No matter what type of sports betting you are doing, there is always another edge you can gain. Often we are our own worst enemy when betting, but the below rules should help you avoid self-destruction and protect your bankroll.
Rule #1: Don’t bet on your favorite teams
You will enjoy betting on your favorite team when they win, but it is bad form in the long run. It is extremely difficult to make smart bets when you are biased. Even worse, players can let the bad beat of a favorite team losing spiral them into a series of bad bets. There are plenty of sporting events out there to bet on (and use free sports picks for another edge). For your favorite team, sit back and just enjoy the game (while betting on other games).
Rule #2: Have a plan for your bankroll – and stick to it
The key here is to actually stick to your plan. If you’re going to survive long enough to make some money, you need to be prepared for the losing streaks. Developing your plan to manage – and protect – your bankroll is key.
One very smart method is to bet the same amount on each bet you make. The logic is simple: unless you have a unique piece of information on a certain bet (your cousin was roommates with the team’s trainer in college, and player XX is out), why would you suddenly bet more? That is a classic pattern people fall into: after one or two bad losses, they try to double up on the next bet to get back even. This high risk approach may work occasionally, but the potential wipe out of your bank roll is too much of a risk.
A similar method would only bet a certain percentage of your bankroll on any given bet. Setting this to 1-2% will situate you well for the long run. You can set this to a higher percentage, but typically a conservative approach is the only way to win over time.
Rule #3: Line shop
Once you’ve identified a bet you like, do not blindly place this bet with the first sportsbook you see. It is worthwhile to shop around to several sports books and see if you can get a slightly better line elsewhere. These differences will seem small, but a bump up of a few points on your winning percentage could be the difference between winning and losing money over the long run.
We recommend keeping some betting money on at least 2 different sportsbooks that often vary in lines (like Bookmaker.eu and Bovada)
Take the time to shop around, and grab any extra points you can. If you’re in Nevada (particularly Las Vegas), I would recommend using multiple sports betting apps, as they allow you to immediately compare lines and place bets. If you’re betting online elsewhere in the United States, using multiple sites can give you this same flexibility.
Rule #4: Don’t follow the pack
Don’t simply consume all the same news as everyone else. While you aren’t going to beat the sports books to the information, the closer you can get to the source, the quicker you can act, resulting in a better line every time.
Everyone is watching ESPN. Once the story is broken on ESPN, you will be one of the masses taking action. If you’re serious about a sport, you need to find where the real sources are. This can either be through sport specific websites, or even through Twitter. Most sports reporters are breaking their news through Twitter, so following them could give you a head start over the masses. Twitter is your friend for real unfiltered sports updates.
Rule #5: Consider the source of your information
Understanding how knowledgeable a source truly is crucial to deciding whether or not to listen to that source. There are countless handicappers offering their picks, but there is no guarantee of quality there.
Don’t let your opinion be swayed by someone simply because they have a website and say they are the best handicapper around. If they really are legitimate, they will have an extensive track record, and likely charge a significant amount for their picks – and even then, blindly following them may not make you a winner. Avoid free picks and ‘locks’ from unknown sources.
Rule #6: Respect the odds makers
Don’t assume there is an error in the lines, or that you spotted an obvious value. Take a second look at the match-up, and see if you missed anything. Given the resources that go into setting lines, you should never assume that a line was set without having very good reasoning behind it. Odds makers don’t make mistakes…
Following these 6 rules can’t guarantee anyone daily winnings. However, it should help make your sports betting more consistent and intelligent, and ultimately give you the edge in the long run.