For decades, sports betting has been considered by many to be a harmless pastime and a way for adults to blow off steam during the course of the day. But betting on sports is a lot more than just fun—it’s a way of life for some and a billion-dollar industry for others. Knowing how to navigate the world of sports betting can literally mean the difference between winning and losing. That’s a big motivator for anyone considering sports betting—you may as well go all in or fold—but it can be a lot more complicated than it seems. Here are some of the dos and don’ts of betting odds, as well as some useful tools that will help you become a better sports bettor.
Know Your Market
One of the most important things to consider, especially if you’re new to betting, is your market. This is simply the population of people within your field of study—in this case, sports. In the United States alone, there are more than 300 million sports fans, and that’s only considering those who follow sports professionally. There are countless others who follow sports as a hobby, and many of those people are eager to bet on their favorite teams and players. If you’re not aware of this market, it’s easy for you to become collateral damage in the war for your wallet. As much as possible, you want to avoid betting on obscure teams or players, as these types of bets typically have extremely high ROI (return on investment). Instead, look for markets that are relatively easy to understand and are guaranteed to produce a profit for you.
Look For Trends
No, we don’t mean you should watch ESPN 24/7 to get your sports fix. We mean finding patterns in the sports data that can help you make better predictions. Maybe your favorite team is having a great season and is going to win every game they play. When this is the case, you may discover that betting on these games is a profitable venture, as there’s obviously a high probability of your team winning. But what if they’re playing a team that you deem to be completely inferior to your own? In that case, it may be a smart move to lay off of them, as the trend would suggest they’re not going to win against an opponent of this caliber. This is where trends come in handy—they can help you make predictions with a higher degree of accuracy and allow you to profit more from your wagers. Knowing when to enter a trend and when to discontinue a trend is vital to successful sports betting. For example, if you see that a certain baseball team is always laying off during the first half of the season but are starting to put some good performances in the second half, it may be time to jump on the underdogs’ wagon and bank some wins before the trend turns around.
Avoid Free Sportsbooks
This is a big one. While the thought of getting something for nothing may sound appealing, it typically signifies that your experience is going to be substandard. Most free sportsbooks are operated by small businesses that actually have to pay the casinos for using their software. The bottom line is that you get what you pay for, and that’s normally not good enough. There are exceptions to this rule, of course—such as the totally free betting sites that some of our top-rated bookmakers have built their businesses around, but these types of sites are really for those who want to risk free bets. If you’re looking for a safe place to bet, it’s best to avoid free bookmakers completely and go with a reputable sportsbook that charges a fee for all of its services.
Know How To Calculate Your ROI
One of the most basic and important betting variables to track is your return on investment (ROI). Simply put, this is the profit you’re making on each bet versus the amount you spent on that bet. For example, if you bet $100 at a sportsbook and that sportsbook wins, you’ll earn $100 plus your initial $100 stake ($200 total profit). Your ROI in this case is 200%. Of course, if you’d lost that $100 stake, your ROI would have been 100%. Keeping this in mind can help you build a good betting strategy—you never want to risk more than you can afford to lose. That way, when the day of reckoning comes, you’ll have no regrets.
Practice Calculating Your ROI In Advance
The best way to become good at calculating ROI is to practice—repeatedly calculating it and seeing how much it helps you win and lose. The more you do this, the better you’ll become at calculating it in real time. Sometimes this can even mean the difference between winning and losing big. For example, say you’re a professional sports bettor and you’re looking to wager $100,000 across 10 sports on a single day. You should be reasonably certain that you’re going to win big, so you practice calculating your ROI prior to the bet—in this case, you’ll want to go with the over (or the selection + the over). Your first five bets should all be successes, so your ROI is still low at 50%. If you’ve been doing this successfully, it’s time to stack up on the favorites for the sixth bet—this one’s going to be a big winner, so you can increase your ROI to 100%. If you want to take a big hit rather than a small one in the seventh and eighth bets, go with the under (or the selection – the under)—but only if you’re reasonably sure that you can recover some of that hit in the ninth and 10th bet by going with the over (again, the selection + the over). Calculating your ROI in advance helps you avoid risky bets that you’ll regret later. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re unable to immediately calculate your ROI (for example, if the casino is closed or your wagering account is below the minimum amount allowed), it may be best to walk away rather than bet what you can’t afford to lose.
Understand How Probabilities Work
Many people confuse odds and probabilities—the former is a set of measurements used to indicate the likelihood of an event happening, while the latter is used to indicate the expected outcome of an event. For example, if you’re betting on the Super Bowl and the spread is 3.5, this means that you’re giving the Patriots a 3.5-to-1 underdog odds of winning the game. (In this case, it’s an even money bet—neither team will win by exactly the same amount, so this is also referred to as a ‘toss up’ or ‘push’ bet.) You may have also heard that the over (or the selection + the over) is always the smarter bet, as this type of bet allows you to win big without necessarily having to bet large amounts of money. While this may be true in general, it’s not necessarily the case when it comes to betting on individual sports—you need to look at the specifics of each game to determine which bet gives you the best opportunity for profit.
In the case of the Super Bowl, it is true that the over is the smart bet as the Patriots have been known to be very strong at home and particularly proficient on the road (3-6 ATS). But if you’re looking to predict the winner of the Daytona 500, it may be better to bet on the under as much is on the line in this particular case (more than $12 million in prize money is at stake). The point is that you need to look at the specifics of each individual game to determine the best sports betting strategy—a general rule of thumb may not suffice.
Know When To Look For A Break
A break is simply an event that gives you an edge—something that helps you to predict the likely winner of an event with a high degree of confidence. For example, let’s say you’re betting on the Daytona 500 and the favorite is Aruba.Org, one of the largest racing sites in the world. The point is that they’re known for being particularly difficult to predict and, at times, really difficult to understand. You might see a pattern developing and, based on that, decide to bet on Aruba.Org in the next few races. However, if you look at the specifics of the Daytona 500, it’s actually very close—it’s going to come down to which driver does the best job in managing their vehicle in the event’s most prestigious race. In this case, there’s very little to suggest that Aruba.Org is going to triumph in the future, so you may want to consider laying off of this particular horse (or dog, as the case may be).