Sports betting is one of the most enjoyable pastimes for millions of people around the world. Whether you are betting on football, basketball, boxing, or soccer, the thrill of placing bets and watching the action unfold can often be the highlight of the week.
Naturally, sports betting involves gambling. Gambling, of course, involves money. When money is involved, emotions can float to the surface and prevent us from focusing on the things we need to in order to win.
The risk in gambling is what often makes things exciting. That said, you don’t have to be completely blind and brainless in order to enjoy yourself while risking your money on a bet. Calculated risk is something that many seasoned gamblers abide by, given that a little thought can go a long way.
Every gambler enjoys doing things their own way, right? I mean, where is the fun in following every little bit of advice and nugget of wisdom thrown our way? It doesn’t have to be that way, of course.
At the end of the day, if you enjoy riding a motorcycle, you can, within reason, do it your own way. However, first, you must understand the risks that come with it. If there is an expert racer around to give you advice on how to avoid putting yourself at unnecessary risk while helping you get more out of your bike, you’re not going to ignore them, are you?
Of course not. Below, we will cover 5 crucial tips for beginners to sports betting.
Whether you like it or not, bankroll management should be the first step to conquer for any sports betting enthusiast. It might sound a little boring, but being smart with your money is absolutely paramount to your chances of success over a long period of time.
Why? Well, gambling can be addictive, especially sports betting. Whereas table games like roulette and blackjack are also easy to get lost in, backing your favorite sports team, boxer, or even your country brings with it a whole new level of emotion. Emotion and gambling go together about as well as pasta and hair gel.
Bankroll management involves identifying and managing how much money you can afford to gamble with. A smart gambler will never exceed the amount of money in their bankroll, avoiding nasty spirals that can be triggered by diving into cash intended for other things.
If you have spent every single cent in your bankroll, that’s you done. It’s over. Walk away until you can afford to bet again. Sometimes, that is easier said than done for many gamblers. This is why you need to be very smart when betting on sports. A plan is crucial.
How to Manage Your Bankroll
Responsible gambling certainly keeps things fun, which makes bankroll management very important.
Betting on the big game or event is enjoyable when playing within your means. Placing your rent money or vacation savings on a fighter to win – only for them to be knocked out in brutal fashion – is not fun. Not one bit.
In order to manage your bankroll adequately, you must work out how much money you can reasonably spend without compromising your livelihood. Never chase your losses when on a losing streak and don’t up your bets ridiculously when on a winning streak. The former here is quite obvious, but when it comes to the latter, this can really catch people out.
When on a winning streak, you should avoid getting too greedy and set a limit on raising your bets. If you have been placing $100 on bets from a $1000 bankroll, you might be tempted to raise your bets to $500 when you have won $5000.
This is never a good idea. Yes, raising your steaks a little when you have a larger bankroll can work out for you. However, if you have blown through $4000 from that 5k, you might be tempted to bet large to recoup what you lost. Bet smart, set your limits, and stick to them.
Know the Sport You Are Betting On
Think about the sports that you know best and start off betting on these. If you have little to no knowledge of how betting on a game of baseball works – let alone the rules of the sport – the chances are that you will be relying heavily on Lady Luck to see you home.
As we all know, luck is certainly not something that can be relied on. It makes little sense betting on sports that you do not understand as logic dictates that you will struggle to place the right bets. By all means, you can trust the bookmakers’ favorites, but the favorites don’t always win.
Most sports betting enthusiasts will have got into gambling off the back of watching their favorite sports. While it can be tempting to try and win money by betting on other sports, do you have the knowledge where it matters?
There are many reasons why sports betting enthusiasts might look for other sports to bet on. For example, there are times when it is not possible to bet on the sport that you know, such as in the offseason. Additionally, it might get a little tedious betting on the same sports week in week out.
In this case, your best bet (pun unintended) is to study these other sports as much as possible.
When Betting on a New Sport
Like anything in life, if you want knowledge in a particular field, you need to start by learning what it’s all about.
For example, if you believe that UFC betting is the way forward, get accustomed to what MMA is and how you can benefit from learning about the styles, rules, and fighters involved in the sport.
There is a plethora of news, editorials, and online forums that discuss MMA in-depth. Better yet, sites like YouTube are awash with highlights of fights and breakdowns of how things work.
As obvious as it sounds, start watching UFC fight cards. Get to know the fighters and what they do best. If you pay enough attention, you could even identify the next breed of stars that can win you some money in both the short and long term.
Simply backing a fighter because they are a big name and bookmaker’s favorite – like Conor McGregor typically is in his fights – is not a smart way to bet.
If you don’t have the time and don’t want to put in the effort to learn about a new sport, as yourself if you should be betting on that sport. Always bet smart.
