When you were new to sports betting online, you probably made plenty of newbie mistakes. Now you are a little older, a little wiser, and hopefully not making all the same mistakes you did when you were starting out.
But chances are good that even if you have been betting for years now, there are still some mistakes you are making on a regular basis.
The below list assumes that you are wagering to win, and aren’t completely casual with your betting. Let’s go over some of the most common mistakes that punters continue to make even with months or years of experience.
You Still Aren’t Spending Enough Time Handicapping
As you have gained experience betting, maybe you have spent more and more time handicapping and getting deeper into your methods.
If so, you should pat yourself on the back, because that is great! But there is a good chance that you still could be spending more time with your handicapping.
A lot of punters put in no more than half an hour planning their wagers. That isn’t bad by any means, but there is the potential to do more.
If you put in more time, you will be able to evaluate more factors and get a more comprehensive look at possible outcomes. You’ll also be able to go deeper into analyzing the odds to shop for the best odds.
So, while you might be spending enough time handicapping, it is worth asking yourself if you can do more in this department. If you are willing to put in some extra time, it can make a difference.
You Still Aren’t Using a Staking System
A lot of sports bettors are using money management systems, but it is estimated that around half of punters aren’t doing this at all.
So, if you are reading this, from my perspective, there is about a 50-50 chance that you fall into that category. If you don’t, you should again take this opportunity to congratulate yourself for not making the extended mistake of failing to use a staking system.
If you do not have some sort of money management system, you are obviously far from alone. But you are also setting yourself up for unpredictable and arbitrary outcomes.
If you are not using any money management system, you may sometimes have losses which far surpass your wins.
You may also be paving the ground for excusing yourself to make wagers you would avoid if you were using a staking system which didn’t allow you to vary bet sizes based on feeling more or less confident about potential outcomes.
It is also likely that a lack of a staking system also points toward a tendency to manage your money emotionally rather than rationally.
If you start using a staking system, you should notice improvements in your bottom line, assuming that the one you pick is logical.
If You Are Using a Staking System, it is the Wrong One
Maybe you are feeling pleased because you do have a staking system in use, but which one is it?
While many punters make the mistake of not using any sort of money management system at all, many others make the mistake of using a system that is actually costing them money.
A good example would be Martingale. With this progressive betting system, every time you lose a wager, you double your stake size for your subsequent bet.
Hypothetically, if you had all the time and money in the world, Martingale would be a profitable system. When you eventually win a wager, it will be hefty enough to compensate for all prior losses.
But if you do not have all the time and money in the world (and nobody does), the opposite is true. Martingale is ultimately faulty. This and all other progressive betting systems actually will ensure that you go bust, often much earlier than you might expect.
I do not want to turn this article into a detailed analysis of progressive betting systems and their problems, but I do recommend that you research into this matter if you are relying on a progressive staking system now.
Instead of using such a system, consider opting for a proportional system. Wager a small percent of your account (and by small, I mean like 1-2.5%) each time you bet.
If your account is growing, continuing to wager the same proportion will mean adding more money for potential exponential returns. If your account is tanking, continuing to wager the same proportion will mean preventing increasingly large losses from capsizing your bankroll too rapidly.
You Still Are Not Tracking Your Outcomes Sufficiently
What are you doing to keep track of your sports betting results right now? Probably something, but what?
Do you have a spreadsheet? Do you record your wins and losses? What else do you record? What stats do you run?
A lot of punters examine a single facet of their betting results, but don’t go any further than that in evaluating what they are doing.
With that being the case, they may not actually have a clue what is going on in their accounts, even if they think they are on top of things.
Imagine a situation where you only are keeping track of how many bets you are winning and losing. You’re getting a win ratio of 56%, which is pretty awesome in sports betting.
So, you figure you are doing well. If you are winning more often than you are losing, you should be able to profit and do so with consistency over time.
Maybe you add or remove funds regularly from your sports betting accounts. Sometimes you get the sneaking suspicion that something is a bit off, and that your betting is costing you rather than adding to your income, but you figure you just are confused by all the money you are moving between accounts.
The thing is, you could be right to be suspicious. It is entirely possible that even as you are winning 56% of your wagers, you are ultimately losing.
Try tracking how large and small your wins and losses are. Then, add up all of your wins and divide by the number of wins to get the size of your average win. Do the same thing with your losses to get the size of your average loss. Compare them.
