Sports betting has been a sensitive topic here in the United States up until quite recently. Four years ago the Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on sports betting, allowing individual states to make their own minds up on the activity.
Now sports fans in more than two dozen states can legally place bets with DraftKings on NFL point spread wagers, outright NBA Championship bets, and speculative accumulators on a range of sports. Whilst it may be tempting to rush in and take advantage of legalized sports betting it’s not particularly wise.
If you want to protect your money and give yourself the best chances of turning a profit you need to bet cleverly. To help you with that, we have compiled a list of great tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your sports betting experience.
Have any of your own? Be sure to let us know about them in the comments section below.
There is an awful lot of perceived wisdom in professional sports like a belief that a certain team always does well on their travels, or that an individual player holds a hoodoo over an entire franchise.
More often than not, these titbits of perceived wisdom are either vast over generalizations or demonstrably false. If you were to do your research properly you might discover that the team everyone thinks of as good travelers only has a slightly above average away record.
Or that the player who appears to hold a hoodoo over a certain franchise only has that reputation because he’s faced up against them two or three times.
The moral of the story? If you’re placing a bet, make sure you’re basing your picks on the research that you’ve done rather than something you think you know about the sport.
Don’t Bet on Your Team
Have you ever used one of those online table predictors? The one where you ‘predict’ the scores of all the games in the league to find out who will make the Playoffs? If you have, you’ll probably have noticed that the team you support always does surprisingly well in those predictions.
That’s because deep down we want our team to win and we think they can, even when all the evidence is pointing in the opposite direction. That hope is what makes supporting a team so amazing, but it’s also what makes betting a fool’s errand.
Make a habit of never betting on your team, like ever. Even if you’re tempted to bet against them, don’t. Sports fans can’t be trusted to view their own teams objectively so don’t add financial loss on top of sporting loss.
Bet on Less Mainstream Sports
Everyone bets on the NFL. Even people who have nothing more than a passing interest in football bet on the NFL. So guess what? The bookmakers go to the ends of the earth to make sure that the odds they provide on the NFL are bulletproof.
They use dozens of researchers and statisticians to close every loophole and make it as difficult as possible for betters to make big winnings. That’s not the case with other, less mainstream sports like MMA, MLS, and track and field. You can even find a UFC fight near you and attend it.
In these sports, bookmakers tend to offer more generalized odds as they don’t have enough researchers and statisticians to shorten and narrow the odds. If you invest the time into researching these sports as much as possible then you can take advantage of lackadaisical odds to make big winnings.
Online sports betting being legalized in America is a big deal, so don’t go offering your much sought-after trade to the first website that looks your way. Shop around a little, see who is offering the best odds, and check out their promotions a little bit.
As the consumer the power is in your hands. Bookmakers want your business and they are often prepared to pay for it. Use price comparison websites to find the best odds on certain sporting events and check seasonal offers to see if there are sites rewarding customers with free bets or matching deposits.
Set a Budget
It’s not normal to win all the time. If it was there would be no sports betting companies in existence, they’d all have gone bust. Make sure you remember that and don’t fall into the trap of trying to make living from sports betting or worse, chasing your losses.
Instead set yourself a weekly budget – or even a daily budget – and make it realistic. Say to yourself that you’re only going to spend $20 a week and stick to that limit. If you’re gambling with a provider that allows you to impose limits on yourself then make use of that facility.
Mastering the art of handicapping
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to handicapping, as the best strategy for you will depend on the type of bet you are making and your personal playing style. However, some common betting strategies which can be used to improve your chances of winning include using parlays and teasers.
Parlays involve wagering on multiple bets simultaneously, in order to increase your potential winnings. By combining a couple of odds favorites into one bet, you are increasing the chance that at least one of them will win. For example, if you were betting on a horse race and wanted to combine a 3/1 shot with a 10/1 shot, you would make the combined bet as an 8/1 bet. This increases your chances of winning both bets by a substantial amount – even if only one of the horses actually wins!
Teasers also offer good odds potential but with the added bonus of generating excitement among punters ahead of an event. Rather than being fixed odds (meaning they always offer the same payout), teaser bets give backers the opportunity to win more if their chosen horse actually does well during the racecourse action. For example, if you were backing a horse at 9/4 odds and it finished second, your stake would be returned plus any profit made from the original wager (ie: 4 stakes x 2 = 8). As long as your chosen horse finishes within 1st or 2nd place during this particular racecourse action, you will have won your teaser bet.
Sports betting is supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be a release. Keep it that way.