Consider the More Obscure Markets
There are plenty of beginners to sports betting that focus on the obvious markets. For example, the Boston Celtics are playing the Los Angeles Lakers so the first port of call is to place a bet on the moneyline or on the spread.
A seasoned sports gambler will look at the other markets available where there might be a better chance of making a profit. “The Race to 30 Points” or “Alternative Spread” bets could be a great way of getting better prices in line with your betting knowledge.
Yes, beginners should understand the basic bet types but in order to find value (we will look at this a little later), you might find that there are better prices in the markets a little lower down on the bookmakers’ lists.
Remember that most bookmakers worth their salt will offer a number of markets. You don’t have to bet on the moneyline or the spread. Use the options provided to you in order to find the right bets for you.
What if my Online Betting Site Doesn’t Have Options?
If you have ascertained that the betting site you are playing at only offers a couple of markets, then the best thing to do is…
Choose the Right Betting Sites
There is no excuse for a betting site taking your money and giving you next to nothing in terms of choice. A solid and reliable bookie should also come with options.
The right betting site has to be the right one for you, so if you can’t find what you are looking for, then it is time to move on. If you are not getting the right service, that should not be your problem.
After all, you’re paying 100 cents on the dollar to place your bets, right?
It is crucial to wager on only the best sites around in order to ensure that you are getting good prices across a wide range of markets.
If you are a huge sports fan and want the opportunity to bet on different sports, it is crucial that you check that the online betting site you play at covers those sports. It is never a good idea to assume, that’s for sure.
More than anything, the best sports betting sites are all dedicated to providing the best experience you can have when sports betting. Can you say the same about a site that hardly tries at all, yet will gladly take your money?
What Makes a Great Betting Site?
In short, there is a lot that goes into a strong betting site. In your journey in sports betting, you need to know what you are looking for prior to signing up for just any site. First and foremost, the online betting site you are playing with should be safe and secure and come with a solid track record of keeping customers’ as happy as possible.
In order to keep customers satisfied, the site should be modern, easy to navigate and provide you with a number of banking methods. Being able to deposit and withdraw your winnings in a straightforward manner should be the industry standard.
But that’s not always the case. Another thing that should be the norm is a wide range of sports and a multitude of markets that provide you with the best range of betting opportunities available.
Odds should be strong, too. What’s the point in betting at an online site when you are not getting value for your money, right?
Value, Value, Value
The golden rule in sports betting is that you should always look for value.
The knack of identifying value is one of the key traits of a successful gambler. As bookmakers want to keep the edge in their favor, value, unfortunately, is not something that they will want to offer you at all times.
Although value is something that is mentioned by professional sports betting enthusiasts and writers, what does “value” actually mean? In simple terms, value is the idea behind spotting bookmakers’ odds that are seemingly lower than the chance of an event happening.
Can you wrap your head around that?
How about an example – Let’s say that heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is set to face off against Deontay Wilder. Although Joshua is the favorite, his odds of -260 seem very low against the American. Given that the American has never beaten anyone on Joshua’s level before, the Brit’s odds seem very low. There would arguably be value in this bet.
How to Spot Value?
First things first – shop around. In order to find the best prices, compare odds from different bookmakers. If the price you can get on one online betting site is better than what you can get on another, it only makes sense to take the higher odds, right?
Aside from that, you want to look at the market itself. When it comes to identifying value, it can be very subjective (simply a matter of opinion). As such, using your extensive knowledge in the sport you are betting on can help you tremendously as you progress in your sports betting journey.
The more time you spend betting, the more you will get a feel for how the bookies operate. When it comes to odds, the bookmakers tend to err on the side of caution, for the most part. This means that they tend to focus heavily on big games and leagues, which means that there can often be more value found in the lower leagues and less important games or sports.
Aside from this, there is often value found in underdogs. In sports like boxing – where many fights are foregone conclusions – it is almost pointless backing wide underdogs. However, at times you will find that some fights that are genuine contests come with an opportunity to take advantage of the odds attached to the less popular fighter.
Rather than focusing on boxing fights, why not pay attention to MMA, where the best fight the best? There is often more value in UFC, Bellator, and ONE FC fights given that MMA betting is not as popular as wagering on boxing. The more you learn about sports and about sports betting, the easier it will be to identify value.
The Complete Package
So, there you have it, five crucial tips for getting you firing out of the traps in your sports betting journey. While we focused on things such as bankroll management, knowing your sports, choosing the right betting sites and more, putting it all together is the key.
Sports betting should be fun. However, you are risking your money for this fun so it only makes sense that you don’t want to be losing over and over again. I mean, what’s fun about that?
As you progress through the ranks of novice and intermediate up to expert sports betting enthusiast, you will find that many of these basic tips still work. By getting things right the first time around, we’re sure that you will be in a good position to create positive rather than negative habits.