Common Sports Betting Mistakes (2020)
When it comes to sports betting, you can try your utmost to make the perfect bet. Ultimately though, betting is a game of chance where anything can happen. In this article we will put forward what we think are some of the most common sports betting mistakes that people make, as well as our expert suggestions on how these can be avoided.
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The 18 Sports Betting Mistakes
When you place a wager, sometimes you will win, other times you will lose. What is most important is that you don’t decrease your chances of getting a winning bet by making unnecessary mistakes. Far too often we hear stories of how players have thrown away their bets without ever having stood a chance at winning because of silly, avoidable errors.
Below is the comprehensive list we compiled of what we think are the 18 most common betting mistakes which you should avoid. Read them, learn them, and good luck!
1) Not Shopping Around
Different bookmakers offer their players different odds and whilst more often than not, these will only be slightly different, even a fraction of a difference can make have a large effect on a high wager.
If one betting site is offering odds for a match at 1/4 whilst another has them at 1/3, it may not seem like much of a difference. With a £10 wager we’re talking about a difference of a measly 80p. With a £100 wager that quickly rises to £8 or a better yet, a whole 8% change.
It is crucial to look at the odds that different bookmakers have on the same bets to make sure you get the highest possible winnings for your selections. There is nothing which says that you cannot even have multiple accounts with different bookies.
There is not one company which has the best odds in the business (even though they all seem to claim that they do) so shop around and see which ones work best for you.
2) Bankroll Management
Pay attention because this is probably the most important point in this whole list.
We cannot stress enough that you should only ever bet with money that you can afford to lose. Countless people constantly pull money out of their savings accounts and bet it away without considering how much it is costing them, only to realise what they have done when it is too late.
You can avoid making this mistake by putting some money aside in a separate account and only using this to place your bets. That way, even if everything goes south and you lose it all, it won’t make a massive dent in your finances.
3) Having Unrealistic Expectations
As we mentioned in the beginning of this common betting mistakes article, sports betting is primarily based on chance. You can spend hours researching and trying to formulate the perfect bet, but it the end, nothing is for sure and things can go either way.
Do not make the mistake of starting your betting journey with unrealistic expectations where you convince yourself that this is going to be your lucky break or that from here on out you are going to make a lot of easy money.
This way of thinking is dangerous and could result in you putting a lot of pressure on yourself to keep winning which in turn might lead to you increasing the amounts that you are wagering. Additionally, having unrealistic expectations tends to go hand in hand with an overall unenjoyable betting experience – which nobody wants.
Be realistic with your expectations, set goals that are achievable, play in moderation, and most importantly, enjoy the thrill that sports betting has to offer.
4) Placing Too Many Wagers
Another mistake we come across very often is when people who follow different sports think that they will be betting experts on all these sports.
The product of this tends to be a resultant betting slip that looks like a cocktail of all sorts of sports and markets mixed together which, from what we’ve seen, hardly ever does well. Whilst it is not uncommon to have a large interest in multiple sports, more often than not, there will always be that one sport which you know and love better than the rest.
Since all sports are different and each one comes with its own unique betting options, we think it is wiser to stick to the one sport that you know best.
5) Always Backing Your Team
You’ve been supporting them for as long as you can remember, and you plan your weekends around their fixtures – but it is important to keep in mind that virtually all teams go through a rough patch at some point throughout the season.
This is especially valid to lower level teams. If your favourite team is experiencing a losing streak, as optimistic as you are that the only way is up, avoid using your money to support your emotions. Passion can well and truly cloud judgement. You don’t have to bet against your team but avoid that market altogether until things start to change.
6) Betting Blind
This point continues from the previous one and is aimed more for those who are new to betting or not very familiar with betting processes.
It is of utmost importance when placing a wager that you always research the teams you want to bet on so that you can make the most informed decision possible. Even though there is always going to be an element of luck when it comes to sports to betting, the level of chance can be reduced with proper research.
