A lot has changed in the past few years, and one of them is the number of people betting on sports. In fact, the number of sports bettors (both serious and casual) doubled in 2021, alone.
This is what happens when more states open up sports betting options and more fans find themselves looking for ways to increase the excitement of the game from home. Why does it matter to us that so many people have gotten into sports gambling? There’s a lot of room for error, especially when you’re new to the game.
We’re here to offer sports betting tips for newbies so that you don’t get squashed in your first few attempts at gambling on sports.
Read on for nine tips that a lot of long-time sports bettors wished that they knew from the beginning.
1. Don’t Play the Field
Sure, you might watch all sorts of sporting events throughout the year. That doesn’t mean that you’re an expert in all of them, and you shouldn’t start acting like one.
When you’re getting into sports betting for beginners, pick a sport or two that you know well. If you don’t know a thing about the NHL, don’t start betting on hockey games. It seems like a simple tip, but a lot of people get swept up in the excitement of placing bets and forget that sometimes, it’s better to be a spectator.
2. Start With Small Bets
When you’re betting on sports, you’re almost always playing against sportsbooks. We’re talking about groups of professionals who know what they’re doing, know how to set up a spread in their favor, and don’t want you to win.
Until you start to understand how this works and what strategies seem to play out well for you, keep your bets small. Otherwise, you’ll be out of the sports betting game before you even got started.
3. Start With Moneyline Wagers
Most of the time, sporting events have two lines: against the spread bets and moneyline wagers. Against the spread bets are more complex, with one team giving points and one team getting points.
Moneyline wagers are simple. When you place a moneyline wager, you’re betting on which team will win. Yes, there is still a vig, you can still lose money, and this still comes with a learning curve–but it’s easier to understand what you’re betting on.
4. Don’t Forget About Home Team Bias
Have you ever heard of the home team bias before? The idea is that the home team is more likely to win than the traveling team, which makes it tempting to bet on the home team.
Sportsbooks know this and plan accordingly. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of placing a big bet on a home team but remember, they can still lose–and you can stand to lose big money.
5. Don’t Bet on Your Favorite Team
Let’s talk about your own bias. Even if you know that your favorite team is no match for their opponents, you’re still holding out hope.
Talk to any long-time sports bettor and they’ll tell you this: the number one rule of sports betting is to stop betting on games that involve your favorite team. No matter how much you think you have your bias in check, it can still cloud your judgment and lead to bad bets.
6. Learn the Most Important Positions
Whether you’re betting on a sport you know well or branching out, there’s one way to improve your odds: start learning about the most important positions.
If you’re not betting on your favorite team, you’re going to have to start learning about a lot of other teams and their most valuable players. You can’t learn every stat on every team or you’ll experience information overload. However, you can brush up on the stats regarding that team’s most important players to place a more educated bet.
7. Avoid Risky Sports
What do we mean by risky sports? We’re not talking about the risk to the players. We’re talking about the risk of fixing the game.
A good rule of thumb is to avoid betting on one-on-one games or matches. When you’ve got so few players in the game, it’s easier for scammers to find someone who’s willing to throw the game, which is bad news for you. (Keep in mind that this isn’t exclusive to one-on-one games and that the NBA has had its fair share of scandals in this arena.)
8. Bet Like a Business Owner
Sure, most sports bettors aren’t professional gamblers. They’re hobbyists. However, it’s time to start thinking about the financial side of things like it’s a business and not a pastime.
Why is this important? To keep things under control, you need to operate within a budget. Don’t go overboard with bets, don’t keep betting to try to make up for a losing streak, and don’t go under because your hobby got a little too expensive.
9. Don’t Forget About Niche Sporting Events
Sports betting isn’t all about football and basketball. There are plenty of niche sporting events that offer a ton of action so long as you know to look for it.
For example, if you missed placing Derby picks this year, you won’t want to miss out next year. Annual niche sporting events do create a lot of hype and as long as you’re placing reasonable and informed bets, you’re bound to have a good time.
Take Advantage of These Sports Betting Tips to Avoid Big Mistakes
When it comes to sports betting, you’ve got a lot of learning ahead of you. These sports betting tips are only the tip of the iceberg, but they can keep you out of serious trouble.
Looking to stay on top of the latest sports news? Take a look at our sports section to find out how the teams you’re betting on are doing this season.