There are generally two types of people who bet on sports. The first group is people who have some money to burn and enjoy the thrill of betting and being more engaged and invested in the result and the game itself. They don’t really expect to make any significant money with betting and it doesn’t hit them too hard when they’re on a losing streak. They bet with their gut and place bets based on very subjective factors. It’s an absolutely legit way to go about things in sports betting if you’re ultimately not in it for the money but in the end, these people are just gambling.
The other group is a way more dedicated bunch. They analyze game and team stats and stick to rules they set themselves. These people track their progress, play the odds and want to maximize their rate of interest. They view sports betting as a way to make money.
This article is aimed at the beginners of the second group. We want to make money with our betting and we hate losing. Don’t get me wrong, it certainly won’t be easy to achieve any monetary gain with sports betting, but there are some guidelines which will greatly improve your chances of success with this hobby. For the sake of simplicity and because it’s the sport I’m personally betting the most in, I will mostly refer to soccer in this article, but the basic concepts are viable with any other sport.
We will start with the most important lesson of all the little things that will follow: Be really strict with your bankroll management. The key to bankroll management is not going broke too quickly. You will have upswings and downswings in betting just like in Poker. You will have winning streaks and you will have losing streaks. It’s absolutely normal and everyone has them. It’s of existential importance that you’re not going broke during these losing streaks even if they’re lasting longer than they usually should.
Let’s say you have 100€ in your bankroll. You see a match that looks promising, you research a bit and come to the conclusion that it’s worth your money to bet on a win of the away team with the odds your bookmaker is giving you. The question now is how much of your 100€ do you actually bet? Long answer short: There is no set in stone right answer or the right amount to bet. Most people who are successful with sports betting bet between 1% and 5% of their bankroll on their individual bets, with 5% being on the risky side of the spectrum already. Now you might be thinking that 1% to 5% seems extremely low and tedious to bet with but remember that we don’t want to go broke. With a 100€ bankroll and 1% stakes, you’re betting 1€ on a single bet. That’s 100 bets you can lose in a row before you go broke. With a 100€ bankroll and 5% stakes, you’re betting with 5€ on a single bet. That’s just 20 bets you’re losing in a row to go broke. That’s a huge difference.
Sure, betting just 1% of your bankroll is more tedious and when you catch a special game and win your bet with odds of 5,00 you’ll obviously ask yourself why you didn’t stake more but that’s not healthy thinking. Be grateful for your win and move on. You also need to avoid chasing losses. It doesn’t make any sense to bet double the amount of your last lost bet to recover what you lost. Don’t let winning or losing get to your head and stay with your 1% stakes.
Stay Away From Low Odds
I’ve seen it time and time again with soccer betting. Someone thinks they’ve just discovered a brand new get-rich-quick-scheme and is from now on only betting on odds of 1,05. What a great idea. If the bookie is giving you these poor odds the favorite team surely must win! The reality is: No they don’t. Teams choke, they always do and even the absolute top teams in the world sometimes do. There’s nothing worse than betting huge amounts of your bankroll on the one or two games Bayern/Barcelona/Real Madrid lose every season, but somehow people still go for this system.
I just read about someone who plans to go from £10 to £100 with betting on odds of 1,02 or 1,03. He would roll over what he won with the previous bet as the stake for the next bet and be at £118.14 after 100 bets if everything went the way he wants it to go. That’s 100 bets in a row this guy is expecting to win. I probably don’t have to tell you how incredibly unlikely that is.
Let’s see why it’s a bad idea to bet on low odds. To do this, we have to understand what odds really say about a game. Let’s take an example of Team A versus Team B. Team A is a huge favorite in this match. If you’re expecting Team A to win every match out of an imaginary 100 matches played between these teams you would have odds of 1,00. You gain nothing because there’s absolutely no risk in betting when one team always wins. If you’re expecting Team A to lose 2 matches out of these imaginary 100 matches played then you would have odds of 2/100 or 1/50 or 1,02. The odds the system mentioned earlier wants to use.
It’s obvious to see that even as a huge favorite it’s absolutely possible that a team drops 2 matches out of 100 and it’s absolutely possible that your bet is one of these matches. You don’t want that.
I would generally stay away from odds that are lower than about 1,40 or 1,50. You’re only betting 1% of your bankroll and the monetary gain from winning a bet with 1,20 odds is nothing compared to the risk involved. Of course, these figures are extremely debatable and subjective but since this is supposed to be a guide for beginners I think it’s useful to provide at least some rules of thumb.
That’s it for the first part of our guide for sports betting beginners. Stay tuned for part 2.