Top Tips For Successful Sports Betting
Why do we love sports betting? It’s simple, fun, and it gives us an opportunity to make some money!
Beginners shouldn’t rush off to start placing wagers just yet though. You see, as simple as sports betting is, it’s not exactly easy to get everything right when you’re just starting out.
If you approach sports betting in the wrong way, it’s unlikely that you’ll enjoy it at all. You certainly won’t be on the right path towards making a profit.
We’re not saying this to STOP you from betting on sports. Far from it. We just want you to be prepared, and have the best chance of making money.
Our hope is that by reading this article you will be able to form as many good habits from the onset as possible. Below are our 20 top sports betting tips for beginners. That’s right, we said TWENTY. There’s plenty to learn whether you are a complete novice or whether you just need a little refresher.
Please note that you should follow ALL of these betting tips regardless of what your ultimate goals are. They’ll help to ensure that you have lots of fun, and they’ll give you a good foundation to work from if your aim is to win money consistently.
Here’s a quick overview of all our sports betting tips before we dive into the detail.
- Trust Us
- Set Achievable Objectives
- Learn All the Basics
- Set a Budget & Use a Staking Plan
- Be Selective
- Place Your Wagers Online
- Understand the Concept of Value
- Learn Some Simple Betting Strategies
- Always Compare Odds & Lines
- Keep Records of Your Betting
- Learn the Lingo
- Ignore Personal Bias
- Don’t Get Overconfident When Winning
- Don’t Get Disheartened When Losing
- Spend Time on Research
- Trust Your Judgement
- Avoid Betting When Impaired
- Join a Betting Forum
- Take Regular Breaks
Our first betting tip is extremely simple. Be confident that the advice we have to offer is truly valuable. Don’t pick and choose which pieces of advice to follow and which to ignore. There’s a good reason for everything we advise you to do, and we promise that following it WILL benefit you: in both the short term and the long term.
Please note that this doesn’t just apply to the advice on this page, but to all the advice that we offer throughout our entire guide to betting on sports. We’ve worked very hard to make sure that our guide is as comprehensive as it possibly can be, and that it’s genuinely useful. We’re experienced bettors ourselves, and successful ones, so we really do know what we’re talking about.
There are no fees for the tips and previews we provide, nor is there any “premium content” that costs money to access. All of our content is premium in our opinion, and it’s all provided free of charge. Why do we give away all this free information and advice? We simply want to help our readers become responsible and competent sports bettors.
There’s no ulterior motive here. We take great pride in our work, and from the moment we started on our sports betting guide we had one single goal in mind. We wanted to produce the best sports betting resource on the internet. Have we achieved that goal? That’s not for us to say. All we know for sure is that we’ve tried our hardest, and that we continue to update and improve our guide in any way we can.
So please place some trust in us. We’re extremely confident that following our advice will lead to a much better sports betting experience. We’re not promising that we’ll help you to win millions of dollars. We’re not even promising that we’ll turn you into a winner at all. But we do promise that our advice will help to make sports betting more enjoyable, with a BETTER chance of winning money.
Set Achievable Objectives
It’s not too difficult to win a few wagers when betting on sports. Anyone who’s even vaguely knowledgeable about a sport is likely to make accurate predictions at least some of the time. However, there’s a big difference between winning a few wagers and winning often enough to actually make a profit. That latter IS difficult. Very difficult.
The reality of sports betting is that the majority of people lose money at it. There are several reasons for this, but they’re not important right now. What IS important is that you understand that you’re more likely to lose than win as a beginner.
Some people start betting on sports with the belief that they can rely on their sports knowledge to beat the bookmakers. This is a mistake! It’s definitely possible to make a profit from sports betting, but it takes more than a little sports knowledge. Even a truly extensive knowledge is not enough by itself. There’s a lot that’s required to be a successful sports bettor, so please don’t think that you’re going be winning from the moment you start.
There’s nothing wrong with setting the long term of goal of making money. It’s important to be realistic though, and set achievable objectives. Your early objectives should be based on learning more and trying to improve gradually. Once you’ve gained some experience, you can start to set more complex goals.
Of course, the goal may simply be to enjoy yourself. That’s certainly an achievable objective in the short term. In fact, focusing on having fun is arguably the best approach as a beginner. It’s still possible to start taking things more seriously at a later stage.
If you’re not entirely sure what your objectives are, or should be, please consider reading the article listed below.
