13 Newbie Mistakes When Betting on Sports Online

Learn to pass on these common mistakes

Whether you are new to betting on sports online or you are new to sports betting altogether, as a newbie, you are almost guaranteed to make a few mistakes. In fact, there is a pretty good chance you will make most or all of the mistakes in this list.

Then again, if you read this list before you start betting, maybe you do not have to. Avoiding the missteps below will save you time and money and spare you from more than a few hassles. Let’s get started!

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1. Not doing your research before you join a site.

When you see that a website is offering huge deposit match bonuses and they have a lot of sports to bet on, it can be tempting to register and deposit money right away. Plus, the prospect of wagering online is exciting, and it is easy to become impatient.

This is not a good idea. If you join online sportsbooks without doing any research, you could run into issues with deposits and withdrawals, bonus policies, customer service, and so forth. Put simply, not all sportsbooks online are of the same caliber.

I suggest starting out by checking our recommended betting sites. From there, check out these sites yourself to make sure they are going to fit your needs. Only after you feel confident and well-informed should you register on a sportsbook online.

2. Only registering to bet on a single site.

The next mistake beginners make with online sports betting is joining only one website. This is certainly okay if you are a complete newbie and just want to get your feet wet, but at some point you are going to want to branch out and join at least a couple more sites.

Why? I will give you several reasons: Promotions, odds, and variety. If you confine yourself to just one site, you only get to take advantage of that site’s promotions, markets, bet types and features. You greatly broaden the possibilities by joining more. Joining double the sites means double the fun. Joining triple the sites means triple the fun, and so on.

As to the odds, one site might have the best odds for one wager you want to place, and another might have superior odds for another. Why rob yourself of value by joining only one site? Get set up with a few accounts right off the bat, and you will be ready to jump on every opportunity that comes your way.

3. Forgetting all about verifying your identity.

This is a very common newbie mistake, probably because a lot of new gamblers online do not even know the requirement exists. Not every sports betting site has this requirement (some bitcoin sportsbooks skip it), but most do.

What that means is that the site is not going to send you any winnings if they are not sure that you are who you claim to be. They need to protect themselves on a legal level and look out for their customers. That means ensuring that the person who receives a payout is who they say they are.

So do not skip this step or wait around to do it after you register. Get on it right away. Yes, it is a pain, but once it is done, you are a lot more likely to have a hassle-free experience when you request your first withdrawal.

While you are at it, keep some extra copies of these documents around in case you need to fax or mail them again in the future. Now and again, you may need to repeat the identity verification process. This is again for the site’s protection and your own. If your documents are at the ready, it will save time.

4. Not understanding the rules surrounding bonus abuse.

If I got a dollar for every post I see on an internet forum where someone reports that they were banned unfairly for bonus abuse, I would be rich. And if I got a dollar only in the cases where they were fairly banned … I would still be rich.

What typically happens in these cases is pretty simple. The bettor in question did not bother reading up on how the site defines “bonus abuse.” He or she then violated those policies without even knowing it. When the site brought down the ban hammer, it was just acting on the terms it had laid out.

It is easier than you might think to commit bonus abuse totally unintentionally. So do not make the mistake of not looking up the policies. Read them thoroughly, and if you do not understand them, it is always better to ask than to be sorry.

5. Ignoring turnover requirements for promotional offers.

Could be your money – don’t let them keep it!

Why are bonuses and promotions so appealing? Well, part of the reason is that they are just plain fun. And they can add value to the sports betting experience—but only if you understand how they work.

Unfortunately, a lot of newbies do not have a clue where bonuses are concerned. They think the appeal is free money with no strings attached but that simply is not how it works. Even “free bets” are not really free. You have to meet certain betting requirements in order to claim them.

Remember, the sportsbook needs to pull in a profit. So in general, most punters will end up losing more money than the value of the bonus as they work toward the turnover requirements.

Does it always have to work that way? Not necessarily—not if you are really good at what you do and you manage your money with care.

As a newbie, you will probably be losing money either way, whether you claim bonuses or not. You just do not want to request a withdrawal only to get angry when you find that your bonus or winnings are tied up in the turnover requirements.

