When you first started betting on sports online, you thought that you had found your calling. Your sports knowledge was pretty solid going in, and you even have a strong understanding of probabilities. You were sure you had what it takes to become one of the pros.
But months have gone by now, and your account balance is still languishing. You have not really managed to make any substantial, lasting gains. You might even regularly be in the red.
What is going on? There are a lot of ways that sports bettors hold themselves back from really making it. I am going to focus this article on some of the ways that newbies sabotage their own success, a few of which may apply to intermediate and advanced bettors as well. Let’s dive in.
You are not joining enough sports betting sites.
You are underestimating the role of value.
You keep taking parlay and teaser bets and other wagers which are highly unlikely to win.
You still do not have a working betting method which yields reliable results.
You are not focusing on just one or two sports.
You are still letting other people tell you what to think.
Conversely, you are refusing to accept criticism or recommendations from those who know what they are talking about.
Letting other motivations (ego, emotion, etc.) get in the way of your sound judgment.
Your aversion to risk has put you into a “freeze” state.
How many sports betting sites have you joined so far?
One or two?
When you go to place a wager, how much shopping around do you do to compare lines?
Do you just place your bet on the first site where it is convenient to do so? Maybe the only site that you have actually joined?
If you do not have accounts with at least several different sportsbooks online, you are really standing in the way of your own success.
First of all, you are denying yourself a chance to shop for the best odds (see below).
Secondly, you may be missing out on all sorts of betting markets and bet types which are not available at the sole site where you are wagering now. You also are depriving yourself of lots of awesome promotions.
To remedy that, take a look at our top recommended sportsbooks online. Also check out bitcoin sportsbooks and Ethereum sportsbooks. Quite a few of the biggest bonuses these days are reserved for cryptocurrency bettors. So if you do not have an account with at least one crypto betting site, you are really missing out.
To make money as a sports bettor, you just have to know which team is likely to win a match, right? Wrong. You need to be able to spot value in terms of odds.
This can be a tough hurdle for newbie gamblers because odds are frankly hard for a lot of people to understand. Even experienced gamblers may not find them totally intuitive.
Admit to yourself if you find them intimidating, and know that it is perfectly okay—you are not the only one. But until you learn to interpret them and discover value in them, you will probably have a hard time advancing your sports betting career.
Everyone dreams about winning a huge amount of money all at once. It is exciting to think that with the click of a mouse today, you could be rich tomorrow.
But the only way that is likely to happen is if you take a bet which is extremely unlikely to win—typically something like a teaser or a parlay where you have a bunch of selections that need to be right in order to make money.
If you keep taking these bets and losing them over and over again, it is important to understand that you are getting in the way of your own success.
“But if I just win one time, I will be all set,” you might respond. “That will make up for all of my losses so far.” Well, that might be true, but you probably are never going to win that big.
In the meantime, you are just draining your funds and teaching yourself bad habits. You need to be realistic about this. If you wouldn’t expect it to work for someone else, it probably will not work for you either.
So switch from teasers and parlays to straight bets and other simpler types of wagers you have a solid shot at winning. That could make all the difference in the world when it comes to getting your account out of the red.
If you are betting without a strategy, you are doing nothing to help yourself get ahead. A lot of bettors make this mistake in the early stages. It may not even be that you underestimate the importance of strategy; it could just be that you feel like you can lean on your sports knowledge.
Knowledge of a sport is not enough on its own though to make someone a profitable bettor. Think about how many sports fans are extremely well-versed in the sports which they are passionate about, but who fail consistently to be profitable with their wagers.
There is a difference between a body of knowledge and the systematic application of that body of knowledge.
Imagine for example that you have nothing but theoretical education in your field of work, and then you are expected to just leap into doing a highly technical job. With no practical on-the-job-training, you have no reliable way to translate that knowledge into a system that produces reliable results in the field.
That is why hands-on labs, internships, and so on are incorporated into education. Knowledge must be systematized in order to be used effectively and dependably in a practical fashion. That is true in any field, and it is true with sports betting as well.
So if you do not have a system yet, get one or create one. That way you can actually leverage your extensive sports knowledge for profit. Until you do that, you will continue to get mixed results.
If you bet on a different market every day, you may be having fun exploring all the different sports you can bet on, but you probably will not get very far in terms of making money.
Even though all those markets are interesting, try to persuade yourself into betting on just one or two where you have specialized knowledge. If you are interested in betting NFL games this season then learn all you can specifically about NFL and it’s players. Don’t place bets on hockey and soccer just because.
