The anti-gambling stigma that once weighed down the gambling industry has faded from American popular culture, opening the door for legal sports betting. But making a living from betting on sports isn’t easy – and those who think it is will be disappointed.
Our guest is Eric Lipton, a reporter with The New York Times who has just published a three-part series on the challenges of making money in the new world of sports betting. He joins us today to discuss the biggest mistakes people make when they begin betting on sports.
LIPTON: There are a lot of them, but probably the most common mistake is oversizing the value of your bets. A lot of amateurs and casual bettors place large wagers based on their emotions, like a love for a team or a desire to beat the bookie. Those types of bets can backfire quickly. You need to have a solid plan and be disciplined.
One way to avoid this mistake is to create a bankroll and stick to it. Ideally, this is a separate account that you use exclusively for sports betting. That way, you can control the amount of money that you are risking on each bet. Keeping your wagers within a percentage of your bankroll will help you manage your losses and maximize your profits.
Another key element is to have a thorough research and analysis process. That means looking at statistics, past performances, injuries, and anything else that might influence the outcome of a game. It’s also important to be aware of the vig – the fee that the sportsbook charges for accepting your bets. Keeping this in mind can help you find undervalued bets and minimize your losses.
Finally, it’s essential to keep near-obsessive records of your bets. Pro sports bettors often take notes about their wins and losses, including the amount of money they put on each wager, whether it’s a point spread or a futures wager. By taking careful records, you can test theories – like the one about left-handed pitchers and losses – and build a more informed betting strategy.
LIPTON: Finally, it’s critical to understand how the sportsbooks price their props. Having access to multiple sites will allow you to shop for the best prices. For example, a sportsbook may post the Cavs as -8 on a futures market while another sportsbook will offer them at -7. Even though this difference seems small, it can add up over time.
As with any endeavor, there will be ups and downs, but if you follow the tips above, you can increase your chances of winning. Remember, you don’t need to be a genius to make money on sports, but it’s important to treat this as a dedicated side hustle and not a get-rich-quick solution. By staying calm and following your budget, you can turn your passion for sports into a stable source of income. Good luck! – FRESH AIR’s Brianna Scott.