We’re not talking about embarking on a dissertation of your betting choices of course, but if there are teams that you are not particularly familiar with, reading up about their players, manager, injuries, suspensions, home/away form, rivalries, and style of play can prove to be invaluable.
One of the most common mistakes we see relating to betting blind is when so many people (especially beginners) simply choose to bet on whoever is the favourite. The ‘favourites’ are not always going to win so backing them blindly without making an informed decision is not a good idea and we encourage you to avoid doing this betting mistake.
7) Betting for the Sake of It
Let’s be honest, we’ve all done this at some point or another. You’re recovering from an exhilarating Sofa Sunday where everything went in your favour and you won more than you ever did before. It’s a Monday night now and you are feeling more confident in your superior betting abilities than ever before, only to realise that there are no major matches being played – so what happens next? You scroll through your favourite bookmaker’s homepage and start looking through other minor international leagues until ultimately temptation gets the better of you and you wager your money on teams that up to a few seconds ago you had never even heard of.
Shockingly, your bet fails, and yesterday’s big winnings are gone in an instant. Sound familiar?
Unfortunately, this is something which happens very frequently where people who enjoy sports betting end up playing just for the sake of it or because they are simply bored. Keep in mind that money in your account is real money, and even if a lot of that was added in the form of winnings, it is still money and should not needlessly be thrown away on an impulse.
8) Not Considering Value
For those who may not be familiar with the term, ‘value betting’ involves making a bet where the probability of winning the bet is higher than what the bookmaker’s odds reflect.
Essentially, this means that you are placing a bet which has a greater chance of winning.
Value betting can be a tricky concept to understand and are usually undertaken by the more seasoned bettors, however it would be a mistake to ignore value bets because they can very well lead to an increased chance of winning.
9) Not Using a Betting Strategy
It goes without saying that sports betting requires a sense of strategy in order to have any chance of consistently coming out on top.
You need to know what markets to play on and which to avoid, when to place a bet and when to avoid doing so, whether you should go for a single bet or opt for an accumulator, or whether to play pre-match or in-play. All these factors (as well as so many more) can have a profound effect on the chances of winning your bets.
A good betting strategy is invaluable, and you should definitely take the time to develop your own way of doing things before rushing to place any wagers. We have a full section on our website devoted to the helping you develop the best sports betting strategies which you can check out here.
10) Only Using Accumulators
Accumulators are some of the most exciting forms of betting. Their high risk/high reward structure will make any sports bettor’s heart race, particularly in the final moments of a game. Many legends have been made throughout the years as a result of some iconic accumulators.
Despite all this excitement and adrenaline however, with such supersized margins, it can be extremely difficult to get a win.
We are not trying to discourage you from betting on accumulators in any way, but it can be a very big mistake to only play on these types of bets. Maintaining a balance between single, reliable bets and large, daring accumulators can be a very suitable way to manage your bets without throwing your money away.
If you love a good accumulator, we also recommend finding a bookmaker that offers acca-related promotions in the form of, for example, a money back bonus if you win all your accumulators accept one.
11) Chasing a Loss
Nobody wants to lose. We all place bets hoping this is going to be the one that gives us that all important to win, but things don’t always go our way and losing some bets is in fact inevitable.
When you do lose a bet, it can be very tempting to try and redeem yourself and make up the money you lost by placing a new bet. This is known as chasing a loss and can develop into a very, very dangerous habit as losing the bets which are ‘supposed’ to win back your losses can result in a worsening cycle of more and more losses.
It is important that you learn when to accept defeat and when is the time to stop, so as not to dig yourself into a deeper hole. For more on this we've listed 5 tips on how to deal with losing streaks.
12) Not Cashing Out
The team you’ve bet on is winning but not playing as well as you’d like them to. The defence is shaky but not as shaky as your leg as you watch attack after attack coming in from the opposition. You can either wait it out hoping to earn big and risk losing it all, or you can sensibly cash out and enjoy the rest of the game without worrying.