Learn All the Basics
We stated at the very start of this article that sports betting is very simple, but that doesn’t mean you should just get started right away. Learning the basics before you start placing wagers will put you in a much better position to enjoy the experience of betting on sports. The basics alone may not be able to help you make an overall profit, but they will get you started on the right track.
Luckily for you, we’ve summarized the most important sports betting basics in a single article. This article will be particularly useful for beginners, and covers all of the following.
- Fixed odds betting explained
- Components of a sports wager
- Different types of sports wager
- Alternative forms of sports betting
- How to bet with a bookmaker
- Why bookmakers make money
One of our team wrote an excellent blog post on how sports betting works, and that’s also a really good read for beginners.
Set a Budget & Use a Staking Plan
Every single tip on this page is important, but none of them are more important than this one. Regardless of how much money you have, or what your short term or long term goals are, you simply MUST set a budget. Remember, losing money is a far more likely outcome than winning money. You need to decide how much money you are prepared to put at risk, and make sure that you don’t start risking more if you lose it all.
You can set a daily budget, a weekly budget, a monthly budget or an annual budget. We have even heard of people setting aside of sum of money with no timescales attached at all. How you set up your budget is entirely up to you. Just make sure that your budget is set at an affordable amount and that it’s something you are determined to stick to.
No-one has an infinite amount of money, so everyone has to manage their finances to some extent. There are certain living costs that should always be the priority. Gambling with disposable income is fine, but gambling with money that is needed for other things is not. That’s when gambling can start to get out of control, and the consequences can be dire.
This is easily avoided by simply sticking to a budget. Sports betting is far more likely to be an enjoyable experience when it’s affordable, and there’s no need to worry about whether a wager wins or loses.
Ideally, you should also use a staking plan. A staking plan is basically just a set of rules that determine how much should be staked on each wager relative to the size of your budget. We recommend staking around 1-2%, and definitely no more than 5%. This will allow you to withstand a few losses without blowing your whole budget too quickly.
Using a staking plan has other benefits too.
- Less likely to chase losses during a bad run.
- Less likely to lose any money made from a good run.
- More likely to make rational betting decisions.
We explain these benefits in more detail in our article on bankroll management and using staking plans. We also offer lots of useful advice on how to manage your budget effectively when betting on sports.
One aspect of sports betting that is rather appealing is the amount of options it presents. These days we can bet on virtually any sport, and virtually any game, event, league or competition. We also have a wide variety of different types of wager to choose from. All in all, there are plenty of opportunities for getting our money down.
However, it’s important to be selective. Placing too many wagers can be just as damaging as staking too much money, as this is also likely to lead to losing money more quickly. It’s hard to consistently make sensible selections when placing lots of wagers, so it’s much better to concentrate on trying to find genuinely good opportunities.
We recommend thinking very carefully about how many different sports to bet on, and how many different leagues or competitions to bet on. It’s not necessary to focus on just a single sport, but it’s not a good idea to bet on too many either. Try to focus on the ones you know most the about, and definitely avoid those that you don’t really understand or follow.
The number of leagues or competitions is only relevant for certain sports. When it comes to tennis, for example, betting on every single tournament would be realistic. The same players generally participate in each one, so it wouldn’t be overly difficult to keep track of. Soccer is a completely different story. There are too many tournaments and leagues to be able to keep up with every single one of them. It’s possible to know enough about the players and teams in just two or three leagues though.
It doesn’t hurt to also consider how many games or events you’re going to bet on. Let’s look at football, for example. During the regular NFL season schedule, there are usually 15 or 16 games each week. Even if football was the only sport you bet on, and the NFL the only league, it still wouldn’t be advisable to try to bet on every game each week. It would make much more sense to pick a few games that presented the best opportunities, and concentrate entirely on them. This would almost certainly lead to better betting decisions, and therefore better results.
A similar principle applies to deciding how many wagers to place on a single game or event. There are dozens of betting options for each NFL game, but this doesn’t mean you have to place dozens of wagers. Again, it’s better to try to identify the best opportunities. If the total line is hard to call, ignore it and focus on the point spread. If that’s hard to call too, take a look at the moneyline or any of the other available betting markets.
Whenever there’s a good reason for placing a wager, you should go ahead and place it. But you should never place wagers just for the sake of it.
Place Your Wagers Online
Betting online is without a doubt the easiest and most convenient way to place sports wagers. It also offers several distinct advantages over other methods. You can read all about these in the following article.
The hardest part of betting online is deciding which sites to join, because there are so many to choose from. Although the majority of sites are reputable and safe to use, there are a few that are not. You obviously only want to use the very best sites, but how do you know which sites are the best?