It is entirely possible you’ll find that your losses are eclipsing your wins, and doing so by enough to offset the edge in your win ratio.
When you start keeping track of the sizes of your wins and losses, you can also begin to track your return on investment. You’ll be able to tell without guessing whether you are making money or losing it.
There are lots of other statistics which you can also keep track of as you are wagering. I recommend that you do so. The more information you have to analyze your performance, the more accurate and complete a picture you will get of your betting activities.
Using a spreadsheet, it is particularly easy, since all you need really are a few columns tracking wins, losses, dollar amounts, and reasons for taking specific bets.
Then you just put in a few formulas, and you will have up-to-date statistics available to you at all times to track your performance.
You Are Still Letting Others Irrationally Sway Your Judgments
Before placing a bet, do you turn to anybody else for their opinions on the wager you are thinking about making?
A lot of punters do just that. Doing so is not a mistake in and of itself, but it is easy to make errors in this area, for example:
Overestimating the ability of any given person that you turn to for advice.
Even professional commentators don’t always know what they’re talking about (and frequently don’t, or are motivated by other things, such as stirring up controversy and increasing viewership for readership).
Getting sentimental about whom you listen to.
Turning to family members and friends apparently is a common way to get advice on sports bets. But does that make sense? How many of us have family members and friends that really are experts in this area? Sure, it might seem adorable that your wife manages to correctly call from her gut numerous sporting event outcomes, but your wife’s gut is not ultimately a reliable and profitable sports betting system. The numbers will bear this out with time.
Allowing under-confidence to undermine your judgment.
Sometimes we lean heavily on advice from others not so much because we need it, but because we are so convinced we cannot stand on our own feet and our own hard work. It doesn’t help if others in our lives also want us to feel that way, and try to impress us with their own (real or imagined) expertise. Accepting advice in these cases can sometimes just reinforce our beliefs that we don’t know what we are doing, and serve as a crutch to prevent us from continuing to refine our own working strategies.
Complicating your betting strategies with extraneous input.
The whole point of a betting method is to try and give you a consistent system for generating profitable wagers. If you start introducing random outside outputs into that system, you will reduce its consistency, which could in turn reduce its effectiveness.
So, while I do think advice from others can sometimes be helpful, I also think it can often be distracting, misleading, and sometimes even undermine our psychology. It all depends on where it is coming from, why you are asking for it, and how you are using it.
As much as possible, you should learn to rely on your own efforts to handicap. A method which you can consistently apply for long-term profits is the key to betting success.
You Are Still Betting Emotionally
Another mistake which I can pretty easily guess that you or just about any other sports bettor is likely still making even after a long time wagering is betting emotionally.
Hopefully, you do not make this mistake regularly anymore. Over time, the lessons you have learned should have taught you that emotions are not a reliable source of information, and cannot generate consistent profits.
Furthermore, if emotions are allowed to ramp up too high, they can put us on tilt.
But even if you have learned those lessons and usually bet rationally and effectively, none of us are robots.
That means that any of us can be susceptible to emotional wagering, especially if we are having an “off” day.
Anything from a spat with your spouse to an argument with your boss at work to a headache could make you prone to emotional decision-making when you are placing bets.
The best thing you can do is just continue to be aware that this is a potential pitfall that you can never entirely leave behind you. It is always possible for it to crop up on the road ahead, and the biggest mistake is simply not being attuned to that possibility.
You Still Aren’t Balancing Sports Betting With the Rest Of Your Life
If you are no longer a newbie and you have become more and more serious about sports betting, you probably have been dedicating more and more time and resources to it.
The scaling of commitment and dedication can be very positive, and has the potential to generate great long-term results.
But it can also lead to a common mistake among intermediate and advanced punters, which is allowing life to slip off balance.
Sports bettors who make this error often are not aware that there is a problem until the dominoes start to fall. Here are some warning signs:
- You are waking up fatigued each day because you are sleeping less.
- You skip meals unintentionally because you forgot them or didn’t get around to them.
- Your spouse or kids inform you that you seem emotionally distant or unavailable for activities.
- You are falling behind on your day job assignments, and your boss is upset with you. Maybe you got a bad performance review, or feel like you are always scrambling at meetings.
- You can’t remember the last time you touched your old hobbies.
