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How to Win at Sports Betting

by November 26, 2018

Want to know the very best advice for how to win at sports betting? Don’t lose…. just kidding. Only one time in U.S. major professional sports history has a team had a perfect season. Nobody’s really perfect. The point is, losses are going to happen in sports betting. Even the best sports bettors in the world rarely win more than 55% of the time. Winning at sports betting is hard. Period. There is a reason why sports betting is such a profitable business that is now becoming legalized in many areas. With that being said, some sports bettors really do win and win a lot of money! It’s far from impossible to be a successful sports bettor. But, as evident, without the proper knowledge and skills, it won’t happen. The following principles, in order, should give the novice sports bettor a chance to become successful.

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Bankroll Management

Maintaining a solid grip on bankroll management can be easily compared to the real life experience of buying a new car. When a customer wants to buy a new car, he should go into the dealership with an idea of how much he wants to spend and how much he can spend. Typically, these two are somewhat different numbers. But the point is, he needs to go into the dealership with a financial plan. Guess what happens if he doesn’t? Inevitably, he’ll walk out of the dealership with a half-smile on his face, because he will have a brand spankin’ new vehicle for about twice as much as he ever wanted to spend. It literally pays off to have a financial plan in place.

The exact same can be said for sports betting; bankroll management is essential. First, set a budget. If a firm budget is never set, it can sometimes be nearly inescapable to spend more money than can be afforded. Self-control is always a major key of sports betting, and setting a budget can be a life-saver.

Along with setting a budget, actually managing that budget is crucial. Obviously, dropping half of the budget for an extended period of time on one underdog to upset a favorite probably isn’t the wisest choice. Could it pay off once? Sure. But more times than not, that underdog will lose, and all the money budgeted to use will be lost with it. It’s an accepted belief that with each bet, only a small percentage of the allotted budget should be wagered. Anything from one to five percent of the budget per bet is acceptable.

Establishing a Quality Betting Portfolio

Establishing a quality betting portfolio can be hard for new sports bettors. Often times, inexperienced bettors find one game they like and lay much of their budgeted money on it. When only one wager is in play, luck and other factors can play a huge roll in the outcome. However, if five or six different types of wagers are in play (especially with different games), the bettor is much more likely to get true outcomes in the end.

One of the reasons new bettors can struggle to establish a varied betting portfolio is simply because it’s not easy to do so. Many bettors think it takes more money to create a diverse portfolio of bets. That’s not always the case. All it takes is spreading the budgeted money out to different bets in different areas.

Some experts will give certain percentages of a budget that should be wagered on different bet types. However, bets are like snowflakes. Each and every bet is a little bit different. With that, each and every bet calls for something different from the bettor. Of course, it can be smart to wager a higher percentage of a budget on a high profit/low risk opportunity. Of course, it can be unwise to wager a high percentage of a budget in a very low profit/high risk opportunity. So, sometimes more of a bettor’s budget will be spent more on one area rather than another. Another week, it might be flip flopped the opposite way.

Regardless, a bettor’s profile should consist of a healthy mix of the following bets: against the spread, moneyline, over/under, futures, props, and can include parlays and teasers. With a diverse portfolio of bets, the bettor is much more likely to receive true, quality outcomes rather than chancing everything to one bet.

Finding Quality Bets to Place

Finding bets with a great opportunity to win money is another thing that can be tough for new bettors. There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for and considering a wager.

Understand expected value and return on investment
If a bettor truly wants to make money betting, he or she needs to understand how to calculate expected value and return on investment. Check out other articles on BettingPros regarding expected value and return on investment for a full understanding of what these two things are. Online tools and calculators provide bettors with easy tools to use to help. A quick internet search, combined with the input of a few numbers, is all it takes. Obviously, a bettor wants to have as high of numbers as possible for both of these figures. Calculating EV and ROI on potential bets can help new betters find potentially good investments.

Look for value picks, not winners
This one might sound a little funny. However, think about it this way. One bettor can win nine out of ten bets, with the same amount of money placed on each wager, and still lose money. Another better can win only one out of ten bets, with the same amount of money placed on each wager again, and win money. Sports betting is all about value. Even though the first bettor has a 90% win rate, everyone would rather be the second bettor and win money. If a bettor understands EV and ROI, value picks can more easily be found.

Have a long memory
Having a short memory is one of the absolute worst qualities a sports bettor can possibly have. The NFL consistently provides perfect examples; teams will crush it one week, only to get crushed the next week. This happens on the regular. A long memory will help bettors to spot potential wagers where oddsmakers may have been a little too short sighted.

Bet at the right time
Early on, odds are fresh and unchanged by any public trends. Sportsbooks tend to want to keep things as even as possible for themselves, though, and heavy money towards one side or another will force oddsmakers to make adjustments. Obviously this can be a reason to bet early before the odds change, but it can be a reason to bet late, too. If a bettor notices odds seemingly skewing too far in one direction throughout the time before a game, this can also be a perfect opportunity to pounce upon. Betting early or grabbing great opportunities late are two of the better times to bet.

Research Tips

Research is crucial in sports betting. That may sound obvious, but in today’s world, people want results with as little work as possible. Sports betting is just like everything else in life. If a bettor works hard, he or she has a much higher chance of success. It’s all for not if the right things aren’t researched, though. Sports betting research can include anything from checking out stats and watching games, to calculating return on investment. To simplify it all, break the research down into two different types: sports knowledge and numbers knowledge.

The actual “sports” side of researching sports betting is probably what most casual fans enjoy. This can include watching games, researching statistics, monitoring team and player trends, and so on. For new sports bettors, it can be helpful to focus on one sport, as the time it takes to do this research for multiple sports can be overwhelming. To be a successful sports bettor, have a great knowledge base of the sport. Put in the time it takes to consider yourself an “expert” at the game. It will pay off.

The numbers side of the research for sports betting can be more trying. Researching different game lines, calculating EV and ROI, and finding great values actually might be more important than the sports knowledge, however. In fact, finding the best odds from different sportsbooks can even be the difference between winning and losing a bet. Before ever placing a bet, a bettor should put forth his or her best effort in researching it. Find a great value, find the best odds for that bet, and bet away.

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Alex Altmix is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Alex, check out his archive.