Sports betting tips and Strategies

by Lewis Watson

Avoid making these mistakes if you want to be successful in sports betting!

Not understanding the odds

Make sure you know what ‘price’ the odds represent! Sometimes odds can be confusing – especially if they are listed as a fraction – so make sure you understand what you have to stake and what you could potentially win.

This bears enormous importance when selecting your bet. If, for example, you think Chelsea will win their next match against a weaker side, they could be priced as short as 1/2 if they are in form. If you misread this price as 2/1 and lump on thinking that this is ridiculous value, then you’ll be in for a shock either way!

Following your heart, not your head

We all get drawn into the emotion of sport. However, it’s vital that you’re able to separate the two when it comes to betting. Whether it be your favourite horse, your favourite player or team, using your heart to bet will often result in a loss.

Analysing the form of the focus of your bet will lead to more wins than betting on a ‘hunch’. Think of it logically: if you feel strongly towards a player, don’t back them to win. You are most likely going to feel great if they win regardless, so don’t complicate your emotions by putting money on them as well!

Sentimentality only lasts so long in sport before the cream rises to the top. Don’t get caught out convincing yourself that your underdog will make it!

Rushing bets

Take your time with your selection, or you may end up placing a bet on a market you didn’t intend to. We’ve all been there: money is sat in our online account, and we want to get a bet on before the next match starts. Pause, take a breath and make sure you know what you are effectively ‘buying’ by making this bet.

Rushing bets can lead to massive losses, especially online. With fast-moving apps and websites it is possible for selections to be placed by accident – so double check everything before you cast your bet. Imagine putting on the wrong wager for your intended pick to win! Don’t let it happen to you.

Chasing the big wins

Odds are always representative of the likelihood of that event occurring. This being said, stop being sucked in by the enormous prices and chasing the ‘Hollywood’ wins!

If a side is 150/1 to win the league, it’s highly unlikely that they are going to do so (unless it’s Leicester City, of course), so focus your bets on a broader range of prices instead of always aiming big.

The odds speak for themselves. You are on average going to have to put on 100 bets until your 100/1 bet pays out. It’s okay to use this tactic on the odd occasion, but don’t allow chasing big prices to creep into your regular betting routine.

Always backing the favourite

Much the same as the last point, don’t always back the favourites in sport. Sport can often be extremely unpredictable, so continually backing the favourite over and over again is a method that is likely to come unstuck. With favourites the price is always going to be very short. This means a high stake is needed to yield any significant profit from the selection.

This is where it can get dangerous – lumping significant sums of money on the favourite, only for it to lose.

We are not saying to never back the favourite in sport ever again, but merely do not always rely on the favourite by backing it blindly each time.

Betting on your team

Betting on your team can often bring added entertainment to the match you’re watching. However, it is often misguided. Much like gambling with your heart, when you bet on your team, you are being swayed by emotion rather than facts. Therefore your chances of correctly predicting the outcome will decrease.

It is also important to consider where these bets are placed. A lot of football stadiums in the UK offer betting services within the ground from a betting partner. A list of possible bets is often displayed for fans for the fans temptation and indulgence. However, the prices that are listed will rarely be worth staking against.

Fans inside stadiums are sitting ducks and will often bet on their side at a paltry price.

Betting under the influence

This one should go without saying: don’t place a bet if you have been drinking. Many of us watch sport in a social environment, whether that be at a pub, bar, or with friends. This can often lead to alcohol being consumed, and for senses to be altered.

Confidence may be heightened and a fear of losing lessened after having a few drinks: not the best combination of emotions when betting. This could lead to a spiral of significant losses without you being able to grasp what is going on fully. Leave betting for when you are sober, or things could get ugly!

Not cashing out

Cashing out has become a vital part of sports betting since its introduction. Being given the opportunity to ‘cash out’ tests your nerve as a punter to see whether you think your bet will still materialise at full time. If not, you can settle for reduced winnings and avoid the heartbreak of your bet losing with five minutes to go.

It’s the ultimate game of stick or twist. By reading the event that you are watching you should be able to determine whether the price you have been offered is worth cashing out.

For example, you have backed Arsenal to win the match 1-0 against a strong side. It’s the 70th minute, and Arsenal has scored to make it 1-0, however, their striker has been sent off during his celebrations. Now, you are set to win £100 if the match finishes 1-0, but with Arsenal down to ten men and their frailties at the back you are unsure of whether it will stay this way. You have been offered £40 to cash out now, with the amount slowly creeping up as the minute's tick by. In your head, you should find a figure that you are happy to take and win. This then avoids the heartbreak of losing it all if another goal is scored in the game, safe in the knowledge that you have gained a sizeable amount from the best.

A tactic many pursue would be to take the cash out, and then follow up by reinvesting some of the winnings in another bet for the remaining duration of the fixture.

Betting on an unknown sport

Don’t bet on a sport unless you are 100% sure on the rules! Many sports have differing formats and durations, changing from tournament to tournament. A prime example of this is in darts. Many weekend European Tour tournaments are a race to 6 legs, whereas the essential tournaments can exceed a best of 21-leg format.

If you don’t know how many legs your player has to win to win the match, then your knowledge and opinion on the value are entirely skewed. Imagine thinking that it is a race to 6 and seeing that the underdog is 2/1 to win the match when the score is 5-2. ‘Fantastic!’ you would think, however, after placing a sizeable wager on the player in question, you realise that it is a race to 21… inevitably the player loses, and you are left with egg on your face! Do your research!

Chasing your losses

Sometimes it just isn’t your day. Losses can often come in pairs or even worse! Don’t get careless after a significant loss and think that you can immediately win it all back on the event. This hunger to recoup winnings can often lead you to slip into some of the previous mistakes on this list, i.e. betting with your heart, betting on unknown sports and rushing bets.

Understand when it is time to stop gambling for the day or even week! The bookmakers will always have the edge over you, but don’t make it easier for them! Remember, it’s always easier to kick someone when they are down!

Not shopping around for the best price

You do it on the high street and in the supermarkets, so why wouldn’t you do it when it comes to betting? Different bookmakers will price up a diverse array of prices for individual events; it’s essential to understand which bookmaker gives the best odds for what leagues. They all have to make their margins. However, some companies will target certain sports and competitions to make the majority of their margin, whereas other competitions are given the biggest odds to lure the customer in.

Shop around, check out the sign-up offers and also check if your certain bookmaker allows for cashing out!

If you avoid these common mistakes, you should be well on your way to making a profit in sports betting!