Whether betting on March Madness, the Super Bowl or an NBA game, sports betting is big business and comes with a lot of rules. Betting sites are set up to maximize profits by setting lines that make sense mathematically. But, for bettors to win consistently, they have to be willing to do their research and be able to make smart decisions.
Here are 12 things every sports bettor should know.
1. Bet with your head, not your heart
Sports betting can be fun but you should always bet with your brain, not your emotions. This is the key to making money long-term. If you bet with your emotions, you will quickly lose your money. If you bet with your head, you will focus on statistics and probability and make smart, rational bets.
It is also important to keep track of your bets (a simple spreadsheet works fine) so you can monitor your results and adjust your strategy accordingly. Also, stick to sports that you’re familiar with from a rules perspective and follow closely regarding news. For example, a team that acquires a star player can change the odds on its chances of winning a championship. Sportsbooks are slow to adjust odds, especially on props, so it’s important to stay on top of the latest developments.
2. Don’t be afraid to bet on the underdog
Sportsbooks offer a variety of bets, and it’s often more profitable to take on the underdog than it is to bet on the favorite. This is why underdogs are so popular in college basketball, for example. In the pros, however, this can be a dangerous bet to make, as many fans are accustomed to seeing their team win and will not change their mind even when the underdog is clearly outperforming expectations.
3. Be sure to do your research
It’s essential to do your homework before placing a bet, and this applies to all types of bets. This includes analyzing weather forecasts, staying current with injury updates and considering how a team’s recent performance against its opponent has been. In addition, it’s a good idea to open a bank account dedicated to sports betting. This way, you can separate your winnings from your losing bets.
4. Don’t chase your losses
A common mistake among sports bettors is to try and make back the money they lost on a bad bet by placing more bets. This is known as “going on tilt,” and it can lead to disastrous results. A good rule of thumb is to have a budget for each bet and never risk more than you can afford to lose.
5. Pay attention to dead heat rules
If you are wagering on an event that is not completed, then all bets will stand unless otherwise stated. If two or more participants finish in the same position, then all bets will be classed as a dead heat and stakes returned.