People all over the world love to bet on sports. Since you’re reading this, you’re probably part of that majority. While some do it just for recreation or to make watching a TV game more exciting, there are others who will always wager on their favorite team or player, period. However, there is an elite third group out there who bet sports with one and only one purpose in mind…to make money. Whichever group you fall into, sports wagering must be treated the same as any other financial investment. To be done properly (and profitably), here are some very crucial rules one must follow.
Rule #1 – Use Proper Money Management – This rule is the one that is most neglected and explains why Vegas keeps on building all of those multi-billion dollar casinos. Never wager more than you can afford to lose, so be honest with yourself on what you can comfortably set aside for recreation or otherwise. Secondly, never wager more than 2% of your total bankroll on any single wager. If you set aside $1,000 for gambling, your individual bets should be in the $20 range and no more. If you’re winning, the 2% per wager automatically increases as your bankroll increases. Conversely, if you’re on a losing streak and the bankroll goes down, the size of your bets will decrease accordingly. Unexplainably, wins and losses often times run in streaks, so slowly increase your bets on a hot streak and back off on cold streaks. Stick with 2% and never double up and chase lost money.
Rule #2 – Never Gamble Under the Influence – To coin a phrase, “Speak when you’re drunk and you’ll probably make the biggest speech you’ll ever live to regret.” The same sensible theory applies to betting on sports. Drugs (legal or otherwise) and alcohol can cloud your judgment and will lead you into making decisions that you normally wouldn’t make. To be successful at anything, your mind needs to be 100% clear and functional. If you’re on medication, drugs, or alcohol, or if you’re just in an upset or disturbed mood, be smart and don’t play until you’re back to 100%.
Rule #3 – Spend Some Time Shopping – This can be compared to shopping for a new car or even for groceries. Always look for the best prices or the best numbers. The payoff odds and point spreads are not carved in stone throughout the industry, and on any given day, they can vary greatly between different shops. Research several sports books thoroughly and compare the numbers. After checking several well-established and solid options, decide on 2 or 3 of them, and then divide and deposit your initial bankroll equally amongst each one. Then, before making your wager(s), check each book and always take the best number on your particular event. Over the course of a year, that ½, 1, or even 2 point difference will come into play many times, and trust me…it will add up to a lot of money.
Rule #4 – DO NOT Play Parlays or Teasers – Parlays, teasers, and other exotic wagers are offered for a reason. Yes, you can bet a 3-team parlay, and if you win, it normally pays in the vicinity of 6 to 1 in football and basketball. If it were really possible for anyone to consistently pick 3 out of 3, parlays (and teasers) wouldn’t be offered by the sports books. Stick to straight action only. If you bet 3 teams straight action and only win 2 of the 3, you’ve just made money. Hook them all together in a parlay and you must win all 3, or you’re sunk. It’s a proposition for losers only, so don’t do it.
Rule #5 – Perform Due Diligence – As a bettor, you normally have the opportunity to do research well in advance of having to make that final decision on a wager. That gives you an automatic advantage over the bookie, so use it to the fullest extent. One of the best ways to win at sports wagering is to maybe find your own special niche and then follow it closely. For example, if you live in California and become an expert on the PAC 10, you can increase your chances of winning by focusing on just your niche.
Rule #6 – Seek a Professional – There is a wealth of valuable information available on the Internet but you have to take the time to do proper and thorough research. Most people just don’t have the time to properly study things like past statistics, line moves, trends, angles, valuable lines, inflated numbers, and much, much more. Watching ESPN and/or reading opinionated articles by sports writers on the Internet is not the proper way to do your homework. If betting on sports is more than just a recreational pastime, or if you just don’t have the time or resources for Rule #5, seriously consider employing the services of a professional sports handicapper. If you’re sick, you go see a doctor. If you’re serious about winning more bets than you lose, you should listen to a professional.
Whether you’re a recreational player or actually doing it solely for a profit, may you always have more winners than losers, and always remember to have a lot of fun along the way, but stick to the rules.