13 Sports Betting Mistakes to Avoid

February 20, 2023

13 Sports Betting Mistakes to keep away from

Like any gambling, sports betting has its highs and lows. Whether you’re lucky enough to hit a ball because of a last-second Hail Mary or fail to make the difference because of a bad pass, sports betting can sometimes feel like a rollercoaster ride. If you need to mitigate some of the risks of sports betting, consider avoiding the following common mistakes.


13 Sports Betting Mistakes to Avoid

Either way, you need to know that’s okay. Sports betting is complicated. There’s a lot to learn, and trying the seemingly easy route is easy. Many people lose money at sports betting, and you probably will too. But you can mitigate some of the damage by knowing which mistakes you can avoid in the future.

Follow these tips, and you should feel better about your betting choices.


You need to manage your funds.

First, you must manage your spending even if you are a casual bettor. If you don’t, you could be underwater in no time.

Set yourself rules that are easy to follow. Think of it as a household budget, where you set aside money for this particular part of your life. Keep your money in an account separate from your day-to-day funds to keep yourself on track.

Your bankroll may start small, but that’s okay. You’ll have more money to play if you earn a few wins and set aside some money from each paycheck for the hobby. You could start with $100 as your initial capital.

Next, you must determine your bet size by setting a percentage of your whole bankroll. You can view three risk levels:

  • Low Risk (0% to 2%): It is the safest of the three options and the best risk level for beginners. Each Bet you make will range from 0% to 2% of your total bankroll. If you have $100 in your bankroll, that means betting at most $2. Of course, you may place more than one Bet at the same time, but all of them will be within the limit of $2.
  • Neutral Risk (0% – 4%): If you’re not a beginner but don’t want to go too crazy, you can bet 0% to 4% of your bankroll. With that $100 in your bankroll, you could bet between $0 and $4 per Bet. If you had ten Bets of $4 each, you would have $40.
  • High Risk (0% – 5%): This is for those who are more experienced in sports betting and want to take more risks. You can now raise your maximum Bet to 5% of your bankroll, or $5 if your bankroll is $100. If you place 20 bets simultaneously, you will lose all your money on bets.

You should only wager up to 5% of your bankroll on any bet. If you use these little individual bet sizes, you will have some protection against a variation to keep yourself from getting stuck too quickly.

You must keep detailed records of all your bets in a spreadsheet. Since you’ve taken your betting money out of your leftover bankroll, this is the definitive way to see how your sportsbook is doing. It would be best if you tracked the following:

  • date of betting
  • bet type
  • bet amount
  • your result
  • The amount you win/lose


Set unrealistic expectations

You can’t start your first round of sports betting assuming you’re going to win. Frankly, you’re likely to lose. Winning at sports betting is complex, and it takes a lot of research and a fair amount of luck.

You can win here and there, but making money from sports betting is slow work. You can forget about the fantasy of doubling your money every time you bet. The most successful sports betting experts get about 60% of their bets right. An educated bettor can only consider so many factors; sometimes, the Team you are betting on will have a bad day.

Instead, it would help if you always viewed sports betting as an interest rather than something you can profit from.


Lazy to research

While we encourage you to consider sports betting a hobby rather than a 2nd career, you shouldn’t bet your money on something you don’t have the education to do. That’s just wasting your money.

There’s more to doing research than looking at predictions on SportsCenter. You should always stay up to date with injury updates for your favorite player or Team and check out past games to see how the two Teams fared before. You can even check the weather forecast to see if the wind or heat will affect the players.

It might make it easier for you to choose a specific niche to focus your efforts on. If college football is your thing, let’s bet on ACC games. Do your research on those teams and see how well that works for you. If you’re comfortable at that level, consider expanding to other sessions or sports.


Betting on sports that you are not familiar with

Bettors should stick to the sport with the most substantial knowledge base. Just because everyone in your office is about football doesn’t mean you should spend money on some Sunday event if you don’t know or like the game.

If you start betting on a sport you need to learn more about, it takes time to win anything. You can best understand odds, handicaps, etc., if you are comfortable with how the sport play and how different teams perform.

Betting on any random movement for it means you’re doomed. Do not do this.


Betting too much

Even if you’re constrained enough to only bet on sports you really know, it can still be tempting to take the blind betting route. Many people bet too much in the hope that something will eventually win instead of selectively looking for the best opportunities.

Sports betting is a marathon, not a race. It’s wise to pace yourself to keep your bankroll manageable. You also need to remember that you are paying a certain amount each time you place a bet (the bookmaker usually takes a 10% cut), which can be challenging to overcome if you spread your bets so small all at once.

Instead, take the time to research your options and spend your money on potential outcomes that you think are sensible.


Bet with emotion instead of logic

When it comes to sports betting, there are several ways people can get the most out of their emotions, like always rooting for their hometown team or getting a little crazy and betting when drunk. But it is another time you should use your brain to think everything through with the help of research.

Bettors who choose intuitively rather than wisely are bound to lose, especially over time. While having a “ride or die” favorite Team is admirable, you have to be able to set aside your personal biases and keep an open mind when deciding how to place your bets. If you can’t bring yourself to let in that your favorite Team probably won’t win, you should avoid putting them in any Bets and keep the relationship intact.

When drunk, emotions can be exceptionally high, so avoid spending money. Alcohol brings out our passionate side, so we’re certainly not making a wise selection when we’ve had a few. Guys, as much as you think betting on that Team right now is an excellent idea, it probably isn’t.


Misinterpreted value

Many bettors place bets on what they believe is the most likely outcome. It seems like what you should do, but it’s more complicated. It would be best to focus on value to improve your chances of making real profits.

Value is not the same as odds; instead, value measures odds concerning your estimated chance of winning on your Bet. You should only bet if the probability of the outcome is higher than the probability.