For most bettors, that is an essential step in making forward progress. There is only so much you can fit on your plate all at once. Once you are more focused, you may find you finally are able to get the results you have long been after.
How many times have you second-guessed your own judgement based on advice (unsolicited or otherwise) which you have received? Maybe it is advice you got from your friends, or heard from a pundit, or read on a forum.
There is a lot of valuable input out there which can help you take your betting to the next level, but there is also a lot of advice which is frankly useless.
Sometimes the advice itself is bad. Other times, it might help someone else, but not necessarily you.
For example, someone might recommend a change with how you set stake sizes, but it just is not a fit for your personality where risk aversion is concerned. So while it would work out for that person, for you it just generates confusion and anxiety, which leads you to more mistakes.
Alternately, maybe someone has convinced you that a certain betting system is absolutely the only way to go. But it just does not play to your strengths. You will probably continually get poor results with it, even though it is a good strategy. It just isn’t for you.
While you should never get to the point where you turn a blind eye to flaws in how you operate, you also should not second-guess yourself constantly.
If you know that someone’s advice is not the right fit for you, let that advice go, and do your own thing. The other person might be a professional bettor making a million dollars a year, but it does not matter. That person knows one way to bet profitably—but that does not make them an expert on what will or will not work for you.
The opposite issue can hold you back as well. If you never pay any attention to the advice you receive, that too can prevent you from making progress with sports betting.
It can be really hard sometimes to get perspective on the challenges we are dealing with when we try to do it all on our own. We get stuck in our own patterns of thought. We have a hard time looking at a hurdle from a different angle, or using a strategy or tool in a different way.
Someone else looking at your difficulty however may come from a totally different perspective. He or she may think a different way than you do, and have insights which it would take you months or years to come up with on your own.
Why put yourself through years of trial and error in order to reach the same conclusion that someone else is already offering you?
Actually, there are a lot of reasons why people resist good advice. Sometimes ego gets in the way. Other times we might just despair at ever getting useful, workable advice, because it is so hard to come by.
Try not to miss out on the rare gems of great, targeted advice which are thrown your way. You never know—they could change the way you bet, and could even end up changing your life.
You are betting so you can make a lot of money, right? You might tell yourself that, but to really comprehend your own motivations, you need to look beyond your thoughts and emotions to your behaviors.
One might even say they are betting to become profitable, but if they consistently make unprofitable decisions when they should know better, there could be another motivation at play.
For example, if you are always betting emotionally, that could mean one of two things. Either you are just totally unconscious of your mistake in doing so, or you are valuing your emotional motivations more than you value profits.
Once you become aware that you are making a certain mistake, you should be able to make a change. If you find yourself continuing to repeat the mistake, it may be time to take an assessment of your values.
Most people are familiar with a “fight or flight” state. But did you know that there is a third common response to situations which induce anxiety, known as a “freeze” state?
A “freeze” is often what happens when you choose to neither fight nor flee under pressure. Because all options appear hopeless, you are simply paralyzed, hoping that the threat (real or implied) goes away.
Ideally, we would only encounter states like this when we are in immediate, concrete danger (i.e. when being pursued by a tiger).
A lot of people experience that same surge of adrenaline in response to fairly ordinary, everyday situations however.
If you are highly risk-averse and happen to be prone to anxiety, you may regularly find yourself experiencing a “fight or flight” response while betting. After all, your money is on the line.
Some people struggle so much with this that over time, they go into a kind of extended “freeze.”
Think for example about the bettor who has struggled with so many losses that she decides to simply take an extended break. She tells herself she is “working on her system” (and maybe she is), but every time she goes to place a new bet, she changes her mind, and decides to “keep working.”
This is someone who is neither willing to fight (place bets, engaging the process again), nor flee (give up on betting). She is just stuck.
So what should I do?
If you are in a situation like this, you may or may not be completely conscious of what is going on. You may even feel like you are working very diligently toward making progress, despite the fact that on an unconscious level, you are holding yourself back.
What if you do suspect you are in a “freeze” state? At that point, you will need to try to figure out how that might be influencing your choices. Ask yourself whether you have a rational basis to return to betting. If you do, you may need to learn to set your emotions aside. Is this easy? No, but it can be done.
Whatever is holding you back right now, there is a way forward. There are all kinds of barriers which hold sports bettors back from success. But many of these are actually within your control. See if you can work out what is standing in your way. You may very well find that is your own actions or inactions. If that is the case, it is within your power to take a step forward. Maybe you will finally achieve some of the progress you have been striving for.
More Great Reads