As tempting as it might be to go all the way, try not to let greed get the better of you, especially if you can see that the team you wagered on does not seem like they are going to score.
Cashing out is a fantastic feature and we encourage our readers to always use a betting site which enables you to cash out and to take full advantage of this option.
13) Betting Under the Influence
This one pretty much goes without saying. Do not drink and drive, do not drink and text, and definitely do not drink and bet.
Sports betting is already tricky enough as it is when doing it sober so don’t overcomplicate your life and place bets when you aren’t 100% focused on what you are doing.
If you are drinking, avoid betting at all costs and do not risk making mistakes with your money that you will undoubtedly regret the morning after.
14) Not Exploring Different Markets
When betting, many people tend to stick to one market that they are comfortable with. Whilst this is not the worst thing in the world, especially if it’s working for you, we think it could be a good idea to be adventurous and explore playing on different markets.
It would be a mistake not to do this because you might just learn that you actually obtain better results and are more of a natural when it comes to betting on some markets compared to others.
15) Not Keeping Records
A data-driven approach to betting can provide very valuable insights to players.
We encourage you to always keep track of the amount of money that you have deposited in your account, the amount you have won or lost, and the type of sports, markets, and submarkets that you were the most and least successful in.
In this way, you can create somewhat of a road map which shows in detail where you stand and in which direction you should be going with your betting. Some bookmakers even provide their players with helpful, detailed statistical information relating to user activity so you should definitely consider using a site which offers such data.
16) Not Taking Advantage of Match Betting
Matched betting is a technique whereby sports bettors can take advantage of free bets and other promotions offered by betting companies in order to make a ‘risk-free’ profit.
The premise of this type of betting is that by using the bookmaker’s bonuses in conjunction with a betting exchange, you can cover all possible outcomes of a bet and therefore make a guaranteed profit, without actually ‘gambling.’ This, of course, is a very superficial description of what match betting is and the technique actually goes much deeper – which is why we have written a separate beginner’s guide to match betting that you can read here.
When done properly, match betting is an easy means of making some extra money and we definitely recommend that you look into it – because why not?
17) Being Influenced by So-Called ‘Experts'
Every sport comes with its own vast selection of pundits who offer their own analysis, predictions and other forms of ‘expert’-led information.
It is important to remember that these individuals are not psychics and even though they might have more experiencing within the sports compared to the average Joe, they will never be 100% certain of the outcome of a match or race.
Everything they say should therefore be taken with a pinch of salt. If you have done your own research, took value into consideration, and feel confident about a bet, then you should always go with your gut.
18) Not Knowing the Horse and Track
As the name implies, this mistake is only relevant to horse racing betting, but since we see this happening so often, we thought it deserved a mention.
Many professional horse racing bettors advise to stay away from systems bets and tips and instead put more effort into learning about the speed, pace, and class of the horse to make a proper informed betting decision. You can visit the walking ring where horses are exercised before a race to learn more about the horse and we suggest keeping an eye open for bandages which may indicate a horse is injured or are simply there for added support.
On a similar note, racetracks also come with their own set of conditions which some horses are better adapted to than others. It is important to take all these factors into consideration as the state of the track can be just as important as the horses.
Sports betting is a tricky business where there will always be wins and always be losses. To maximise your chances of winning, you should always aim to avoid making unnecessary betting mistakes and by following all the pointers we listed in this article, we can assure you that you will be on the right track for a more promising betting experience.
Even though we have sought to provide you a with a full, comprehensive list of betting mistakes to avoid, some other mistakes are always to happen.
Do not beat yourself up if this occurs, just remember that every single player can make a mistake and the most important thing is to learn from it, and keep your head held high. It's very important to always gamble responsibly – begambleaware.org.uk is a good organisation that works to help give advice for those who struggle with frequent losses.