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Types of Sports Bettors – Which One Are You?

We all want to be unique but with almost 8 billion people on this planet, that’s hard to achieve. The truth is, we can be put in some kind of category in most of the things we do. Sports betting is not an exception.

There are several types of sports bettors and most people who gamble on sports are one type or another. Some are a combination of two or three of them.

It’s good to understand what kind of sports bettor you are and this page can help. We go through the main types of gamblers, exploring their most distinctive traits.

Recreational Bettors

We begin with the largest group of sports gamblers there is. Recreational bettors are essentially casual gamblers that typically lack the skills or knowledge to make money in the long run.

Here are some of the reasons why someone might fall into this category.

  • Lack of Knowledge – Many people simply don’t know any sports and leagues well enough to win money from betting on them.
  • Lack of Discipline – If you can’t be selective with your wagers and apply proper bankroll management, you are most likely going to lose in the long run.
  • Lack of Effort – Betting successfully requires a lot of time and energy. Many bettors don’t put in enough of these to make it work.
  • Different Goals – Some people are in it simply for fun. There’s nothing wrong with that at all but it’s unlikely to lead to making money.

Whichever of the above reasons applies doesn’t really matter because the result is the same – a player who’s mostly losing in the long run.

There’s nothing wrong with recreational sports betting per se, as long as you have enough self-awareness. If you know that you are mostly gambling for fun and you stay within a reasonable budget, that’s perfectly fine.

The problem is that certain recreational bettors tend to overestimate themselves. The harsh reality is that making money from sports gambling is hard. You have to put in real effort and it takes time to become a winner. If you’re not prepared to invest enough energy, you shouldn’t fool yourself.

Accept the fact that you’re betting mostly to make sports more interesting and enjoy the experience without losing too much cash.


Next in line is another group of sports bettors that are generally on the losing side of the equation. Their main issue is that they can’t leave their bias out of their betting decisions.

If you let your fandom take over, you are likely to lose from sports betting.

They tend to place wagers backing their favorite team or they go against a team or player they genuinely dislike. That’s a recipe for a disaster because the only way to be successful is to make rational decisions.

Being a fan first when betting is dangerous and you should definitely try to ignore your emotions.

Blind Followers

We continue with a specific group of gamblers that have the tendency to over-rely on the opinion of others. More often than not, these people buy the main media narrative of popular casters from ESPN and other TV channels.

Blindly following popular pundits usually leads losing money in the long run.

It’s also common for these gamblers to use a picks service or follow a friend who’s supposed to be an expert.

In theory, following the advice of people that are more knowledgeable than you is a smart way to approach various areas of life, including sports gambling. The problem is when you do that blindly.

First of all, you risk losing a lot if you don’t follow the right people. Another reason to avoid this approach is the lack of progress in your own level of understanding of the sport or league you’re targeting.

It’s much better to combine the opinions of others with your own research for the best results.

One of the few exceptions would be to find an excellent picks service that delivers consistent results, but there aren’t many of them out there. If you want to know why, the following page provides more information on the topic.

Stat-Obsessed Bettors

Statistical analysis is an important part of successful sports betting and it’s close to impossible to make money without applying some form of it.

However, some people tend to go too far and are obsessed with the hard data. They are constantly trying to find predictive models based on raw numbers, without putting them into context or including other factors like team news and psychology.

Some people are obsessed with data and ignore other important aspects of sports betting.

Unless you are a genius mathematician, that’s likely a losing approach. The bookmakers have more data than you and better tools to process it. On top of that, they work with a margin that gives them an extra edge.

You should certainly study the numbers before betting, but make sure to expand your preparation process if you want to be successful in the long term.

We have a guide to using statistical analysis for sports betting purposes which is well worth a read.

Parlay Bettors

This group of sports bettors is easy to distinguish. Certain people simply love parlays or accumulators and almost all of their wagers are on some form of multiples.

There’s nothing wrong with that and it can be profitable. However, you should know that even one or two bad selections could ruin your good ones when you combine them.

Furthermore, it’s important to be selective with your parlays. Some people target realistic accumulators and win reasonably often.

Others go a step too far and always look for one big hit that could bring them a huge return. They place small wagers and add a bunch of selections until they reach insane odds. The chances of these parlays winning is very small.

If you are going to chase the jackpot, you should be prepared that you will likely just keep losing and therefore adjust your bankroll management accordingly.

On the positive side, many bookmakers have additional bonuses for parlays and a less extreme approach might be profitable. If that sounds appealing, we recommend checking our page on parlays for more information on how they work.

