However you celebrate the holidays, whether it’s drinking lots of eggnog, playing dreidel games with your kids, or just relaxing and taking a little time off work, it can also be a great time to bet on sports!
For one thing, there is typically a lot you can wager on during the holidays. For another, you may have more time and money on your hands than you usually do, which only increases the pull you feel toward your favorite betting app.
But before you log in and start betting, it is worth taking a moment to slow down and think.
Betting during the holidays can be a blast, but if you walk in without making some plans for your schedule, money management, and mindset, you are going to blow through your bankroll faster than your kids will tear the wrapping paper off their presents!
This post will get you ready to bet profitably during the holidays, or at the very least, to avoid burning through your bankroll too quickly.
Don’t Blow All Your Gift Funds On A Few Big Bets
This is perhaps our biggest caution to you about betting on the holidays: do not throw away all the money you got by making careless bets!
If you received money as a gift from loved ones, or if your employer saw fit to give you a bonus to celebrate a year of your contributions, you may see it as “free” money.
You got that money without putting in hours of work for it. You had no expectation that it would appear. It simply did. You received something for nothing.
Alas, when we get something for nothing, we often tend to think of that something as nothing. At least until it is gone, that is!
Today it feels like free money, money you can afford to lose. But if you blow it all on one stupid bet tonight, tomorrow, it is not going to feel that way anymore. The loss will feel very real.
- What To Do Instead
Let’s say you get a holiday bonus a week before Christmas. Your first impulse is probably to deposit it right away and make some bets. But instead, you should give yourself a forced pause before you deposit any of the money. Decide something like, “I will wait for 10 days before I spend any of this money.”
Then, do your best to just go on about your life. Do not ignore the existence of the bonus entirely; it is okay to think about it now and then. But you should naturally find your attention drawn to other things going on; after all, the holidays are a busy and rewarding time.
The idea here is to let your brain settle down enough that you will no longer be subject to impulsive spending, or less likely to engage in it, at any rate.
After the 10 days are up, you can decide what to do with the money. By now, even though you probably will still be excited to make some bets, you will not feel compelled to do it by your impulses. It will be something you can calmly and rationally choose to do.
Once you deposit your money, come up with a plan for how to size your bets. A couple of options that might work include:
- Using the same bet size you always do
- Using a larger bet size, but not too large. And if you blow through the holiday funds, immediately drop back to your regular bet size!
What do I mean by “too” large? Well, it is subjective and variable. Basically, what type of loss is just too painful to consider? Would it be 10% of your gift funds all at once? 30%? Some other amount?
Whatever rule you come up with, just make sure you keep it. This should go a long way toward preventing regrettable losses.
Do Not Drink And Bet On Sports
Speaking of regrettable (and preventable!) losses, another of the biggest dangers during the holiday season to a bettor’s bankroll is alcohol.
In many households, drinks flow readily throughout the season, sometimes to excess. You may buy some special holiday drinks for yourself, and you might receive some holiday drinks as gifts. People who come over for holiday parties may also provide alcohol.
By all means, if you are at a legal age, feel free to indulge in alcoholic beverages (though not to excess). But think twice about drinking and betting.
It is a well-known fact that alcohol impairs judgment. The more you drink, the more your judgment can falter, and the easier it becomes to make foolish decisions.
If you drink and then bet, you may find yourself taking wagers you would never even consider while sober, or breaking rules you would never break when not under the influence.
- What To Do Instead
Obviously, you should not drink and bet. But that may be easier said than done, assuming you do not plan to abstain from alcohol.
Perhaps the best solution is to know your limits and be aware of your “tipping point” where your judgment starts faltering, and stop drinking before you get to that tipping point.
You could also do things like ask if any friends or family members are willing to remind you if you are about to drink to excess (though they may not appreciate being asked to do this).
If your betting sites offer self-exclusion tools, you may be able to use those to help you manage your betting as well. For example, you might be able to set a limit for how much you can stake on any given bet, or how much you can lose for the day.
That way, if you accidentally drink more than you were intending, and it throws your judgment off, you will have something stopping you from spending more than you intended (even if you still end up placing some bad bets).
Watch Out For Distractions
The holidays are one of the most distracting times of the year. Here are just a few of the distractions you will need to contend with:
- Lots of rushing around and planning and getting ready for holiday parties, gift giving, etc.
- The actual events you have been preparing for (i.e. parties, services, holiday traditions, etc.)
- Having relatives or friends over at your place, whether for an afternoon or overnight
- Kids running around playing with their shiny new toys
- The allure of your own shiny new toys
To some extent, distractions during the holidays are unavoidable. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. After all, all those holiday events are a lot of fun, and the important people in your life deserve your time and attention!
But what you don’t want is for those distractions to get in the way while you actively are trying to make your bets.
- How To Handle Distractions
Try and schedule your betting in such a way that it is not likely to clash with other things that are going on during the holidays.
For example, it is not the right time to bet when everyone else in your home is prepping for a holiday party. But after the party is over, perhaps you could do some betting later that night when others are tired and no longer likely to distract you.
You also can try to do your betting in a part of the house where you will not be bothered, i.e. your home office or study, with the door closed.
