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7 Most Common Mistakes in Betting

Aaron Gray

by Aaron Gray

Updated Feb 24, 2020 · 3:06 PM PST

Life is all about learning from your mistakes, but in the world of online sports betting, mistakes cost money, so we’d rather you didn’t make them at all! Of course, no one is perfect and a 100% success rate is unlikely. However, there are certain things that you can do or avoid doing to ensure a better betting experience.

If you’re new to the betting scene and want to start out on the right foot, or you’re a seasoned bettor who just can’t figure out where you’re going wrong, then read on. Here, we highlight 7 of the most common mistakes made in betting so you don’t fall victim to the same fate.

1. Emotional betting.

Betting with the heart is a trap many bettors fall into. There is a huge tendency to instantly bet on a favorite team without paying any attention to the odds or analyzing any match statistics. This sort of blind betting might work once or twice, but in the long-run it will lead to heartache.

It doesn’t matter how wonderful you believe your favorite team or player to be, you have to remain objective. Betting is all about cold, hard facts, statistics analysis, probability, and a good deal of luck. There is no place for sentimentality in betting decisions.

That’s not to say you can never bet on your favorite team! Just be sure to take into account all the information and make sure your bets are made with the head and not the heart.

2. No bankroll management.

A successful bettor bets responsibly, and to do that you have to show some discipline and actively manage your bankroll. Before you even start betting on online sports, spend a little time to build up your bankroll. A bankroll is spare cash that you set aside for the sole purpose of betting.

Note that this is ‘spare’ cash and not essential money you need for rent or bills. Having a separate account for this keeps you safe and ensures you won’t be tempted to dip into savings or the money you need to live on.

Never ‘go all in’. In fact, you should never bet more than 5% of your total bankroll. Set yourself a limit and stick to it. This ensures you have enough cash to bet again, minimizes losses, and allows you to recover them gradually.

3. Chasing losses.

This is a big no-no in sports betting. Betting is essentially a game of wins and losses—that’s why it’s called ‘gambling’ at the end of the day! Losses are just part and parcel and can’t be completely avoided. The sooner you come to accept this, the better.

Trying to recoup the money you’ve lost by betting bigger or more often on other games is a downward spiral. Desperate bets aren’t well thought-out or planned and are unreliable. Instead, be careful and consistent with your stakes and eventually losses even out.

Many sportsbooks give you the opportunity to set betting and deposit limits when you sign up and can help you avoid this particular pitfall.

4. Betting ‘just for fun’ (or for the hell of it).

Betting on sports shouldn’t be about making a sport ‘more interesting’. If you have to bet to add more fun or get an extra thrill, you may not be making the best betting choices. Generally, these ‘on a whim’ bets aren’t based on value, are on the spur of the moment with no analysis, and will end up costing you money.

Have a reason to bet, and not ‘just because’. The best reason to wager is to make long-term profits. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy betting, but surely it’s much more fun when you win!

5. Betting drunk.

Obvious, right? Yet, you’d be surprised how many bettors login into their sportsbook account while under the influence. Alcohol impairs judgment and makes you less inhibited, which is a recipe for disaster.

Drunk decisions are rarely the right ones, and you’re more likely to bet too generously. Bettors have been known to blow through their entire bankroll in one evening due to betting while drinking. Keep the booze for the celebrations when your smart bet has come up!

6. Betting on sports you don’t know.

This may seem like another obvious point to make, however, it happens all too often, especially with high-profile tournaments or matches.

For example, media attention in the lead up to an important boxing match often entices casual and newbie bettors. They know nothing about the sport, the athletes, the tournament, rules, background, nothing! They just get caught up in the hype and more often than not, lose the bet. It’s a great way for sportsbooks to make money!

A smart bettor is one who knows what they are betting on. You don’t need to be an expert, but it makes sense to have some understanding of the sport and how it works to have any chance of beating the bookies.

7. Not shopping around for the best odds.

While every online sportsbook is different, they all want to make money. So, being loyal to one sportsbook doesn’t make much sense. Line shopping means you can find the best bookies for your bet before you put down any of your hard-earned cash.

There’s really no excuse for being a lazy bettor. You don’t even need to move from your comfy armchair to do the research. A quick internet search and you’ll easily find which bookmakers are offering the best odds for your chosen match, game or tournament.

You would do it if you were going to part with cash for any other product, like a car, so why not shop around for the best deal for your bets? It takes little effort, but even a small difference in the betting market can make a significant difference to your total payout.

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