10 Betting Tips for Beginners

Betting on sports comes with a steep learning curve. The sheer size of the gambling market, which includes professional and amateur leagues from all over the world, is intimidating to most bettors. Combine that with a wide variety of ways to wager on different sports and it’s easy to see why many beginning sports betting customers make mistakes. These are the top ten sports betting tips for novice gamblers. Apply these ten tips and you’ll be better prepared to start gambling on sporting events.

Bet What You Know

Not all bettors are sports fans; some sportsbook customers are gamblers first and fans second. But if you’re like most first-time bettors, you probably bring a little bit of knowledge with you. Each of us has our own library of sports knowledge and our preferences in terms of what sports we watch. The first tip for beginners is to start gambling on sports you know something about. If you’ve followed a particular baseball team for years, begin your career as a gambler with wagers on Major League Baseball. If you stay in the know about high school football prospects and, start with bets on NAACP gridiron games. You may learn more about other sports in the future, but in the beginning, stick to games that you already have an understanding of.

Consider the Timing of Your Wagers

Odds fluctuate over time. News about player injuries, breakthrough performances, and even the action of other gamblers all have an influence on the odds offered by a sportsbook. Deciding when to bet can be just as important as deciding how to bet. In most sports, prices are fluid; a heavy favorite’s odds may shorten the closer you get to the opening play, while a wager on an underdog can cost less if you bet far in advance than if you wait until game day.

Open Accounts with More than One Bookmaker

Online sportsbooks have different specialties – one book may focus heavily on European soccer leagues while another specializes in the NFL. Opening accounts with multiple sportsbooks give you more options in terms of odds and the number of games available for betting, and the widespread use of book-to-book funds transfers makes it easy to shift your bankroll between books if you need to.

Ignore Your Heart

We started out by telling newcomers to the world of sports gambling to stick to what they know. But there’s a difference between placing wagers on sports you’re familiar with and betting with your heart. Just because you attended a certain university or have followed an NBA team your entire life doesn’t mean wagers on those teams are the best move. It’s one thing to be a sports fan, another to be a sports gambler. Avoid wagering based on your allegiance to a particular sports club.

Understand the Impact of Downtime

Every team faces downtime, no matter the sport. Downtime affects different sporting leagues in different ways. For example, in the NFL and college football, a bye week gives a team time to rest and plan for an upcoming opponent. On the other hand, baseball clubs that finish a playoff series early and have to wait for their opponent’s series to finish are often out of shape or out of practice. You need to understand how downtime affects the teams you wager on, and consider how much time has passed between your team’s last game and the contest you’re betting on.

Hit the Books

Investing in a few books about the world of sports wagering will make you a more informed customer and can steer you towards strategies and concepts that increase your chances of winning. Plenty of good books on the world of sports gambling exist; look for titles written by experts in the field or authors with an understanding of mathematics, such as Sharp Sports Betting by Stanford Wong. Avoid the slush pile of eBooks that promise “can’t miss” picks or books written by people with no obvious experience in the field.

Establish – and Follow – a Budget

Determine how much money you can afford to lose and wager within that range. Various bankroll strategies exist to help people manage their gambling money – some will tell you to wager no more than 5% of your entire gambling budget on a single game, others may raise that number to 10%. Find a bankroll management system and stick to it, otherwise, you run the risk of betting too much per game.

Utilize Customer Service

Any legitimate online bookmaker has a staff of people trained in customer service. Utilize customer service advice to get answers to any basic questions that you have. Don’t be afraid to ask what may seem like a dumb question. For newcomers to the world of sports gambling, selecting an online sportsbook with an easy-to-contact customer service staff is of the utmost importance. Look for live chat options and toll-free phone numbers staffed twenty-four hours a day.

Start with Simple Bets

Between props, parlays, teasers, and The Grand Salami, sports gambling can get really complex. As a newcomer to the world of wagering on sporting events, you should stick to the basics. That means placing wagers on the outcome of games you’re familiar with, and starting with just a couple of bets to get your feet wet.

Participate in Sports Betting Forums & Message Boards

Locating a community of like-minded bettors is important, especially when you’re just beginning to gamble on sports. Forums and message boards where sports bettors get together to discuss their hobbies are easy to find. As you look for a forum to call home, make sure the board is active and caters to your favorite sports and wagering types.

As far as topics for discussion go, look for advice given by veteran bettors, an active back-and-forth between members, and an in-depth discussion of odds and the pros and cons of different online books. Talking to your bookmaker’s customer service department will help a little, but your new message board friends will be there to fill in the blanks, and for the most part veteran gamblers are happy to share advice with newcomers.

Give yourself time to get used to the way bookmakers lay odds, the actual interface used to place your bets and to understand the ebb and flow of sports betting profits. The ten tips above should help even the least-experienced gambler start his betting career at an advantage.

Michael Ross
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