Bonus Hunters

We’re entering the territory of types of bettor personalities that are smart and have a solid chance of making money. As the name suggests, bonus hunters make sure to always have an active promotion that can increase their returns from sports gambling.

Here are some examples of such offers.

  • Welcome Bonuses – Every online sportsbook has a welcome bonus and nothing stops you from joining multiple sportsbooks to take full advantage.
  • Reload Bonuses – The terms of reloads are usually worse compared to first deposit bonuses, but you can still get extra cash.
  • Loyalty Programs – Some bookies have a constant stream of rewards for regular bettors.
  • Moneybacks – There are various promotions where you get your wager back if it loses, especially for popular events.
  • Free Bets – There are often free bets available for things like trying mobile betting or live gambling for the first time.

Bonus hunting can be a smart approach and something you should be doing, at least to an extent. Just make sure you stick to rewarding sports betting sites and find promotions that suit your strategy.

You should always maximize the potential return from first deposit bonuses to boost your bankroll and many bookies have other interesting deals.

The problem is that this strategy might run out of bonuses and promotions eventually. Still, you should always try to find as much extra value as possible.

Our selection of top betting sites for promotions can help.


This is a type of smart bettors who usually know what they are doing. These people are not that interested in predicting the outcome of the sporting events as such as they have other mechanisms to make money.

They follow and manipulate the odds or lines in ways that accumulate profit. Here are a couple of examples of strategies used by traders.

  • Arbitrage Betting – Some traders are looking for arbitrage betting opportunities that guarantee a profit no matter what.
  • Hedging – Another excellent technique that relies on odds movements and can be used to both profit or reduce your losses.

Using betting exchanges can be very helpful when using trading strategies, including the above.

The problem with becoming a trader is that it is very hard. It requires a lot of experience and expertise, phenomenal discipline, good math skills, and ideally solid investment in appropriate software tools.

You can’t become a trader overnight and most bettors don’t have the required skills to succeed in the long run either.

Experienced Pros/Handicappers

A very small group of bettors belongs in the group of experienced pros and handicappers. We’re talking about people who have dedicated a ton of time and energy to become successful in sports gambling.

It usually takes them years to get to this point and it takes a lot of effort to stay ahead of the curve, too.

Here are some of the main attributes you need to be a pro sports bettor.

  • Knowledge and Experience – You need to know the sports and leagues you’re targeting extremely well in order to recognize profitable wagers consistently.
  • Discipline – Even the best in the industry suffers from losing streaks every now and then, such is the nature of sports betting. You need the required discipline to handle the pressure and protect your bankroll.
  • Large Bankroll – If you want to make a living from sports betting, you need a good bankroll.
  • Evaluation Skills – Value betting is the only way to make money and you have to be skilled at evaluating the outcomes of sporting events. The process combines statistical analysis, following team news, and many other factors.

You should carefully consider if this is something you want to pursue. Most people don’t have the skillset to become pro bettors. You might be better off investing in other areas, leaving some of your spare time for gambling. You could still build a small side income this way, or at least have some fun.

If you do decide to try sports betting professionally, our guide to making a living from sports betting features some good advice.

Gambling Degens

We’ve entered dangerous territory here. Unfortunately, any of the previous types of sports bettors we mentioned here could turn into a gambling degenerate really quick.

The lack of discipline is the most common cause and the consequences can be disastrous. When people lose control over their gambling habits, that can lead to all sorts of problems that could very well spread outside of their betting activities.

Gambling addiction is just like any other addiction and can ruin your life if you lose control.

Gambling degens often lose way more than they can afford to lose and end up taking loans, selling items, and finding other ways to get money for betting.

The hole just gets deeper until the problem is addressed properly. In case you have even the slightest doubt that you might be addicted to sports betting or any other form of gambling, you should act immediately.

Our page on problem gambling is a good place to start. It delivers useful information on the topic, so please check it out.

Which Type of Bettor Are You?

Sports betting can be fun, and it can even become a source of income.

In order to get the best of it, you should carefully think about the type of bettor you are right now, and the one you would like to become. You don’t necessarily fall into a specific category 100% and it’s not mandatory to have a plan, but it certainly helps.

No matter what, you should always aim at two things. Don’t lose money you can’t afford to lose and make sure that sports betting doesn’t have a negative impact on your overall quality of life.

It’s vital to be honest with yourself. If you don’t have the required discipline and you might be prone to becoming addicted, you should stop altogether.

If you feel confident that you can avoid that, you should determine your goals next. Do you want to have fun without losing much or is making money the ultimate target?

Our page on betting for fun vs. betting for profit can be very helpful if you’re not sure.

Once you know what you want, it’s time to actively pursue your goals. That’s how you get the best of sports betting in the long run.

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