Sports betting is one of the few forms of gambling where a smart gambler can have an edge over the house. By making smart bets and practicing safe bankroll management, you can make big profits by betting on sports with very little long term risk.
But just because you can win at sports betting doesn’t mean that you will. There are many common ways for normally smart gamblers to lose their bankroll, even if they’re good at sports betting. Here are five of the most “popular” ways of watching your bankroll disappear before your very eyes.
1. Bet on your favorite sports teams.
This one probably kills more hopeful sports bettors than everything else on this list combined! No matter how objective you try to be, you’re always going to have some feelings for your favorite teams, and these feelings will cloud your judgment when it comes times to make smart bets. This doesn’t just happen when you’re betting with your team either; even betting against your team can be an emotional decision – you might think that you’ll be happy if your team wins, or make a profit even if they lose. Don’t let that happen. Instead, separate the sports you watch for pleasure from the sports you bet on for profit.
2. Play with your bankroll in the casino.
If you’re serious about betting on sports, your sports bankroll shouldn’t be touched for other purposes, including other gambling ventures. There are countless stories about winning poker players and sports bettors who blew all of their winnings (and more) playing craps or roulette. If you enjoy a trip to the casino, that’s fine, but do it on your own dime – leave that sports betting bankroll alone!
3. Put all or most of your bankroll on one bet.
This is related to the last point: bankroll management is a critical skill for anyone who wants to be a long-term winner when they bet on sports. It’s easy to feel like you know about a sure thing, and wager way too much on one game. But there are no sure things in sports or gambling, and you can never count on any one individual bet being a winner. Guidelines vary, but one smart rule of thumb is to never bet more than 5% of your bankroll on any one bet, and make most bets smaller than that.
4. Get caught up in the hype.
We all do this one from time to time, but minimizing how often it happens is crucial if you want to be a successful sports bettor. It might be an underdog team that has captivated the public’s imagination, or a player or golfer with an inspirational story that makes you want them to win. Sometimes these stories are attached to teams that really are smart bets, but more often than not, the public ends up betting these stories so heavily that you should stay away from them, or even bet the other way. Separating reality from hype will protect you from making foolish bets that you’ll regret later.
5. Bet on sports you know nothing about.
Without doing any research, that is. There are tons of profitable spots for sports that are less popular, but you need to do just as much research to take advantage of these as you do when you’re betting on your main sports. If you have a friend overseas that tells you about a “guaranteed” win in a cricket match, but you’ve never watched a game in your life and don’t even know where to begin to research it, you should stay away. Stick to what you know, and only branch out to betting on other sports when you’re ready to put time and work into it.