- You are starting to feel increasingly mentally and/or physically exhausted. Each day, you sigh, and think how tired you feel, and how you cannot seem to keep up.
These all point toward your life being out of balance. If you keep burning the candle at both ends, burnout is going to be the inevitable result. It won’t feel like a mistake at first, and before you start feeling stressed, you might feel invincible, ready to take on anything, but eventually, reality will catch up with you.
If that sounds familiar, it is time to work on re-balancing your life so that you are putting dedicated energy into your sports betting but also time and effort into other worthy aspects of your life.
You’re Still Not Making the Best Use of Bonuses
Are you claiming all of the valuable bonus offers which are available to you? And are you putting them to the best use?
Sports bettors often miss out on bonuses because they aren’t joining enough sites (more on that momentarily). They also might miss out on regular promotions, for example, bonuses available for depositing on certain days of the week or wagering on particular sporting events.
To keep up with these opportunities, you need to be actively checking for them.
Also, the way you use your bonuses matters. For example, if you get a free bet, instead of using it at random, think about using it for matched betting. If you haven’t considered this before, check into it! You could be missing out on easy money.
You Still Are Missing Some of the Hottest Bonus Offers and the Most Competitive Odds
Hopefully, the sportsbook you are currently a member of offers you some great bonuses and decent odds. But are you taking advantage of the best opportunities out there, or are you completely unaware of them?
It is easy to get used to your routine and forget to keep checking out new sportsbooks. But it could be that other sportsbooks you have not joined or are not even aware of are the ones offering the best odds and bonuses.
That is all value that you are missing out on. And when it comes to profitability in sports betting, finding the value is where it is at. So, think about taking a look at what some other online sportsbooks are offering to see if there are any exciting bonuses and odds out there just waiting to be claimed.
You Still Haven’t Joined More Than One Sportsbook Online
A surprising number of sports bettors just join a single sportsbook and stick with it exclusively from there on out.
It is easy to relate to how this might happen. You find a site which offers some nice bonuses, has an interface you like, offers the action you are looking for, and generally has pretty decent odds. You want to focus on your wagers, not on sportsbooks, so you just keep gambling there.
But if that does describe you, you really should consider joining a few more sportsbooks, even if you still end up doing most of your betting at the one you already joined.
The reason why is that this facilitates shopping the odds. You are much more likely to check odds at multiple sites to find the best odds if you already belong to multiple sites.
Such also ensures that you will not run out of time to seize on an opportunity. Say you are a member of half a dozen sportsbooks online, and have already gone through ID verification with each of them and keep some funds at each as well.
When you notice that one of the sites, (maybe not one of the ones you most frequently wager at) is offering better odds for a wager you want to place, you may be able to place a bet there right away.
Contrast this with a situation where you still are only a member of a single sportsbook. Shopping the odds may feel like a waste of time, because even if you spot an opportunity somewhere, you may not be able to get signed up, verified, and make a deposit in time to grab it.
You Still Don’t Compare Odds
Regardless of whether you have joined multiple sportsbooks or not, if you are not shopping the odds every time you place a wager, that is a mistake.
Finding value is the most important thing to do when you are betting on sports. If you are not placing wagers at competitive odds, you may not be profitable even if you are pretty good at predicting event outcomes.
So, always take a few minutes to figure out
- what competitive odds are for a bet, based on your handicapping, and
- take a look at various sportsbooks to see which (if any) are offering odds worth taking.
Get Competitive Odds and Bonuses for Sports Betting Online Now
Based on the common mistakes that even experienced sports bettors frequently continue to make, here are the course corrections we recommend:
- Spend more time handicapping if possible
- Use a logical staking system
- Track multiple stats, including your return on investment
- Be careful whose advice you take when betting
- Bet rationally, not emotionally
- Maintain balance in your life
- Check regularly for bonus offers at your sportsbooks, and make smart use of free bets
- Check for competitive odds and exciting bonuses on other sportsbooks
- Join multiple sportsbooks so you can make the most of opportunities
- Shop the odds when you bet
Looking for more trusted sportsbooks to join which feature amazing promotions and odds? Take a look at our recommended sports betting sites.
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- How Do You Manage a Crisis When Sports Betting?
- The 11 Personality Traits That Are Guaranteed to Bust Your Bankroll
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