So long as you are aware what is going on, you can avoid frustrations while trying to withdraw—and you can enjoy promotional offers fully without any headaches.

On that note, remembering that the bonus money isn’t actually yours until you meet the requirements also can prevent you from trying to wager it all at once with the thought that you have nothing to lose.

Think how upsetting the following scenario would be. You deposit $100, and believe you have received $100 totally free. So you wager $100 on a single bet, which you lose.

Feeling discouraged, you decide to withdraw your remaining funds. But you cannot do so, because you did not meet the rollover requirements. So the $100 that you lost was your $100. The $100 that remains in your account is the bonus money, which still does not belong to you.

Again, situations like this are totally avoidable. Just familiarize yourself with the rollover requirements, learn know how they affect withdrawals, and keep stakes conservative.

6. Having no backups in place if a connection or device goes down.

As a newbie, you are eager to get to betting, so you likely will just power up your main device and start placing wagers.

But what if something goes wrong? What if your device freezes or crashes? What if your internet connection goes down? If you were in the middle of placing a bet, what will you do?

Scenarios like these are not the end of the world. Still, they can be upsetting—and they may cost you.

Instead of making the mistake of relying on a single device or connection, consider having some backups ready to go. Switch on both your mobile device and your laptop or desktop computer. If it is possible to set up a backup connection, do that too.

7. Betting on obscure markets.

As you skim through the sports markets available to you to wager on, you may be amazed at how broad the selection is. You have already placed bets on basketball, football, baseball, and other common sports. So why not try your hand at something more unusual, like sumo wrestling?

The answer is simple, and that is, “Because you will probably lose money.” Unless you are an expert in sumo, you are unlikely to be able to bet profitably. You do not understand the fundamentals of the sport, and will not be able to make smart predictions or identify odds with value.

If you want to bet on obscure sports, that is totally your prerogative, but make sure that you keep those wagers in perspective. You are placing them for fun, and you should set your stake sizes on the small side accordingly. In general, you should stick with what you know if you want to make money.

8. Betting on a lot of different sports all at once.

This is another common newbie mistake while betting on sports. It isn’t confined solely to the online arena of course, but the huge selection previously mentioned makes it more tempting when wagering online.

With dozens of sports available to bet on, why wouldn’t you wager on a lot of them across the board?

The reason is that this tends to be unprofitable. Even if you are well-versed in a variety of sports, you cannot simply be knowledgeable on a sport to wager profitably on it over the long-term—you need to be an expert.

The only way that most people can develop that kind of expertise is by focusing a considerable amount of time and attention on cultivating it. That means setting aside all but maybe one or two sports.

Again, there is nothing “wrong” with betting on lots of sports. Just know that if you do that, you are probably not going to become a sharp.

In fact, I could say that when it comes to choices like this, the mistake isn’t the decision to bet on lots of sports simultaneously, or wager on obscure sports—it is simply in lacking perspective when doing so. So long as you have perspective, you are good to go.

9. Getting pulled into teasers and parlays without understanding the risks.

Speaking of perspective, a lot of newbie punters both online and offline love to take complicated bets like parlays and teasers.

This is another of those betting choices that isn’t “bad” per se—but it usually is not profitable, except in select situations.

So here too, you need to make sure you have perspective and understand the risk you are taking on. Do not go in blind. Learn more about teasers and parlays so that you can make the best use of these complex and high-risk wagers.

10. Betting based on emotion.

Don’t let emotions get in the way of your winning.

Making wagers based on emotion or “gut” instinct is a mistake made by new and veteran punters alike, both online and offline.

Newbies however are particularly prone to it, because they have yet to learn the hard way what an unprofitable idea it is.

Once again, I want to keep the focus here on perspective. I am not saying, “Never bet emotionally.” I am simply saying, “Never think betting emotionally is going to make you profitable.”

If your favorite team is playing in the championships and you want to throw some money behind them as a show of your support, there is nothing wrong with that. It is definitely an emotional bet, but that is exactly the point. You want to experience the tension and thrill of each moment, and taking a risk is part of that.

But recognizing that emotion isn’t a logical way to win your bets is important. It can add to the fun and excitement of sports wagering, but it won’t add to your bottom line. So long as you are aware of that, feel free to bet emotionally all you want.

