The Supreme Court opened the floodgates to legal sports betting in 2018, making it easier than ever for Americans to place bets on their favorite teams. But if you’re not careful, this easy accessibility can quickly turn into a costly habit. Here are some tips to help you avoid a sports gambling disaster.
First, it’s important to know what a value bet is. A value bet is a bet that has an expected return higher than the amount you risk to make it. This is an important concept to understand because it gives you a better chance of winning more than you lose.
To find value, you’ll need to research teams and players thoroughly. This means watching game film, reading local team beat reporters and analyzing player tendencies, strengths and weaknesses. It’s also important to look at head-to-head matchups and consider injuries and suspensions. Once you have a thorough understanding of the teams, you’ll be able to identify which games offer the best value.
Another thing to keep in mind is that sportsbooks set their lines based on how much action they expect to get, not on predicting the final score. This can often lead to different lines for the same game, as the sportsbook tries to balance action evenly on both sides of the bet.
In addition, it’s important to have a tested system to evaluate your instincts and pick winners. Whether it’s using a statistical model like Ken Pom or Sagarin for college basketball, Football Outsiders’ DVOA for the NFL, or an advanced stats tool like our Strategy section, having a system can save you time and money in the long run. Using a system also helps you stay objective and remove emotion from your decisions, which is key for successful sports betting.
The best way to protect yourself from a disastrous sports betting habit is to set aside a specific bankroll for wagers and stick to it. This way, you’ll never be tempted to spend more than you can afford to lose. A good rule of thumb is to only bet 1% to 5% of your bankroll on each game.
Finally, remember to track your results and assess other bettors’ success in terms of ROI (return on investment). This will give you an idea of what kind of returns you can expect to see if you’re a smart sports bettor. Remember, the goal is to make money, not just have fun! So always remember to track your wins and losses, and only bet with money that you can afford to lose. Otherwise, you’ll quickly find yourself in a hole you can’t dig out of. — By Brian Walsh, Contributing Writer