You can always determine the implied probability of an outcome by looking at the bookmaker’s betting odds. You can pick the implied probability percentage, whether the odds are in decimals or even odds.

Values are always considered positive or negative. A bet has a positive value if the chance of winning is greater than the implied probability reflected in the odds. At the same time, a bet has a negative value if the probability of winning is lower than the actual probability. To make money, you have to locate bets with positive value.

Let’s say the Iowa Cyclones will play the Georgia Bulldogs in a football game. You can look up each Team’s standings, and you’ll see that Iowa is 5-2 for the No. 1 spot in the Big 12, while Georgia is 4-2 for No. 2 in the SEC-East. The two teams matched, but Iowa State had a slight advantage. With more research, Iowa has a 55% chance of winning, and Georgia has a 45 percent chance of winning.

Then you take a look at your favorite betting site, & they offer these odds:

Iowa State: 1.73

Georgia: 2.10

From these numbers, we can calculate the implied probabilities:

Iowa: (1 / 1.73) x 100 = 57.8%

Georgia: (1 / 2.10) x 100 = 47.6%

We then compare the probability of giving the outcome with the implied probability:

Team Probability Implied Probability
Iowa State 55% 57.8%
Georgia 45% 47.6%

In this case, betting on Iowa has no positive value because the actual probability (55%) we calculated earlier is lower than the implied probability (57.8%). There is no positive value in betting on Georgia, as we give them a 45% chance of winning. This figure is also lower than the bookmaker’s implied probability of 47.6%.

Since this match has only negative value for either Team, you should save money and look for better games to bet on.


Do not compare odds and odds.

Once you’ve determined your Bet’s positive value, you should shop on different betting sites. Compare the odds and odds offered by various bookmakers to know where you can find great deals and potential payouts. It doesn’t take long to make, but it’s worth the effort.

Here are some sample odds for a football team to win an upcoming game from five different betting sites:

Site A: 1.83

Site B: 1.75

Site C: 1.82

Site D: 1.70

Site E: 1.80

These odds all look close, but if you think about it, you can see where you can get better deals. If you bet $100 at the best odds of 1.83, your potential winnings are $83; if you bet $100 at the worst odds, you could win $70. It is very different from how much you can win.

Not all betting sites have such a dramatic difference in odds, but even slight differences can increase significantly over time.


Always bet on Favorite.

It is not the same as betting on your favorite Team; instead, it is about betting on the favorites offered by the bookmaker.

Of course, there is a reason why bookmakers give such favorable odds to that Team, but just because a team is the Favorite doesn’t mean they automatically win. Every Team has a bad day, and if you put all your bets on the favorites, you’ll have a bad day too.

It is where good research comes into play again. Just look at the last time these two teams played against each other. Check on the players to see if anyone was injured in training earlier in the week. You may see something no one else sees and get handsomely rewarded by betting on the underdog.


Chasing only big payouts.

On the other hand, some bettors like to back the underdog every time because the potential payout is much higher. While you should always embrace the idea of betting on the underdogs rather than always supporting the favorites, you shouldn’t do so just because high odds could mean a huge payday. These odds also mean you are less likely to win, so be ready to lose a lot of money if you go this route.

It’s not just betting on the loser with big potential payouts, though: Parlays can offer big payouts, too. It is why many websites advise against playing parlay. They are complicated bets to win, but the size of the potential payout attracts bettors. Sportsbooks love parlay gamblers because they’re often just giving away their money by picking these bets and because parlay bets usually have higher stakes than outright bets.

Straight betting can be more ‘boring,’ but you’re more likely to win with simple bets like straight betting.


Not checking your Bet slips carefully.

If you place your Bet through a bookmaker, you must receive a betting slip or ticket showing your exact Bet from your chosen Team to the odds and amount. Confirm every detail before leaving the cashier or clicking “Confirm” on the website.

The cashier may have misheard you and accidentally entered your Bet on another team. Maybe your finger slipped, and you picked the wrong Team. Either way, double-check your betting slip to ensure you have yet to record as having placed a bet you didn’t intend. Otherwise, you may lose your Bet and feel frustrated with yourself.


Chasing losses

Most people know better, and you should refrain from trying to win back your losses by doubling down on your next Bet.

If you’re on a losing streak, it might be tempting to make up for it by placing a big bet in hopes of turning things around. You may win soon, so you’d better increase your Bets to make up for earlier losses. But it’s an easy way to ruin your bankroll and make everything worse.

Refrain from falling into the gambler’s fallacy. Instead, continue to only work within your set bankroll and continue only to make small bets. It will help extend your life and minimize losses as you still bet wisely.


Blame the loss on bad luck.

It’s easy to attribute failure to bad luck. Honestly, you could lose the game because of your bad judgment. And it would be best if you were honest with yourself.

It could be a bad game if you lose money in the short term. But if you’re chronically losing money, you could be the culprit. Do you let your heart rather than your head guide your betting decisions? Are you chasing spending instead of intelligent choices? If you still lose money every time you bet, you must be doing something wrong.

You have to accept that you may have made a mistake because then you can look for ways to improve in the future. Recalibrate your system and fix broken parts.


Remember: play smart.

The best way to stay away from these sports betting mistakes is to take the time to do your research. When it comes to gambling, there is no rush, whether it’s the size of the Bet or the selection of the Team. The study will form the basis of all your decisions, so never cheat yourself by reading all you can.

But don’t let all this become a chore; you should still view sports betting as a pleasure, not a full-time job. If you agonize over analyzing every Team and value, take a step back and pause betting. Let yourself enjoy the sheer joy of the game and fall in love with the sport. When you’re ready to bet again, hopefully, you’ll feel less stress.

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