Many sports fans think they will automatically find success with sports betting. But applying your sports knowledge to the betting line is not as easy as it looks.
If you’re one of those fans on the sidelines, itching to get in and put your money where your mouth is, you might want to read this article first.
Here are three essential things to know if you’re just getting started and want to get off on the right foot. Welcome to sports betting for dummies.
Understand the Betting Lines
The first step for sports betting dummies is to understand the betting lines.
Sure, you know the sport of basketball inside-out and always know what’s happening in the NFL. In general, you have a good feel of who will win on a given night. However, betting on those same games requires a different type of knowledge that forces you to think hard about odds and probabilities.
It might seem obvious that the Los Angeles Lakers should crush their opponent tonight. But is that a smart bet if you must risk $100 to win $10?
Betting the point spread is harder than picking straight up winners. It’s more of a toss-up to predict whether the Lakers would win this game by 10.5 points.
Understanding how to read odds and interpret the betting line is the first step for sports betting dummies. You should be able to explain the meaning of -110, -5.5, +10.5 or an over-under of 215.5.
After all, you need to know what you’re betting on.
Stick to What You Know
The next thing you’ll want to do is stick to what you know.
When you log into your sportsbook account, you’ll find a whole host of betting lines from basketball to football to hockey to baseball to much more. You’ll be able to bet on everything you can think of, from the Oscars to horse racing to the Little League World Series.
It’s one heck of a glorious buffet, but you want to be careful what you ingest.
Ideally, you’ll start with what you know. If you’ve been a lifelong UFC fan and know the fighters, how they matchup, and where to research the bouts, it makes sense to bet the UFC to begin.
The last thing you want to do is get distracted by sports you know nothing about. Don’t start throwing money around just hoping and praying you win. Some bettors get bored on a weeknight, turn on the TV to see what’s on ESPN and place a bet simply because a game is on. Don’t be one of them.
Once you’ve made a little bit of a profit on sports you’re familiar with and have a good feel for how betting works, it’s time to branch out to other sports and replicate the strategies that work best for you.
Manage Your Money
Solid bankroll management is one of the biggest factors that separates winning bettors from losing ones.
When you get into sports betting, you have to lay out a basic money management strategy to manage your bankroll. You can’t simply fly by the seat of your pants.
Say you start with a $1,000 deposit and lose $300 on an early NFL game, then double-up at $600 on an afternoon game, and then place various live in-game bets of $25, $100, and $200. You’re all over the place. With no rhyme or reason to your betting pattern, you’re likely to lose in the long run.
Now let’s say that you start off with $1,000 and have three levels of bets based on betting units: $100, $200 and $300, which is reserved for games that you’re most certain of. Having a plan and structure in place to bet based on the value each game presents is a much safer approach over the long run.
The best guides suggest betting between 1% and 5% of your bankroll on each game. If you’ve started out with $1,000, that means you’re betting between $10 and $50 per game.
The reasoning is quite simple. You need to be able to withstand losing streaks and survive in the long run. For example, if your bankroll is $1,000 and you’re betting $200 per game, you’re going to get cleaned out if you lose a handful of bets in a row or go 2-7 over a stretch of nine games.
Develop a simple strategy to manage your money and stick to that structure.
Now You Know
Now that you’ve read through this article, you’re no longer a sports betting dummy.
With at least have a grasp of the basics, it’s a good time to consider some of the other topics in our sports betting 101 guides. From there, the next step is to go open a sportsbook account, which is free to do, and start to get a feel for the betting lines.