10 Sports Betting Tips for Beginners

With sports betting legalization efforts gaining momentum across the country, more and more sports fans are gaining access to legal betting options. If you’re in a state that has recently legalized the activity (or has plans to do it soon) and you’re wondering how you can get started, you’ve come to the right place. Many people across the country are in the same situation.

Even if you have some experience but are looking for some extra insight, this guide has you covered. Continue reading for our top sports betting tips for beginners.

Perks of being new to sports betting

Your first few months of sports betting can be an exciting time as you start to understand how things work. Experienced bettors can end up jaded after one too many bad beats or tough losses. Brutal beats are inevitable, and they can take a toll. If you’re brand new to the hobby, however, then you haven’t gone through these experiences yet.

In addition, inexperience means you have more chances to learn. While that can involve some losses to begin with, if you start with the tips below, you may be able to skip some of the harsh lessons and move straight to learning more about sports betting in Florida.

10 top tips for beginners to sports betting

When you’re just getting started with sports betting, here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Bet with your head, not your heart

Many people who get involved with sports betting will wager on games involving their favorite teams or players. This is not the best idea if you’re trying to profit. You want to stay as objective as possible. While you may think that you know more about your favorite teams because of how much you follow them, your biases will often tend to negate any advantages.

2. Sign up at multiple sportsbooks

Creating accounts at multiple sportsbooks generally means that you’ll be able to benefit from the welcome bonuses that each one offers. Another benefit is that you’ll be able to better shop for lines. This means comparing the odds at multiple books to put yourself in line for the biggest potential payout possible.

3. Use regulated sportsbooks only

While you do want to be signed up at a number of sportsbooks, they need to be legal, regulated ones. Legal sports betting provides a variety of consumer protection and safety measures. For instance, if you wager at illicit, offshore sportsbooks, there is no saying what might happen to your money. In a worst-case scenario, the entire operation could vanish and take the money you’ve deposited with it.

4. Don’t chase big parlays

Another common mistake for novices is to play too many parlays. New bettors tend to gravitate toward parlays because the returns can be so large. However, parlay bets can be very difficult to win, especially as the potential payouts rise. The reason that parlay odds are so good is because of how difficult these bets are to win.

5. Learn bankroll management

No matter your sports betting skills, terrible bankroll management is a ticket to losing all your money. There are a variety of terms and tactics associated with bankroll management. Test them out and try to find what works for you. The best bankroll management strategy is one that you will stick to.

6. Keep track of your bets

Having some sort of system to record your past bets and the results is important. It can be as simple or as complex as you like, but it is a good idea to at least keep track of important metrics such as your wins and losses, say in an Excel document. Some sportsbooks will likely keep track of the basics for you, but it can be a good idea to keep more detailed records to understand where you are succeeding and where you are struggling.

7. Don’t bet when intoxicated

With gambling apps available on most people’s phones in states where sports betting is legal, this could become even more of an issue. Being intoxicated severely impacts your decision-making skills. You’re not going to be as sharp as you would be sober, and you’re going to be more likely to make riskier bets. It’s a good idea to have a blanket rule that you will not wager at all when intoxicated. Otherwise, you might wake up one morning with a lot less money and many more regrets.

8. Focus your betting

This means picking one or two sports that you are comfortable with, as well as a few niches within those sports. For example, maybe you decide to focus on NBA point spreads with your initial bets. By focusing on a single area, you will become knowledgeable and get a feel for specific trends. You will start to see how the different teams perform in different situations and get comfortable with all the jargon and other factors in that betting market.

9. Be cautious about paying for picks

Spend enough time on the internet and you’re likely to run into some “professional sports handicappers.” Such individuals may make a lot of promises, but you shouldn’t take them at face value. Generally, sites that offer sports picks make their money by having other people pay them for their picks, not by actually betting on sports. And even if you do find a reputable site, any money that you spend paying for picks is cutting into any profits that you might make.

10. Never wager money you cannot afford to lose

Last but not least, think of this as the golden rule in sports betting and all other types of gambling. You never want to be in a situation where if a bet loses, you will be in financial trouble. If you take only one thing away from this guide, let it be that.

Gambling should always remain a fun activity. If you ever find yourself stressed out over a wager that you made, it’s a good idea to take a step back and evaluate your gambling objectively. There are problem gambling resources that you can access if you think that you need help or even if you just want to ensure that you’re doing OK.

Bonus tips for intermediate bettors

If you’ve passed the beginner stage and are looking for some more advanced sports betting tips, here are a few to keep in mind:

Study the Kelly criterion

The Kelly criterion model is a formula for how much of your bankroll you should place on a given bet. While it’s far from perfect — mostly because of the limitations of sports betting — it is something that advanced bettors may use to give themselves direction.

Unless you’re mathematically inclined, you’ll likely want to use an online calculator to help with the formula. One of the key components is that you must input the probability of a win. This can be difficult with sports betting, but as you use the formula more, you will become better at developing a relatively accurate number.

Look for arbitrage opportunities

If you’re looking to profit from your betting and not just have some fun, you’ll want to look for arbitrage opportunities. These occur when the odds at different sportsbooks allow you to place money on both sides of a wager and guarantee some profit. This often happens when there is a promotion of some sort at one of the sportsbooks. This is also why it’s a good idea to have accounts at multiple books.

Understand why line movement happens

There are many reasons why sports betting lines might shift, and understanding why they move or what the movement might suggest can help with your wagers. One concept to be aware of is reverse line movement. This happens when the line moves away from the consensus. While it’s nearly impossible for the average bettor to get an accurate picture of which side the money is favoring across all sportsbooks, different tools make this easier, and you can see when the line moves away from that consensus.