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Sports Betting 101: Avoiding The Most Common Mistakes

Matt Brandon Dec 27th 2:07 PM EST.

Sports betting has become incredibly popular in recent years due to recent legislation and it will probably become even more prominent in the near future. However, it is not easy to be successful in the sports betting industry. Veteran sports bettors know that there will always be highs and lows and that it is important to stay the course. Bettors must take a long-term approach if they want to increase their bankrolls. 

Sportsbooks claim millions of dollars in profits every year because many bettors who routinely lose money, never think to change anything about their routine. It’s important to identify the most common mistakes in sports betting to increase your bankroll in small increments. Let’s take a look at some of the most common sports betting mistakes to avoid.

Poor Money Management

Managing your bankroll may not be the sexiest topic in the world but maintaining discipline is critical when it comes to being a successful sports bettor. Increasing your unit size is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. It’s important to never bet more than 1-5% of your bankroll. Don’t increase your bet size just because you are on a hot streak. Conversely, continue to stay the course if you are trying to dig yourself out of a hole. It’s important to not try to win back all of your recent losses with just one bet. Betting the same amount (a flat-betting approach) will save bettors from losing their entire sports betting budget when they inevitably hit a cold streak. Read more on solid bankroll management strategies here.

Overreaction To Recent Trends

Amateurs tend to bet a lot on teams that are on a winning streak and stay away from teams that were recently blown out. However, historically speaking, teams coming off a win are overvalued. The oddsmakers in Vegas know that the public is inclined to bet on a team coming off a five-game winning streak. 

For example, let’s say that the Dallas Cowboys just came off a 28-point victory. Since the oddsmakers know that the public is going to bet on the Cowboys no matter what, they might open Dallas at -8 even though they should be listed at -7. In this case, bettors are losing an extra point by taking the Cowboys at an overpriced number. Meanwhile, teams coming off bad losses tend to be undervalued. If the New York Giants just got blown out, oddsmakers know that the public will likely want to bet against them the following week. So instead of listing the Giants as +9, they open at +10 or +11, which provides sharp bettors extra points and an inflated line value.  

Confusing SU Records With ATS Records

It’s also incredibly important not to confuse straight-up records with against the spread records. The 2007 New England Patriots are considered to be one of the best teams in the history of the NFL, despite losing in the Super Bowl to Eli Manning and the New York Giants. Those Patriots, led by Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, were the first team to finish the regular season with a 16-0 record, and they were one victory away from a perfect season. However, despite finishing the season and playoffs with an 18-1 record, New England was only 10-9 against the spread. If a bettor wagered the same amount on all 19 Patriots spreads, they would have roughly broken even due to the vig that bettors pay sportsbooks. That is why it is incredibly important to look more closely at ATS records rather than straight-up records. It’s also pivotal to pinpoint the right times to buy a team coming off a bad loss and to fade a team coming off a blow-out victory. 

Not Doing Research

Typically, the more time a bettor spends researching important stats and trends, the more likely it is that bettor will be profitable. There are all sorts of important research to look up every week, such as weather forecasts, injury updates, and much more. It’s also critical to weigh past head-to-head matchups and performances. 

Don’t make the mistake of taking a massive underdog just because you like the fact that they opened at +12. Perhaps their starting quarterback is injured or their entire defensive line has COVID-19. It’s important to research to understand why a team is listed at their current point spread. 

Too Much Action

Bettors love to gamble. However, betting just to have action on a game doesn’t usually lead to profitable outcomes. Betting a ton of games on any given night can be downright dangerous. By betting too much on one game or one night, you are assuming significant risk. One bad night can completely decimate your bankroll. It’s important to take a long-term approach to sports betting. And remember, you cannot lose what you do not risk.

As exciting as it is to bet on sports, it is important to do it responsibly. Bettors should limit their action to the ones they are most confident in. It’s important not to make bets just for the thrill of it. 

Allowing Fandom To Get In The Way

I tend to avoid betting on games that my favorite team is participating in simply because I am biased. However, amateur sports bettors tend to allow their fandom to get in the way of logic, and they bet with their hearts rather than their minds. You can bet on games that your favorite team is playing in, but it’s pivotal to put all biases aside. Many bettors refuse to bet against their favorite team simply because they do not want to root against them. I’ll admit it, I am the same way, which is why I avoid games involving my favorite teams no matter what. If you are unable to have an open mind about which team to bet on, you should probably avoid betting on that game altogether. 

Ignoring The “Smart Money”

Using our Public Betting Splits, you can track which side the professional bettors are backing for every game. Monitoring public betting trends is one of the most pivotal tools used by professional handicappers to find the top wagers in the sports betting marketplace. Public betting trends allow you to track which teams the public is chasing and which teams professional gamblers are high on each week.

For example, let’s say the Kansas City Chiefs are -3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Perhaps 65% of the bets are backing the Buccaneers, however, a whopping 70% of the money is on the Chiefs. In this scenario, you know that although more people are betting on the Bucs, the high rollers are backing the Chiefs, which should tell you something. It’s important to identify when there is a significant difference between the percentage of bets and the percentage of money. Following the “smart money” is typically a solid strategy to employ when attempting to increase your bankroll. 

Another easy way to spot sharp action is to look for Reverse Line Movement – when the line moves in the opposite direction of the betting percentages. For example, let’s say that the Chiefs are getting 80% of spread bets, yet you see Kansas City fall from -3 to -2. Why would the oddsmakers in Vegas decrease the spread? It’s because professional gamblers are betting large sums on the opponent. 

If you don’t know who the public is taling to and where the “smart money” is on a particular line, you are at a massive disadvantage. 

Failing To Shop For The Best Line

It’s important to open up an account at multiple sportsbooks to give you a better chance at long-term success in the sports betting industry. Every half-point matters when it comes to gambling.

Let’s say you like the Tennessee Titans this week. Your book is listing the Titans at +3, but another book has them at +3.5 and another book has them at +4. It would benefit you to open up an account at the third sportsbook and take the Titans where they are getting the most points as the underdog. By having multiple accounts at several sportsbooks, you just got a point for free. Although one point may not seem like a huge deal, it often is the difference between long-term profit and long-term deficits. 

FantasySP also does the research for you. When looking at any given matchup, you can see which books are providing the best lines based on what team you want to back. You can view individual matchups and real-time injury updates, plus game news, projections, stats, play-by-play, and much more! Click here to choose which matchup you would like to look at more closely!

Unrealistic Expectations

Bettors can get themselves into a whirlwind of financial trouble by thinking they are not successful enough. However, if you win just 50% of your bets, you are doing better than most. That said, you are likely still losing money due to the vig that sportsbooks take out of each bet.

The most successful sports bettors only get about 60% of their bets correct. It is simply unrealistic to think that you are going to win at a higher rate than that. Of course, there will be good days and bad days, but it is important to trust your process and remain diligent. And especially when you are just getting your feet wet in the sports betting world, it’s important to temper your expectations. Sports betting is not a quick money-making scheme. It is not realistic to expect a small deposit will turn into life-changing winnings. The most successful gamblers know that the only way to be profitable over a long period of time is to increase your bankroll in small increments. 

FantasySP is developing betting tools to provide users with something nobody else in the industry can offer. Upgrade to an Edge+ account today and get 50% off your first year at just $99.99 for the year. After a year, the price is going to increase to $199. Lock in your special early-bird deal today!



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