This is something we can help with. We make recommendations of the best sites to use, based on our own extensive research and testing. Each one of our recommendations has proved to be completely trustworthy, and they all provide an excellent all-round service. Signing up at any one of them will help you have a great overall experience.
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We have actually ranked the top sports betting sites in a number of different categories. This makes it easy for you to find a site that is right for any personal preferences or requirements you may have. You can find all our rankings here.
Here’s a couple of extra tips related to betting online.
- Sign up with multiple sites
- Take full advantage of bonuses and rewards
Signing up with multiple sites is a good idea for several reasons. One of the biggest is that it makes it easier to compare odds and lines when placing wagers, which is something we discuss later in this article. Using multiple sites also means more bonuses and rewards to take advantage of, and these can prove to be very valuable.
What are bonuses and rewards? Well, they come in various forms but they’re basically money that sites give away to their customers. Virtually all sites offer bonuses or free bets to new customers, to encourage them to sign up. And most sites have some kind of loyalty program in place, to reward their existing customers and keep them happy.
It’s well worth spending some time learning how to get the most out of these bonuses and rewards, as they can have a big impact on how much you win or lose overall. We explain more in the following articles.
Understand the Concept of Value
Value is a term that gets used a lot in relation to sports betting, but it’s something that a lot of bettors don’t really understand. The concept is reasonably straightforward, as value basically just measures the relationship between the odds of a selection and the probability of the associated outcome happening.
When the odds are higher than they technically “should” be based on the relevant probability, a selection is said to have positive expected value.
If your goal is to make money though sports betting, then it’s absolutely vital to properly understand the concept of value. It really is that important. In theory, you should only EVER place wagers after identifying positive expected value. This is ultimately the only way to make a profit in the long run.
We strongly recommend trying to understand value even if your goal is just to have some fun. Although it’s not quite so important to identify positive value when betting recreationally, we still believe you should give at least some consideration to value before making selections. Not only will this lead to better results, but you’ll also have a more enjoyable experience.
Learn Some Simple Betting Strategies
Most beginners don’t give any thought at all to the strategy involved in sports betting. This is perfectly reasonable, as there are lots of other things to focus on as a beginner. However, we believe it’s a mistake to ignore strategy completely. Most of the basics are relatively straightforward and easy to learn, and these basics can REALLY help a beginner make good decisions. Obviously, there’s no need to learn about ALL the strategy involved, but a little knowledge can go a long way.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled a collection of simple betting strategies that work. They are all ideal for beginners to learn and we explain each one in a very easy to understand way. We also demonstrate exactly how they work and how they can be used. Here are some examples of the strategies we cover.
- Arbitrage betting
- Backing heavy favorites
- Betting off market prices
- Betting based on winning streaks
We want to make it very clear that none of these systems will lead to guaranteed success. Still, we believe they have merit and are worth learning about. If you’re able to use just one or two of them effectively, you’ll stand a much better chance of making winning selections.
Always Compare Odds & Lines
This is one of the easiest tips to follow. Comparing odds and lines is very simple, and takes just a few moments whenever you’re placing a wager. Since bookmakers and betting sites don’t all offer exactly the same odds and lines, by shopping around a little for each wager, you can make sure that you get the best possible deal for every wager you place. The differences in the odds and lines are usually quite small, but they add up over time.
To demonstrate this, here’s a list of the odds available from three random betting sites on a boxing match.
- betting site ADaniel Jacobs 1.73Chris Eubank Jr 2.10
- betting site BDaniel Jacobs 1.75Chris Eubank Jr 2.05
- betting site CDaniel Jacobs 1.80Chris Eubank Jr 2.00
Let’s say we wanted to back Daniel Jacobs here, for $50. If we took the odds available at the first site, we’d stand to win $36.50. If we took the odds available at the second site, we’d stand to win $37.50. If we took the odds available at the third site, we’d stand to win $40. That’s a difference of $3.50 between the worst odds and the best. Not a huge amount by any means, but still nearly 10%. An extra 10% every time we bet will certainly add up!
You can read more about comparing odds and lines, and the benefits it offers, in the following article.
Keep Records of Your Betting
Very few beginners bother to keep records of their sports betting. This is a mistake, for two reasons. First, without any records it’s hard to keep track of how much is being spent. And, as we explained earlier, it’s very important to monitor spending and stick to a budget. Second, keeping records enables you to study those records periodically and look for ways to improve. This is vital when the long-term aim is to make a profit.
We recommend recording the following information for each wager as an absolute minimum.
