In life, we learn from our mistakes. The same goes for sports betting, however, those mistakes have a dollar sign attached to them. For anyone new to sports betting, there’s a laundry list of lessons to learn – on top of all the betting basics that go into being a successful handicapper. Hopefully, we can save you some grief and money by breaking down some common errors made by new sports bettors.
No money management
Regardless of the size of your bank roll, you need to understand and implement a money management strategy. This is a strict guideline you set for the size and frequency of your wagers, which helps you protect against your bad judgement.
Many new sports bettors find themselves going for the big score, betting far too much on games. They have to realize that profits are made over the long run, with smart and patient investments. Wagering without a money management system in place, is a quick route to draining your bankroll before the season is over.
The most basic money management system starts with looking at your bankroll or the amount of money you set aside for gambling. Then you’ll want to figure out your maxim bet size. It is suggested that you never wager more than 5 percent of your bankroll on one individual bet, which means if you have a bankroll of $5,000, you top out at $250 a bet.
From there you’ll want to rank your wagers in terms of confidence. If you feel very good about a certain play, go with that max bet size. If you’re warm on a pick but still not 100 percent sure, go with 2 or 3 percent of your bankroll for that bet. You want to make sure you invest the most money on the picks you feel best about, rather than betting the same amount regardless of confidence.
Picking the best odds for online gambling is often as important as picking the right team, especially when it comes to sports like baseball and hockey which use moneylines rather than pointspreads. Loading up on -200 or higher favorites is very risky when you consider the payouts, at most getting back just half of your wager size with a win.
For those betting pointspreads, you’ll want to get the best number you can and be knowledgeable of the opening spread and where it has moved since. A team that opens as a 3-point favorite and has its spread bet up to -6 may not have any value left on the board, but some new sports bettors may not know of that adjustment and still buy the bad line.
Many newbie bettors like to get rich quick with monster parlay cards, stringing four, five, six, seven and even more games together with the promise of a massive payout. However, once you start tying games together the advantage dramatically swings toward the sportsbook. Parlaying a couple games isn’t that bad – especially if they’re correlated, like a side and total – but constantly playing big parlays is a losing bet over time.
So, you made the first two mistakes on our list. The knee-jerk reaction is to try and win all your money back by chasing your losses with a huge bet on the late game. Not only are you breaking those above rules again – wagering beyond you system and likely getting bad odds on the last game on the board – but you’re falling for the biggest pitfall in sports betting.
If you should find yourself on the losing end of your wagers, it’s best to just lick your wounds and walk away. Once you’ve settled down, dissect your losing bets and figure out what went wrong or what information you missed when handicapping those plays.
On the flip of this, bettors celebrating a winning day can often try to stay hot with a last-minute wager, rolling those profits into a careless bet that wasn’t as carefully plotted and researched as your winning wagers were. Don’t be in a big rush to give the bookie back his money.