11. Varying bet sizes for no reason.

For some reason, this is a newbie betting mistake few seem to be able to resist. I’ve even seen really serious punters adjust their stake sizes arbitrarily up and down.

I think the reason this mistake is so common is because there is always a “reason” which bettors can name for why they are increasing or decreasing their bet sizes, but that reason rarely is logical when examined through a critical lens.

I always think of a guy I used to know back when I was a newbie who told me I should only bet 3% of my account—good, practical advice. But then when I complained that I had a small bankroll, he said, “Well, just bet 10% for a while to build it up.”

While his advice might have sounded sensible on the surface, it was terrible. Thankfully, I figured that out without actually blowing through my funds.

Anyway, this is just one of the irrational reasons why newbies sometimes raise their stake sizes. Another reason is because a bet seems like a particularly solid one—but this should just act as a reminder not to place bets that seem substandard at all.

If your goal is to make money with your bets, keep those stake sizes modest and consistent. But keeping wagers small is wise even if your sole reason for betting is entertainment, since your bankroll will last through more bets.

12. Wasting money on “locks”.

Another temptation you may find yourself confronted with as a newbie betting online is so-called “locks.” A “lock” is supposed to be a sure bet, a wager which cannot possibly fail. You will find “locks” for sale everywhere online. There are a lot of scammers out there eager to prey on the high hopes of punters with unrealistic expectations.

Because no one can ever guarantee that any sports pick is going to be a winner (there are too many unpredictable factors to account for), you should not waste your money on “locks.”

Buying sports betting picks is perfectly okay, and can even help you be more profitable if you find a reliable source. But when someone tries to guarantee results, that is giveaway that they are out for your money and nothing more.

Save your hard-earned cash for building up your sports betting account instead. You will probably put it to far better use simply funding your bets.

13. Failing to plan ahead for how and when you will make withdrawals.

Finally, another common newbie mistake when betting online is neglecting to put thought into a withdrawal schedule.

The reason this is important is because withdrawing from a sportsbook online can be expensive, and may also involve significant time delays, depending on:

  • The site you are withdrawing from
  • The schedule the site uses for processing payout requests
  • The method you have selected
  • The applicable fees

If you are not prepared in advance, you could find yourself with a few issues:

It may take longer to receive your payout than you expected. If you need the cash by a certain date and you submit your request late, you may not get the money in time.
The costs can add up. Should you find yourself making multiple withdrawal requests where one well-planned request would have sufficed, you could wind up paying triple the fees.

You may not be prepared to deal with minimum and maximum payment thresholds. It is pretty annoying to go to make a large withdrawal, only to find out that you cannot withdraw the entire amount all at once. It is equally annoying to try and withdraw a small amount only to find that you cannot, or have to pay an extra fee.

Losing money and time because of a lack of planning is no fun at all—and it is an easy mess to get into.

I suggest that before you ever make a deposit, you learn how withdrawals work. Know how early you need to put in a request to get your money by the date you want it by, and find out how high the fees are. Schedule your withdrawals so that they are fast, convenient, and affordable.

Most Newbie Mistakes When Betting on Sports Online Can Be Avoided Easily

In this article, I have gone over a number of different mistakes which newbies commonly make when betting online. Thankfully, it is pretty easy to avoid most of them. Here is a summary of best practices:

  1. Do your research before you register on any sportsbooks online and deposit your money.
  2. Join more than one sportsbook so that you can enjoy better odds, more promotions, and more bet types and markets.
  3. Verify your identity before you attempt to withdraw money. I recommend doing this as early as possible.
  4. Look up the policies on bonus abuse, and make sure you do not violate them.
  5. Look up the turnover requirements for bonuses before you accept them.
  6. Have a backup device and connection ready to go.
  7. Bet on markets you are familiar with.
  8. Try and focus most of your efforts on just one or a couple of sports.
  9. Wager on parlays and teasers only if you understand the risks.
  10. Keep your emotions out of your betting, unless you are okay with losing money.
  11. Bet small, consistent amounts of money.
  12. Do not buy “locks.”
  13. Plan out your withdrawals to save time and money.

Follow those tips and you will make your life a lot easier and more profitable, getting the most out of sports betting online!


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