two decades, as the spread of the internet has made it possible for sportsbooks to offer a vast array of markets covering every sport to bettors in most nations.
At the same time, the rising profile of sports betting is leading more people to try out it, and this can be a problem because it is not a quick route to riches. A tiny number of people do manage to make it pay, but most sports bettors do not. That said, there are some rules and tips that can help you to minimize your losses. Here are some of the most important.
Know Your Sport
Lots of people think they know their favorite sport, but do you really know it? The kind of knowledge you need when betting on sports is not like the trivia you find in sports quizzes. To bet on a sport, it helps if you really understand the key factors that affect the outcome of events, the key skills that are required, and how to measure and spot important factors. This level of knowledge alone won’t guarantee you a profit, but it will give you an edge over bettors who only have a surface-level understanding.
Bet Within Your Means
This is the most important part of sports betting. Betting within your means has two aspects:
- Never bet with money you cannot afford to lose
- Manage your bankroll carefully
Betting on sports can be addictive and a sure sign that you have a gambling problem is if you use money that you need for rent, groceries, or other important purchases to bet. If you don’t have enough money to set aside for betting, then wait until you do or make ‘paper bets’ in the meantime. You should consider betting as a form of leisure activity and treat it accordingly.
It is also a good idea to manage the money that you have set aside for betting carefully. It is not necessary to develop elaborate staking systems, but you should bet consistently, keep records of all your bets and adjust your strategy where required.
Value Not Winners
In sports betting you only get paid out on winners, but paradoxically, the best bettors do not look for winners. This may sound strange, but it is important to remember that success in sports betting is about beating the odds in the long term, not about finding the most winners.
You should only ever bet when you think the odds are wrong, regardless of whether those odds are long or short, and if you are right often enough, you will make a profit.
This can be counter-intuitive and require you to be patient. For example, let’s say you are looking at a basketball game and these are the odds:
- LA Lakers 2/7
- New York Knicks 5/2
According to your analysis, you believe that the Lakers should be closer to 4/7 and that the Knicks should be 6/4. In this case, even though you think the Lakers are more likely to win the game, you should bet on the Knicks, because the odds are favorable.
Manage Your Expectations
The key skill required for successful sports betting is not knowledge or even the ability to accurately assess the odds of each outcome. These things can be learned. But the psychology of betting is what trips up a lot of bettors and, in some cases, leads to addiction.
It is very hard to break even in the long term when you are betting on sports and even harder to make a profit. If you are betting because you want to get rich or solve your financial problems, you will be disappointed and you should immediately stop betting and evaluate your priorities.
It is best to treat sports betting as a leisure pastime, control the amount that you bet, and learn the psychological skills that you need, without risking significant amounts of money. A skilled sports bettor needs to be resilient, handle the inevitable losing runs; be calm, make good decisions under pressure, and be clear-headed so that you can spot opportunities no matter whether you have been winning or losing.
Sports betting as a professional is not fun, it is a hard, thankless grind with no guarantee of even making a small profit. For most of us, sports betting should be a small-stakes leisure activity. That is the best way to get the maximum out of your sports betting and to bet safely. To choose a reliable betting partner, browse Match. Center, a platform that provides a lot of helpful betting info, lists of licensed bookmakers, their pros and cons, as well as betting offers.