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5 Common Sports Betting Mistakes To Avoid

July 10, 2017 7 min to read

Here’s the deal:

Chances are if you’re a novice, you’ve already made some of the mistakes we’ll be mentioning below when betting on sports.

If you’re an established pro punter, you’ll probably be nodding along to some of the points, and perhaps sheepishly scratch your head as you realise you’re guilty of still falling for some of these blunders. We’re human, we all make a misstep now and then.

Bright side?

You are doing something about it.

Determination and grit are key to becoming a pro punter that makes smart and reliable wagers. Predicting sports results is not an easy task, and deciding which odds to go for is not a decision you should make with the flip of a coin.

You need to put in work, and there will most likely be sweat and tears involved, but with patience, a tinge of luck, and these 5 steps in mind, betting can be fun, empowering, and reap lots of rewards.

Common Sports Betting Mistakes

#1 Letting Your Passion Pull The Strings Of Your Bankroll

If you’re well on your way to becoming a professional pun punter, you probably have a solid staking plan. If not, the terms bankroll management and staking plan may seem frightening.

It is quite simple:

Your bankroll is the money you set aside for the purposes of betting. Your bankroll should always be separate from your savings – losing your bankroll should not have detrimental (or any, for that matter) effects on the way you live your daily life. To put it simply: Make sure it is not your monthly wage.

Every pro punter must have a staking plan – a set of ground rules that define how you will use your bankroll. Having limitations on how much money you can stake from your bankroll on any given wager will keep you from chasing losses.

If you know self-control is not always your strong suit, consider finding someone who can act as your consultant whenever you are in doubt. This will mitigate any bias that may compel you to place wagers on bets that are unreliable or unprofitable.

When it comes to sports betting, emotions can run high. Chasing losses is a sign of injured, reckless pride, not determination. A pro punter who has grit knows when to move on and look for the next opportunity. Select your battles wisely.

At Alpha Sports Betting, we advocate the Kelly Criterion, which suggests a flat-betting system in which one places a stake between 2-5% of their total bankroll on a game.

Equally reckless to chasing losses is overconfidence. Experiencing a hot streak is an emotionally exhilarating experience. But don’t let the rush cloud your head. Increasing the amount you stake above the Kelly Criterion can lead to a slippery slope that often ends badly (hint: bankruptcy).

If the Kelly Criterion is something you’re not intimately familiar with, now’s the right time to read up.

#2 Burning Out

As was mentioned earlier, we’re all human –  our feelings to keep our head in the game is easier said than done, especially if the team one is betting on is a personal favourite.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an outlet.

In fact, it is a must.

Develop a ritual prior or after making bets – preferably something you enjoy doing (aside from betting). Opt for something physically engaging, but easy and fun. Basically, choose an activity which makes time fly by for you. Channel your emotions into these activities.

Many pro punters suffer from mental burnouts, ending up unintentionally releasing repressed frustrations onto family and friends.

Don’t sacrifice real world connections for virtual world success.

If you’re not in a good place in the real world, there’s no way you will do well in the world of betting. On this note, a look at our article on responsible betting is worthwhile.

Betting is extremely mentally taxing (and if you think it is not, wait till you read the next steps), and setting regular fixed breaks and timeouts helps you regain focus, distress, and re-strategise.

Yes, in that week off, you may miss out on good opportunities.

But, remember:

Long-term thinking is always superior to short-term thinking. Patience is what distinguishes bettors from pro punters.

Stay even-keeled. Have realistic expectations, and teach yourself to enjoy small wins – the road to becoming a pro punter is not made of a giant leap, but a multitude of steps.

#3 Find Your Edge

See Where Your Strengths Lie, and what is truly worth investing your time

This is a marathon, not a sprint. Remember that the goal is not to place as many wagers as you possibly can, but to place the BEST wagers you possibly can. Bet on sports that you usually follow for enjoyment without any financial incentive.

Emotional connections can be good if used wisely. People tend to be most knowledgeable on things they love and follow out of genuine passion. This means you will have an understanding beyond pre-match statistics and opinions

Scott Ferguson, from Sport is made for betting, suggests placing wagers on lower tier events like League 2 or Swiss League football over globally popular events such as the Premier League, NFL, or Top tier racing.

The more well-known an event is, the more data there will be, and the less personal knowledge will matter. In these cases, finding any long-term edge may be impossible. If the term ‘edge’ is unfamiliar to you, check this article out for an easy guide to understanding this. 

In lower tier events, you are competing against far fewer people, and there is far less public information. That means you can be more confident about voting against the trend.

You may be thinking:

Does that mean I need to know a sport thoroughly to become a pro punter?

It helps. But if you’re not there yet, there’s no time like the present. The more time you invest in learning about a sport, the better.

Watch live sports streams, gain a personal understanding of the dynamic between the players of teams that interest you, observe how the absence or presence of a player may affect team performance, and how a team fares against different teams, tracing weaknesses to certain playstyles.

Common betting mistakes

#4 Use Your Passion Wisely And Combine It With Hard Data

The key is to blend data with interest, without losing objectivity.

Follow the latest odds, live betting and news, and take a good look at research with large sample sizes to glean more accurate information.

A major mistake bettors make?

Judging a sports team’s chances based on the past five games.Assuming a hot-streak will continue is the number one rookie mistake.

A team that suffers losses should attract your attention.

Approach betting panoramically. Use both your own expertise, but also take advantage of a betting calculator and betting formulas to predict sports events and analyse odds.

If betting calculators are a bit hazy in your head, read 5 Sport Betting Calculators & How to Use them. 

#5 Sticking To One Sportsbook

There’s a lot of different sportsbooks one can use, but most tend to just rely on one.

We recommend setting up accounts at three different types of sportsbooks.

You might reasonably ask – why?

The differences in the lines offered between different sportsbooks may seem negligible, but picking the best line ensures you’re maximising your profit. The gains may seem small in the beginning, but they add up in the long-run.

Consider this:

Three betting sites offer slightly different odds for a player to win. The lines are 1.85, 1.80, and 1.75. That means a 100-euro wager, if you win, will return a profit of 85 euros if you use the best line, and 75 euros if you use the worst.

We suggest having access to the following types of sportsbooks:

– Square books typically offer the best lines when it comes to teams considered as underdogs
– Sharp books tend to offer the best lines on favourites
– Reduced juice books are ideal for everyday betting because with -105 juice on most games bettors only need to win a 51.22% clip to break even.

Pro-punters who do this get lines that are at least 0.5-point better than the market average. Also, this is one of the reasons why most pro-punters see reverse line movements an excellent indicator of where sharp money is. A large bet can move a team’s odds down, despite it having the backing of the majority of the public.

Common Sports Betting Mistakes

What’s The  Bottom Line?

Learn. Research. Don’t be afraid to go against the tide, but don’t mistake pride for confidence.

But here is the kicker:

This will not guarantee victory.

As you gradually become a pro punter, you will realise certainty can never be achieved. Some bets thrive, and others sink down the drain.

But, we can promise that keeping these 5 points in mind will help you maximise your chances.

Author photo

Adam

Adam is long time Manchester United fan but admits that he has a few international favourite teams which he looks forward to watching and betting on for international events like the World Cup

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