15 Biggest Sports Betting Mistakes

Do you consider yourself a sports fanatic? Are you constantly either watching sports or checking your phone to get the latest updates on the sports world? Have you ever heard a sports analyst predict a game and thought to yourself, “I could do that guy’s job”? If this sounds at all like you then you would enjoy sports betting. It’s a chance to put your skills to the test and possibly earn some extra cash while doing so.

Sports gambling is becoming increasingly legalized across the country and as popularity soars, more and more people are looking to get in on the fun. In theory, it seems easy — just make some easy predictions and win some money. Unfortunately, it’s a common misconception that sports gamblers have it easy; instead, they go up against sportsbooks that are designed to take their money. Still, if you stick to a strategy and tough it out, you can end up making money in the end.

To help you make some money, here are 15 of the most common mistakes that beginner sports bettors make so that you know to avoid them.

15 common betting mistakes to avoid

Avoiding these common sports betting mistakes will help you make the most of your gambling experience, not to mention add to your overall long term profits.

1. Bet with their heart instead of their head

While many gamblers will have a favorite team or a few favorite players when it comes time to put your hard-earned money on the line, you cannot be playing favorites. All bias must be put aside in the name of making a profit and you can’t let your emotions get the best of you.

Many gamblers will overrate the strength of their favorite teams or perhaps not want to bet on a rival team. This is one of the  biggest sports betting mistakes and it forces gamblers to bleed losses so it’s extremely important to take note of your own biases.

2. Trust “Pro” Handicappers

Often beginner gamblers will struggle a little bit and then turn to “professional” handicappers, drawn in by images of a luxurious lifestyle or promises of profit. This is a common scam that affects millions of people. Making a profit is difficult enough as it is, it’s even harder when another portion of your money needs to be paid to a handicapper.

If a person is repeatedly making money while gambling, there is no incentive for them to be a handicapper. Keep that in mind before trusting others with your money, as you can end up in a large hole quickly.

3. Bet too many parlays

Parlays can be a lot of fun as they offer a chance at huge potential returns. The issue is that these huge returns exist for a reason, and it’s not so that you can make more money with less work. Parlays are extremely difficult to win, especially once you start adding a lot of legs, but still, beginner gamblers will continue to try their luck even after many losses.

By staying away from parlay bets you give yourself a better chance at making a consistent profit instead of relying on a long-shot. Think of parlays like a lottery ticket instead of a viable gambling option and you will be much more profitable.

4. Don’t take advantage of promotions

With the mass legalization of sports gambling across the country, different sportsbooks are all vying for this new customer base. To attract gamblers to use their services, all oddsmakers have a variety of promotions available for new and returning players. These often include risk free bets, boosted odds, or deposit matches.

Taking advantage of these offers is free money, yet too many gamblers don’t do it. They think that it takes too much effort, but if it means the difference between losing and winning, why wouldn’t you?

5. Place bets while intoxicated

Too many beginner gamblers attempt to make bets while intoxicated and it ends up costing them dollars. Everyone knows that consuming drugs or alcohol has a large effect on judgment and decision-making and that extends to gambling. It’s not a good idea to make bets while intoxicated.

Putting some type of rule in place where you don’t gamble while intoxicated is a good idea to remain profitable.

6. Bet too much on live games

Live betting is a great tool and when used correctly can be useful for finding advantages over the sportsbook. However, many beginner gamblers bet too often on live games and end up exhausting their bankroll. Live gambling requires quick thinking and fast decisions. It should not be where you risk large portions of your bankroll unless you have a proven strategy.

You want to make sure that you’re not betting too much on contests where you’re forced to make quick decisions and instead are betting on contests that you have a good understanding of.

7. Bet more than 25% of their bankroll on one wager

This is the most common mistake made by beginner gamblers and it’s sure to end your gambling experience quicker. Betting more than a quarter of your bankroll on one wager is a terrible idea as it opens you up to way more risk than is recommended. If you lose that wager that you’ve risked such a large percentage of your bankroll on, it’s going to be hard to make it back.

Instead, you should practice good bankroll management habits and develop a unit system that will help you stay on track.

8. Chase losses

Chasing losses is one of the best ways to lose money fast. Chasing losses is continuing to raise your bet size after a loss in an attempt to get that money back. More often than not, this just results in gamblers digging themselves into deeper holes than they were in before.

