As recently as a year and a half ago, there weren’t any U.S. states that allowed people to bet on sports. But today, there are more than 40 states that have either legalized sports gambling or started to move in that direction.
Do you live in one of these states? If so, you might be thinking about making a deposit into an online sportsbook and placing some bets down on sports, if you haven’t already.
Before you get too far ahead of yourself, though, you should take the time to learn some betting strategies that will help you walk out of your sportsbook a winner more often than not.
Here are eight betting strategies to keep in mind when you’re wagering on football, basketball, baseball, and the other sports.
Start by Betting on the Sports You Know
U.S. online sportsbooks haven’t been around for very long. But they already offer people the opportunity to bet on almost any sports they want.
Whether you want to bet on an NFL game on a Sunday afternoon or a rugby match on a Thursday morning, you can do it. But that doesn’t mean that you should!
When you’re first getting your feet wet in the world of sports gambling, stick to only placing bets on sports that you know and follow. You’ll have a much better chance of enjoying long-term betting success when you’re staying away from sports that you don’t know anything about.
Make Sure You Understand the Different Types of Sports Bets
Do you know the difference between a spread bet and a moneyline bet? That’s something you’re going to have to know prior to placing your first sports bet.
Spread bets are bets with point spreads attached to them. The point spread represents how many points one team is expected to beat another team by. And in order to win a spread bet, the team that you bet on needs to “beat the spread.”
For example, if Team A is a 5-point favorite against Team B, you’ll need Team A to win by more than 5 points if you bet on them or Team B to win outright or lose by less than 5 points if you bet on them.
Moneyline bets don’t require you to know any of this. The only thing you’ll have to do is pick whether Team A or Team B will win a game and collect your cash if your team is victorious.
Create a Bankroll From the Beginning (and Manage It Properly!)
Sports bettors need to set up bankrolls for themselves right from the beginning before they start betting on sports.
It doesn’t matter if your bankroll is $100, $1,000, or $1,000,000. You need to set aside a predetermined amount of money that you can afford to lose if sports betting doesn’t go your way.
You also need to learn how to manage your bankroll. If your bankroll is only, say, $100, you’re not going to last very long betting on sports if you’re throwing down $25 bets. You should budget your bankroll and devote about 1 to 5% of it to each bet you make.
Get Into the Habit of Researching Games Before Betting on Them
Remember how we said that it’s important for you to bet on the sports that you know? It’s also important for you to take whatever knowledge you have of certain sports and dig even deeper before betting on them.
Prior to placing a bet, you should always evaluate individual games and see if you can find any information that might give you a slight edge. If, for example, you discover than Team A hasn’t won against Team B on the road in 12 years and Team A is favored by 5 points in their game, it might give you every reason to bet on Team B.
When it comes to betting on sports, researching, researching, and then researching some more is the key to scoring victories.
Monitor Betting Lines in the Days Leading Up to Games
In addition to doing the right amount of research on games, you should also keep a close eye on the betting lines for games in the days leading up to them. They can tell you a lot about what the general consensus is on a game.
If Team A starts off the week as a 5-point favorite over Team B but then you notice that they’re only a 1-point favorite by the time their game is ready to start, that might tell you something. It’ll tell you that “sharps” (a.k.a. “the sports bettors who have a lot of money and know what they’re doing”) are likely all over Team B and betting big on them (maybe they discovered the same thing you did during their research!).
Look at the betting lines for games you might bet on at least once a day to see if they’ve changed at all.
Pick the Right Times to “Fade the Public”
There are times when online sportsbooks will report that nearly everyone is betting on one team to beat another. Something like 70 or 80% of all bets on a game will be on that team.
And whenever this happens, it always seems like the majority ends up being wrong. It’s why so many serious sports bettors like to “fade the public” when this happens. It’s one of the most popular betting strategies for many people.
Fading the public involves going against the grain and betting on a team that no one is betting on. It could help you win a lot of money if you’re willing to go out on a limb.
Keep Accurate Records of Your Wins and Losses
Most online sportsbooks will keep track of all your wins and losses when you place bets with them. This might lead you to believe that you don’t need to worry about keeping your own records.
But what happens if that online sportsbook shuts down? Or what if you decide to take your talents to a different sportsbook?
You might lose all your records! It’s why you need to keep your own so that you know how much money you’re up or down at all times.
Go read more about how not keeping records could take a toll on you if you’re thinking about not jotting down your own wins and loss.
Make Peace With the Fact That You’re Not Always Going to Win
Professional sports bettors don’t hit all of their bets. Far from it!
If a sports bettor is able to sustain a long run that sees them hitting 55% of their bets, that’s considered great. But that bit of information probably isn’t going to stop you from feeling bad about yourself when you hit a rough patch.
Try to remember that you’re not always going to win bets. You just have to win more often than you lose when you bet on sports to start stacking money.
Use These Betting Strategies to Win Big
If you put the eight betting strategies found here to the test, it should make you a much better sports bettor than you would be otherwise. People won’t be able to believe that you’re a beginner.
As you get more experienced, you can step out and try other betting strategies. But for the time being, stick to these ones and take full advantage of the edge that they’ll offer you.
Check out our blog to get more great gambling advice.