So, you watch football, play ice hockey, and now you want to try your hand at betting on the games? Wait a second. You may be a fan but that doesn’t mean you can make money off of it. Sports betting is actually a very calculated science involving homework and spreadsheets and sometimes algorithms and even then, the professionals lose. That’s why we love sports. Anything can happen on any given day. That is also why picking games and point spreads can be so darn challenging. If you’re just starting out, here is a basic crash course in what NOT to do.
Don’t Just Bet
Do your homework, dummy. Do you put money into a stock you’ve never heard of? Do you lend people money without hearing their proposal first? Hopefully, you would obtain some background information before throwing your money into a potentially volatile situation. It’s the same with placing sports bets. Study the trends, watch the injury report, and follow the line all week before making an educated maneuver. Don’t just go on a hunch alone.
Don’t Bet With Your Heart
While you may desperately want your hometown team to win after losing the last two, this is not a good reason to place money on them. This type of move makes you a “square” and these are the people Las Vegas loves. Rather, you should bet with your head and always take emotion out of it.
Don’t Pick Under the Influence
When placing bets or really doing pretty much anything of importance, it’s good to be thinking clearly. There’s a reason casinos in Vegas have pretty waitresses coming around with free drinks – they want your judgment impaired. Stay strong. Don’t bite. A clear head means clear-thinking picks.
Don’t Pick Upset
So, you lost a bet. Maybe you lost a few. It happens. DO NOT CHANGE YOUR STRATEGY! Winning and losing streaks happen all the time in sports betting. Never increase your bets to make up for previous losses, as it will usually only bring you more losses. Instead, take a deep breath, clear your mind, and stay the course. If you have a good plan of attack, you will eventually win again. Winning streaks happen just as easily as the losing ones do.
Don’t Bet Everything You Have
This is what separates the men from the boys; the winners from the squares. You only need to be winning at a small rate of return to be winning. Even Charlie Sheen could agree with that. Eventually, it adds up. A 55 percent winning percentage can turn into a nice profit over time. In addition, when betting on sports, always set aside a certain amount of money you can afford to lose. Put this bankroll aside for the week, month, and season. Instead of tossing it all on one game, the smarter move is to work with the size of your bankroll and only use a small percentage of it on each game. Then, watch as your money incrementally increases by game, week, and season. Most importantly, never bet money you cannot afford to lose in the first place.
Mark Nielson writes for sports blogs where you can find out more about Football Handicappers.