Sports betting has become a part of our sports culture, even before the United States made it legal ($13 billion was bet legally in 2019) in 2018. Many people are drawn to sports wagering because of the entertainment value it adds to the game and events. In addition, the opportunity to make a profit keeps people engaged and coming back for more. The challenge of consistently picking winners and losers is what makes this activity so compelling, but there are some basic rules to follow to be successful.
Bet with your head, not your heart
It’s easy to fall into the trap of placing bets based on emotion or nostalgia. Regardless of how long you have been rooting for a certain team, it is always better to place bets with your head instead of your heart. Doing so will help you stay objective and avoid making bad bets that could potentially derail your betting career.
Always bet within your budget: Whether you are winning or losing, never bet more than you can afford to lose. This is especially important when you are first getting started with betting on sports. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of your favorite team beating the odds and think you can keep winning, but this can quickly turn into a disaster if you lose too much money. The best way to avoid this is to start small and gradually increase your wagers as you gain experience and confidence.
Know your odds: While you may be familiar with home/away and against-the-spread records, there is a lot more to learn when it comes to sports betting. Each sport has a unique set of statistics that can be studied at a deeper level. For example, analyzing batter/pitcher matchups in baseball or coaching battles in football can give you an edge over the competition.
Understand the house edge: The house edge is how a sportsbook earns its profits. Essentially, the house takes a cut on every bet you place (referred to as the juice). This is why it is important to shop around for the best odds when placing your bets.
Mistakes are inevitable: No one can be perfect when it comes to sports betting. You will likely miss something in your handicapping before the game, or you may find that the odds have changed drastically over the course of the day. These mistakes are normal and will happen from time to time, but they should not be allowed to ruin your bankroll or your outlook on the game.
If you are looking to make sports betting a part of your lifestyle, be prepared to work hard and spend plenty of time studying the game. Remember that a 52.4% win rate is required to break even, and if you are going to bet for a living, you will need to do even better than that. However, it is possible for some people to make a lucrative career out of sports betting if they put in the effort and are patient.