Instead of chasing your losses you should regroup and continue gambling with the same unit sizing system you were using previously. By keeping a clear head you can better approach your next bet and make your money back.

9. Play too many favorites

Many beginner gamblers simply think that by picking favorites they will end up making a profit if those teams win the majority of the time. The issue with this is the odds that each team is given. Instead of making your gambling selection based on which outcome you think has the stronger chance of occurring, make it based on which selection has the better chance of occurring relative to the odds given.

Thus, if you believe that a selection only has a 20% chance of occurring but the betting odds are +1000, that would make a strong bet. It’s important to mix in selections of all odds and not just play heavy favorites.

10. Bet too many sports

The advancement of the legalization of sports betting has led to oddsmakers being able to offer all different types of sports. These can include everything from third division Russian soccer to a handball game being played in Korea. Beginner gamblers can often be overwhelmed by all these options and begin to bet on sports that they don’t have much knowledge of.

It’s important to only bet on sports that you have a background in or have identified an advantage in. These can be more obscure sports, but you shouldn’t be betting on every sport offered by your sportsbook. Identify which sports you have an edge in and stick to those.

11. Read into trends and stats too much

How often have you seen a stat like Tom Brady is 4-0 when playing on Thursday nights in a white jersey on the East coast? Plenty of beginner gamblers will use these trends as evidence behind their bets and then will end up disappointed when they lose. Many of these statistics are too specific to apply to the game or involve other factors.

Even if you do identify a trend or statistic that gives some insight for the upcoming game, you can be sure that it’s already been priced into the odds. Thus, it’s important to find a healthy balance between having some stats as evidence and blindly trusting them.

12. Put too much trust into radio and TV hosts

Sports talk radio and television are very entertaining, but it’s important to remember that’s exactly what it is: entertainment. Often these people that you listening to are given predetermined scripts to read off, so you shouldn’t take this as the deep-hitting analysis on to base your betting decisions on.

13. Put all their eggs in one basket

Too many gamblers rely on one bet instead of breaking their bets up into multiple goals to ensure that they can make some money. Say you bet the Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA Championship and though they make it to the finals, once there they lose. Your bet loses and you’re left with nothing.

Instead, by breaking your bet up, you can give yourself a better chance at making a profit. Instead of placing just the one bet on the Lakers to win the championship, perhaps betting them to win their division, win their conference, and beat their season win totals would make more sense. That way, if they do win the title, you can still have your bets win, but if they fall short in the finals, you will still win money.

14. Try to do it for a living

So many beginner gamblers have big dreams of turning sports betting into a way to make a living. They may win a few big bets early and have a false sense of the difficulty of sports gambling. Anyone can have a lucky day, week, or month, but to be consistently profitable over the long term is very difficult. If you want to become a professional gambler, remember that even the best gamblers in the world win under 60% of their bets.

Sports gambling is not an easy way to make a living and even when things are going well there is a sense of uncertainty that things could turn at any moment. Keep sports gambling as a fun hobby on the side and don’t quit your day job.

15. Get swept up in the moment

Sports are exciting. They inspire deep emotions in fans and gamblers alike and while that can be fun, it’s detrimental to good gambling habits. One of the keys to being a good gambler is to keep a good head on your shoulders. This means not getting swept up in the excitement of a game, sticking to your plan, and making smart choices.

This is easier said than done, as humans tend to overestimate how good they will be at controlling their emotions. Perhaps set limits on how much you’re willing to gamble during big games where you know that you will be more easily influenced by the happenings of the game.

Final Thoughts

For people new to sports gambling who are excited to make some money, before beginning, they should be warned about the most common mistakes made by rookie bettors. We listed 15 of the most popular and we hope that you gained some knowledge that will help make you a more profitable gambler. Even if you only took away a few actionable tips, increasing profit is always the goal and a great thing.

Some of the most important concepts to remember when it comes to gambling are to keep your emotions steady and stick to your strategy. Most of the mistakes that rookie gamblers make involve breaking away from their strategy or losing control of their emotions, often both at once.

The best way to make a profit while sports gambling is to find selections where you have identified an edge on the odds of that selection — in other words, a selection that you believe has more of a chance of occurring than the odds suggest. From there, follow a bet sizing system that you have developed and then place your bet. After the bet has been graded, keep track of it along with all your other bets to ensure that you have records of how well you are doing. This will help you refine your approach, as well as see where you are succeeding and where you are struggling.