- Odds of selection
- Size of stake
- Result of wager
- Payout received (if wager won)
This information will help you keep track of overall spend (or profit), and it doesn’t exactly take long to record. So, there’s no excuse for not doing it.
Ideally you should go even further, and keep more detailed records that will allow you to analyze your own performance. We offer some advice for this in our article on record keeping and performance analysis.
Ten More Simple Sports Betting Tips
The ten tips we’ve covered so far are all very important. You really need to follow each and every one of them if you want the best possible experience when betting on sports. The remaining tips we have to offer, listed below, are all a little more straightforward. And maybe a little less important. We still urge you to follow them though.
- Learn the lingo
- Ignore personal bias
- Don’t get overconfident when winning
- Don’t get disheartened when losing
- Spend time on research
- Trust your own judgement
- Avoid betting when impaired
- Join a betting forum
- Take regular breaks
Learn the lingo
There are lots of terms and phrases used in sports betting that you may not be familiar with as a beginner. You’ll pick most of these up as you go along, but it doesn’t hurt to try to learn them before you even get started. We can help with this, as we’ve compiled a comprehensive glossary of sports betting terms.
Ignore personal bias
Most people place wagers on the sports that they enjoy watching the most, and it’s natural that they have their favorite teams and players. They obviously like to see those teams and players do well, and this can easily influence their selections if they’re not careful. It’s very common for people to bet on what they WANT to happen, without really considering whether that’s the right thing to do or not.
Now, backing your favorite team and players is not a major problem when betting for fun. But if you’re trying to make money, it’s important to avoid allowing bias to cloud your judgement. The best way to do this is simply to avoid any games and events where you have a personal interest in the result.
Don’t get overconfident when winning
Although it’s hard to pick winners consistently when betting on sports, even beginners can go on a nice winning run from time to time. It’s important not to get carried away when this happens. It’s easy to become overconfident, and start thinking that you’re a betting genius. Chances are, luck just happens to be on your side right now. So please, try to keep your feet on the ground.
Don’t get disheartened when losing
It’s equally important not to read too much into any losses. Losing as a beginner doesn’t mean that you’ll NEVER make any money. Not even the best sports bettors in the world win every single wager that they place, and in fact they can easily go on lengthy losing streaks where nothing works out as expected. If it can happen to them, it can happen to anyone. Don’t be discouraged if it happens to you.
Spend time on research
There’s no need to spend seemingly endless hours on research, especially if only betting for fun. It’s worth investing at least some time though, even if it’s just reading a few relevant news articles, studying basic statistics or keeping up to date with current form. Simply watching sports on television can be considered research too, and that’s hardly a chore!
Trust your judgement
There are lots of “experts” in the media who love to give their opinions about how good certain teams or players are, and make predictions about how events are likely to go. There’s nothing wrong with taking on board the opinions of others, but try not to be too easily swayed by them. It’s important to put faith in your own judgement above all else.
There’s no right or wrong way to bet on sports. There are all kinds of different approaches that can be effective, and the best way to determine what works well for you is to experiment. By trying different systems and strategies, there’s a good chance you’ll eventually find an approach that yields positive results. You should also experiment with the various different types of wager, and with different forms of sports betting too.
Join a betting forum
We’ve mentioned how comprehensive our sports betting guide is, and how much useful information and advice it contains. You can definitely learn a lot by studying it, but it shouldn’t be the only resource you use. There are lots of other ways to expand your knowledge too, like joining a betting forum. Just reading discussions between other bettors can be very enlightening, and actually engaging in those discussions is even more useful.
Take regular breaks
Our final tip here is very simple, and one that we urge you to follow. Sports betting should always be fun to some extent, even if your ultimate goal is to make money. Avoid sports betting becoming more of a chore than a choice by taking regular breaks. This will help to keep it enjoyable, and coming back with fresh perspective can help with making good decisions too.
That concludes our top 20 tips, but now we’d like to leave you with one last point. If after following all of our tips, you find that you just don’t enjoy betting on sports, don’t carry on for the sake of it. Sports betting isn’t right for everyone, and there’s no shame doing something else with your money instead.
There’s also one more route to successful betting we have to offer you. Our resident betting experts provide regular predictions, picks, and tips on sports events. While we can’t guarantee that you’ll win every bet by following these tips, our experts are profitable bettors who know what they’re talking about.
Here’s a selection of their latest work, or you can go through everything in our betting picks section.
Whether you decide to follow our picks or not, we still recommend that you learn you to how to bet on sports profitably for yourself. Following all the sports betting tips on this page can help.