Sports betting can be a fun, recreational hobby if you do it correctly. Sure, we’d all love to get rich and bask in our betting success off cashing in winning tickets, but the truth is, it’s probably not a path to early retirement. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do our best to make a little extra for at least a good night out.
I have been betting (recreationally) for a few years now and I have learned, sometimes the hard way, how to keep things light, as stress-free as possible, and how to both build and maintain a bankroll.
If you are new to sports betting — heck, even if you aren’t — these tips could help you possibly be more successful, or at the very least help you get through a season without losing all your hair.
Without further ado, I present you with my 10 betting pitfalls to avoid:
1. Too Many Parlays
Here’s my problem with parlays. We work too hard for our money to give it to the books, and parlays are really hard to hit. However, I also understand that people want a chance to “strike it big.” If you are so compelled to place a wager on a parlay, here are some suggestions.
Keep your wager amount small. The total spent on a parlay should be one-fifth to one-fourth of your normal size bet. If you place $100 on a single wager, a parlay should be no more than $25.
I also recommend that you place only a single parlay at a time. The more parlays you have, the greater the risk and the better chance you have of losing it all. If you have one $100 single-bet ticket, but make five $20 parlays, that spells trouble for your bankroll.
Keep to single bets and, for “fun,” a single low-cost parlay.
2. Too Many Teams/Using the Same Team on a Teaser(s)
I get screenshots of teaser tickets daily. One thing I often see is the use of the same team(s) on multiple tickets.
If you love the Jaguars and decide to put them on multiple tickets, then you are putting all of your eggs in one basket. If the Jaguars don’t cover, there go all your tickets and your money.
I also see five-team teasers a lot. I suggest keeping to no more than two teams on a ticket. Is the payout less? Sure, but so is the risk. The more teams you add, the smaller your bet should be.
3. Not Looking at Injury Reports
This is pretty simple. I took the Lions (+2.5) on my Circa Sports Million contest card without knowing that Matthew Stafford was injured. He ended up sitting out the game and the line moved to +7. Had I looked at injury reports, I could have had a 5-0 weekend, but instead, I finished 4-1.
4. Making Too Many Bets
I get it. You love every game on the slate, but don’t make 20 bets on spreads, teasers, parlays, round robins, you name it – you don’t need a wager on everything in sight! Keep to a handful or less. You’re more likely to profit the less tickets you have.
5. Blind Betting
I have a rule that I do not blind bet or tail someone unless I do my own followup research. Handicap the handicapper. Follow someone who posts betting records or gives analysis and not just picks.
6. Betting on Mediocre Teams
This season, I made the mistake of putting money on AKRON?! The only team that hadn’t had a win and they were facing Bowling Green. They were due! But really, why would you want to put your money on a team that is ranked last in almost everything? There are plenty of other games to choose from. Stop putting your money on bad teams.
7. Not Checking the Weather.
Winter is here. Wind, rain and snow now all come into play. Check the weather reports and the field surface being played on. Is it grass, turf, indoors? It matters.
8. Spoiler Games
A football team may look down and out because they have no chance of making a bowl or the NFL playoffs but they are facing a division/conference rival. Don’t be so quick to take the favorite. The underdog may potentially have the motivation to play spoiler against a rival.
9. Getting Emotionally Invested in Your Bets
I am guilty of this myself. You took the underdog at +6 and they are down two touchdowns at the half. You want to throw your ticket away, it’s over, they don’t stand a chance. Don’t be so quick. I always say, there are two games in football: the first half and the second half. Just let it play out. No game is over until the clock says zero.
The same applies if the team you took is performing well. Don’t get too excited too early. I had Northern Illinois to cover +2.5 at Toledo earlier in the season. The Huskies were up 28-7 before falling apart in the fourth quarter, allowing the Rockets to come back to tie the game. Ultimately, NIU won 31-28 but things looked great until they didn’t.
Use these tips before placing your next wager. Hopefully some of these can help you make better betting decisions. For more tips, follow me on Twitter @Pamelam35.
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