Sports betting is a popular pastime with a variety of different wagering options. From basic moneyline bets to complex parlays, there is something for everyone to enjoy. However, sports betting is not without its pitfalls and even the most knowledgeable bettors experience some losses along with their wins. Here are a few tips to help you make smarter bets and avoid losing more money than you have to.
Bet with your head, not your heart: One of the biggest mistakes bettors can make is placing a bet based on emotion. It’s important to focus on the numbers and unique circumstances of each game when making a bet. Betting with your heart will usually result in costly bets.
Do adequate research: It’s no secret that the more time you devote to researching a game, the more likely you will be to turn a profit. This doesn’t have to be an exhaustive process, but weighing things like weather forecasts and staying current with injury reports can help you make informed decisions.
Understand the house edge: While it’s a bit of an abstract concept, it’s important to know how much the sportsbook is “taking in” on each bet placed. This is commonly referred to as the vig, and it’s essentially a small fee that the sportsbook charges to accept bets. It can add up over the long run, so be sure to account for it when you’re calculating your potential profits.
Keep track of your bets: A standard spreadsheet works fine, but keeping a record of each bet you place will help you determine your net winnings and losses. This will also help you identify trends and patterns in your bets, which will allow you to make more informed decisions moving forward.
Learn about spread bets: A sportsbook’s point spread is a number that handicaps one team and favors another when two teams play each other. This means that the favorite must win by a certain margin in order to cover the points, and the underdog must lose by that same amount in order to lay the points. The number is typically in increments of a half-point (i.e. Patriots -3.5) to avoid a push, which would give both sides their money back.
Know the terminology: When you’re new to sports betting, there will be a lot of unfamiliar terms that you will need to get familiar with. Some of the most common include:
Futures wagers: These are bets that will pay off at a later date, such as a championship bet on a team to win this season’s Super Bowl. These bets are available year-round, but their payouts will be reduced as the season progresses and it becomes more difficult to predict a winner. Be sure to read the terms and conditions of each site carefully before placing a futures bet. You may be required to pay a commission, such as a 10% fee, in order to place these types of bets.