The best sports bettors in the world rarely (if ever) win more than 60% of the time, so clearly betting on the outcome of sporting events is a difficult business. Because of the juice required to place bets with bookmakers, the breakeven point for sports gambling is around 53% – anything above that is pure profit. Believe it or not, sports bettors who consistently win and make a living off their hobby do exist, though they are in the minority.
What do they do and know that separates their betting habits from people who consistently lose? After all, sports bettors go through losing streaks, even those who make a living from gambling on sports. The formula is simple enough: win more often than you lose, and follow basic sports betting strategy tips, and you can profit from your wagers in the long run.
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Winning Sports Betting Strategies and Tactics
The following pieces of sports betting advice can help you turn a profit from your wagers. These basic sports betting strategies are common knowledge; nothing written in this article is a deep dark secret of the sports gambling industry. The trick is to follow these tips at all times, never letting your heart get in the way of a smart wager. If you want to win money betting on sports, you need to follow some basic strategies for sports gamblers.
Money Management / Bankroll Management
Setting aside a specific amount of money, known as your “bankroll”, will help keep your gambling on-budget. It’s true that you should never use your rent money to bet on sports, but the converse of that is that you should never use your sports betting bankroll to pay rent, if you want to be a profitable gambler.
Establishing a bankroll means deciding on an amount of cash that you can afford to lose.
Establishing a specific bankroll for a given sport’s season includes breaking that budget down by the month, the week, and per game. General sports betting strategy advice in terms of your bankroll will tell you that you shouldn’t wager more than 1% of your total bankroll per game. Anything above 1% is considered a risky bet, while wagers made up of 1% of your bankroll are considered conservative, smart wagers.
As an example, let’s say you’ve decided your bankroll for the entire NFL season is $1,000; you don’t want to wager more than $10 per NFL game. Bets of that size keep from losing too much on a bad wager, and can still help you turn a profit.
Bankroll strategy also teaches gamblers not to try to make up for losses by placing larger bets. Your brain may tell you that you have to “win back” your losses by doubling your wagers on your next round of bets, but this sort of wager manipulation is more likely to lead to even bigger losses. Always work within your established bankroll, and if you have some success, then consider increasing your wagers a few bucks at a time over the course of a season.
Bet in Your Right Mind
There’s an expression common to all forms of gambling, known as “going on tilt.” Poker players, slot machine junkies, and sports bettors are all liable to bet “on tilt” when they let their emotions get the best of them and forget about basic strategy. Betting when you’re in your right mind means ignoring your emotions and wagering only when you are sober and in a good mood.
One way to think of placing sports wagers is to only bet when you would feel safe driving. Brick and mortar sportsbooks often include bars – why do you think that is? People who have imbibed a little too much beer or whiskey tend to place wagers based on their emotions, and as a result lose more than they win. Gambling on sports while you’re drunk (or under the influence of drugs) will keep you from using good judgment and can put your bankroll in jeopardy.
As for the advice to avoid allowing your emotions to take over, understand that being angry or even being extremely happy can impair your judgment just as easily as a few too many beers. Let’s say you’ve just experienced a round of bad beats and you’re down in the mouth – that’s the perfect time to walk away from the sportsbook until your head is clear. If you’re on a losing streak, you need to take a break before you start placing other sports bets. It’s no surprise that many professional sports bettors understand the ins and outs of meditation and emotional control; clearing your mind after a series of bad losses will help you keep your bankroll in the black.
Do the Homework
Probably the most important sports wagering tip is to do your homework before you place a bet. Researching before you place a bet means handicapping teams as well as shopping for the best lines. In fact, line-shopping is often more important than knowing the ins and outs of all the teams and players involved in your wagers. Studying your picks before you make them means comparing stats, betting trends, past performances, and hunting for the best possible lines before you lay down a bet.
More on Line Shopping
Winning sports bettors are often those gamblers that have the patience and ability to look around for the best lines. That’s one reason why opening accounts at multiple online sportsbooks is a winning strategy – different books have different lines and odds, and membership at a variety of these sites gives you the chance to find the best line and lay your money on those odds. Here’s an example; let’s say you want to bet on the San Francisco 49ers and most books are offering a point spread of 7. If you spend time line-shopping, you may find a book offering the same bet at 6.5 points or even better. Repeat that practice over the period of an entire sports betting season and you’re more likely to find yourself winning more often than you lose.
For the most part, sports betting strategy is just common sense. Establish your bankroll and acceptable bet sizes, control your emotions, avoid betting when you’re under-the-influence, and shop for the best lines. The rest is up to the teams you wager on and the finicky gods that watch over sporting events.