Sports betting involves placing wagers on the outcome of a sporting event. It may be a simple bet on a team to win a game, or it might involve more complicated bets that include how many points a team would score in the game.
Whether you’re a casual fan or a sports bettor, there are a few things you should know before you place your first bet. These tips will help you avoid pitfalls that could damage your bankroll and ruin your life.
1. Make a bankroll, not a line
When you first start betting on sports, it is important to set aside a certain amount of money that you can afford to lose. This will allow you to play on a consistent basis, without going broke if a bet goes wrong.
2. Take a break when things go wrong
It is easy to get caught up in a game and start placing bets too early. This can quickly drain your bankroll and lead to big losses.
3. Establish a unit size, not a line
The best sports bettors use anywhere from 1-2% of their bankroll on each play. This allows for variance to work out and gives them a chance to keep their profits growing.
4. Bet on teams you trust, not just teams that look pretty on the field
A lot of sports betting strategies revolve around identifying a team or player that you like and making a bet on them. There is nothing wrong with doing this, but it’s important to remember that you need to separate your emotions from the game.
5. Choose teams you believe will perform well against each other, not just those that have good uniforms.
It’s also important to choose teams you think will perform well against the spread. This is a number assigned by the bookmakers that handicaps one team and favors another when two teams meet. The bookmakers will set the spread in increments of half a point, so you can bet on teams that are perceived to have more chances of winning than those with less chance of winning.
6. Always shop for a better number
You should always shop for the best odds available at your sportsbook of choice. Regardless of whether you’re an avid fan or just a casual bettor, shopping for better numbers can be a great way to make some extra cash and improve your sports betting strategy.
7. Avoid losing discipline, and do not bet on bad numbers
Those who make the most money in the sports betting world have a strong sense of discipline. They resist the urge to bet on a team that has a -6.5 number at their sportsbook when other books have a -7 number, and they shop for a better number whenever possible.
8. Understand sports betting and variance
If you’re new to sports betting, it is important to understand the math behind the odds that are offered. A bettor should know that they are betting with a vig, or vigorish, which is the amount a sportsbook charges to handle a bet. This vig is usually less than 55% of the total odds you’re paying, but it can be more depending on the type of game and the level of the odds offered.