Be Realistic About How Much Time And Energy You Have
On a related note, there are going to be times during the holidays when you only have so much time and energy available. If you are not realistic about either, then you might make some mistakes when you bet.
Perhaps you spent all day getting ready for holiday guests. Your brain is scrambled by all that hard work. So, when you make some bets, you end up doing a poor job with your analysis or simply screw up when you fill out your betting slip.
Or maybe you are trying to cram some last-minute sports betting in before your guests arrive. But you are in such a rush that you again end up making mistakes.
- Managing Time and Energy
The solution here is simply to maintain awareness of how the holidays may be reducing your energy levels and the time you have to make bets. And then, be honest with yourself. If you know you are going to hurry, making you prone to errors, just don’t bet at that time. Wait until you can slow down, take your time, and make smart bets.
Don’t Assume The Public Knows What It’s Doing
You are not going to be the only person who is betting during the holiday season. A lot of other sports betting enthusiasts are going to use their extra time off to do the exact same thing.
That means you are going to see a higher volume than you often do, and the public’s voice will be amplified.
Nevertheless, the public is still the public, subject to hype and frequently misguided. Those weaknesses do not decrease during the holidays. If anything, they sometimes get stronger.
- What to Do Instead
Do not blindly follow suit with your bets. In fact, sometimes, betting against the public may be a great idea (assuming your analysis lines up with that plan).
Also, keep a close eye on the odds, which may fluctuate dramatically at times depending on what the public is doing.
And in some cases, it might pay off to just avoid putting your money on events that are popular with the public. Those are the events that sportsbooks are likely investing the most into handicapping, which can make it harder to get an edge. Instead, you could try betting on smaller events that the sportsbook is not setting as accurate odds for.
Be Aware Of Psychological And Emotional Pressures You May Be Feeling
While the end of the year is a time to relax and celebrate, it can also be a time when you might feel some anxieties. After all, you are wrapping up a year and assessing everything that has happened, good and bad. You also are looking toward the future, as the start of the new year is just around the corner.
Sometimes, those pressures might be hard to deal with. You could find yourself with something to prove. Perhaps you are desperate to start the new year with a major win, which might tempt you into over-betting. In some cases, you may not even realize that is what is going on inside your head.
Here is another example. Perhaps your in-laws are staying at your house. They do not get along with you well, and are always trying to undermine you. You may feel desperate to prove that you are more capable and successful than they say you are. As a result, you might be tempted to take unusual risks while betting in the hopes of netting some big wins.
- How To Increase Awareness
Increasing your awareness of your mental state starts with what you are doing right now. Reading about the possibility that certain emotions and expectations you have not considered could be influencing you when you bet.
Now that this possibility is something you are aware of, you can make a resolution to be more observant of your mental and emotional state before and during betting.
During the holidays, try to do an inventory of what is on your mind. Are you stressed about your relatives? Worried about your job? Disappointed by your sports betting account growth over the past year, and impatient to make up for it now? Do you suspect something else is bothering you, even if you cannot quite identify what it is?
As you bet on sports online, monitor your thoughts and emotions. Try to figure out if some of your concerns may be influencing you including those you can identify clearly as well as those that are more ambiguous. If you think your ability to make rational bets may be compromised, take a break. Come back when you can make more rational decisions (perhaps after your troublesome in-laws go back home).
Take Advantage Of Holiday Promos
Some sports betting sites and apps may run special promotions for the holidays. You might find bigger bonuses than usual, contests, or other cool promotions. Grab these promos so you can enjoy some extra bonus cash and benefits.
- Make Sure You Catch Every Promo
How can you ensure that no opportunities slip by you? One thing you can do is always check the promos pages at your online sportsbooks when you are logged in. Sportsbooks update these pages regularly to show the latest promotions.
Another thing you can do is make sure you are subscribed to the newsletters for all of your sports betting sites. Check regularly to see if they have sent out any promo announcements (don’t forget to take a look inside your spam folder and your promotions tab).
Don’t Miss Out On Time With Loved Ones
In this guide, we have focused mostly on how you can avoid making mistakes while betting during the holidays. But there is one more mistake you should try to avoid, and that is spending too much time betting.
Take care that what you are calling “being distracted” while betting is not actually a lack of priorities on your part. While you should find some quiet moments to bet without distractions, if your child keeps trying to get your attention, maybe that is because you are not giving them enough of it.
- The Bet That Always Wins
When you bet on sports online, you will win some and lose some. But when you put time and energy into being with your loved ones, that is a bet that will always pay off.
Section off some time in your schedule for betting during the holidays, but make sure you are also blocking off plenty of time to spend with family and friends.
Over the long run, the thoughts of the time you enjoyed with loved ones will be among your most meaningful holiday memories. In fact, if you do get a nice sports betting win, you might want to spend at least some of it on a gift or activity that will make someone you love happy.
Have Fun Betting During The Holidays
When you follow these tips, you can have the best experience betting during the holidays. Hopefully, you will finish this year with some successful bets, and get started on the next one with plenty of reasons for optimism.
Thinking about finding a new sports betting site this holiday season? Check out our recommended sportsbooks to discover some trusted online sportsbooks offering competitive odds and huge bonuses this holiday season.
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