Why Most Bettors Lose Money

Why Most Bettors Lose Money

It shouldn’t be a secret that the vast majority of sports bettors are losers. While sports betting can be extremely profitable for those that decide to take it seriously and learn proper +EV betting techniques, for most people, it’s simply entertainment.

In the realm of Las Vegas, placing a wager on a sporting event while sipping on a drink in the sportsbook is something that millions of tourists do every year. This happens every night at the sportsbooks but is especially true for big wagering events on the calendar, such as the Super Bowl and March Madness.

Even those who take sports betting more seriously and wager online still fall into some classic pitfalls that ultimately drag them into making –EV bets.

Is It Just the Bookie’s Advantage?

The bookmaker charges vigorish on each bet, also known as vig or juice. On most traditional point spread and totals wagering, this amounts to a 10-percent edge in favor of the bookmaker. On certain markets and depending on the sportsbook, the edge by the oddsmakers can be even higher.

With this edge, sportsbooks can make money regardless of the outcome of an event if they have balanced action on both sides. The vigorish is something that all bettors need to beat to become profitable.

Beating the vig is a tough enough job in itself, but many sports bettors make it even harder on themselves with their betting habits. Instead of using a market-based approach and taking emotion out of their handicapping, they are wagering on impulse and sentiment.

Home Team Loyalty

The most obvious situation where bettors are thinking with their heart and not their head is when it comes to betting on their hometown teams.

How to Lose Money:
Many consider it sacrilegious to bet against their hometown team as if doing so makes them poor fans. Some will only bet on their favorite sports teams and will shy away from a wager that goes against them, even if it looks like there may be value betting for the opponent.

This attitude is extremely common among bettors and is one that lacks any logic. It’s certainly understandable to have an attachment to a particular sports team(s).


Sports betting isn’t about loyalties or “fan-hood.” It’s about making money.

Betting against your favorite team because you find value in the betting market doesn’t in any way disqualify you from being a loyal fan. And even if it did, you would be a fool to turn away from a profitable wager just because you have an emotional attachment to a particular team.

The worst part about this weakness among many bettors is that they often have the most knowledge about their local teams. Since they watch these teams regularly, they know where they struggle and when they might be vulnerable to a particular opponent.

How to Become Profitable:

Bettors have an advantage when it comes to wagering on their favorite teams, and it’s one they should utilize, whether that means betting for or against. Some bettors know their hometown teams as well as local beat writers. They would be foolish to not utilize this advantage fully.

Consider how much knowledge you might have if you knew as much about your favorite team as you did about others across the country? It would help you tremendously when it comes to handicapping.

Chasing Losses

Even successful handicappers who know how to spot value occasionally get caught up in chasing their losses. For recreational bettors, chasing losses is extremely common.

There are so many issues with chasing your losses that it’s hard to know where to start. Here we will cover a few different scenarios to look out for:

  • Betting on games simply to break even on the day or week is a ridiculous premise. If you don’t see any value in the market, move on.
  • It doesn’t matter if you’ve lost money that day. You don’t need to end the day breakeven or in the positives. In the long run, if you search for value when handicapping and appropriately line shop, the winnings will come.
  • Panicking and placing several units on long-shot wagers or betting –EV large parlay bets is only going to get you deeper in the hole. If you were to win, it would still be a negative expectation in the long run and one that will do significant damage to your bankroll.

The worst part about chasing losses is that most sports bettors – especially experienced ones – know better. It’s a case of “not practicing what they preach,” which makes it even more frustrating.

If you can’t stop yourself from chasing losses after a rough day, then it might be best to take a hiatus from sports betting until you can control your emotions and bankroll.


As mentioned earlier, bettors can’t afford to give the sportsbooks an extra edge. The 10-percent vig is already a terrible enough obstacle to overcome. Falling into other traps like betting with your emotions or chasing your losses is a sure-fire way to lose.

Winning sports bettors don’t bet on emotion or sentimental feelings towards their favorite teams. They look for value in the lines, manage their bankroll properly, and hone their skills as handicappers.