Top Sports Betting “Mistakes” That Are Not Always Mistakes

If you are a sports betting rookie, you can find many lists of common mistakes to avoid. On the whole, most of these lists are well-thought-out and accurate.

But there is a lot of nuance in the world of sports betting. So, today, I thought I would put together a list that is a little bit different.

Below, I go over some things that are commonly presented as sports betting “mistakes.” And in many situations, they are mistakes. But there are some scenarios where they are not necessarily mistakes at all.

Mistakes man, you’re going to make them. The idea here is that they’re not all bad!

  1. Accumulator bets

One common piece of advice newbie punters receive is, “Stay away from accumulator bets like parlays.”

An accumulator bet is one that includes multiple selections. You win the bet only if every selection you make is a winner. If just one selection loses, you lose your entire stake.

Think about how hard it is to consistently win individual sports bets. Achieving a ratio above 50% in order to be profitable is something not a lot of people can do successfully.

Naturally, accumulator bets are really hard to win. The more selections you pack in, the slimmer your odds of victory become.

  • When It Is a Mistake:

The reason a lot of people advise that rookies avoid accumulator bets is that some newbies get really into them.

They become excited at the prospect of winning a massive amount of money by guessing a lot of accurate selections. So, they make one parlay after another.

But since they just lose, again and again, they drain their bankrolls.

  • When It Is Not a Mistake:

In 2008, a fertilizer salesman in the UK named Fred Craggs made an eight-horse 50p accumulator wager on horse racing. His winnings were roughly £1 million.

The reason I am sharing this story is that it is a good demonstration of a way to use accumulator beds wisely.

Craggs did not bet a lot of money on this accumulator and was not a heavy gambler to my knowledge.

He got lucky and he won big, even without high stakes on the line.

If you treat accumulator bets the same way, you should be in good shape. The bulk of your bets should not be accumulators, and there is no reason to make really large accumulator bets either.

But you can think of making an accumulator now and again as not so different from purchasing the occasional lottery ticket.

Check out our top recommended online sportsbooks for making parlay bets.

  1. Prop bets

  2. No, not these kind of props you weirdo.

Advice against making proposition bets is not as ubiquitous as advice against making accumulator bets, but you do run into it now and again.

A proposition bet, or “prop,” is a wager that does not directly relate to the outcome of a match.

  • When It Is a mistake:

With some types of proposition bets, it is pretty much impossible to be strategic. For example, there is really no great strategy for figuring out which flavor of Gatorade will be poured over the head of the winning coach.

If all you are doing is placing these types of prop bets, you will probably end up losing a lot of money.

  • When It Is Not a Mistake:

There are many types of prop bets that you can be strategic about. For instance, you might know that a particular player tends to be the first one to score a goal in a match. If you have statistical evidence suggesting it is likely to happen again, placing a prop bet on it makes sense.

In short, if you have specialized knowledge, prop bets can allow you to put it to work for you.

I have written a detailed post on this topic. See Is Betting Prop Bets Ever Strategic or Just “Fun” Bets?

  1. Paying Attention To Your Instincts

As a rookie at sports betting, you will see more experienced bettors telling you that it is a mistake to rely on your instincts and emotions to guide your decisions.

  • When It Is a Mistake:

In the majority of cases, this is probably quite true, especially if we are using the term “rely upon” quite specifically.

What you should be relying on to make your betting decisions is data, analysis, and evidence.

If you are instead leaning on your gut to pick up the slack, there is no way you can expect to profit consistently.

  • When It Is Not a Mistake:

It is easy to brush off instinct and emotion as irrational noise. But it may not be ideal to discount them entirely.

The emotions you feel when you are betting may sometimes be telling you something important.

That gnawing feeling in your gut that something is wrong when you are about to place a bet may be worth considering. Perhaps you are unconsciously noticing something is off, but you simply have not spotted the evidence consciously yet.

Likewise, sometimes your unconscious mind may have spotted an opportunity before you can identify what it is through your analysis.

Flying by the seat of your pants repeatedly in these situations is not a wise idea. But if you have some extra time, you might want to delve deeper into your analysis to see if you can figure out what your instincts are trying to say.

In some scenarios, you might very well find out that what your gut was telling you has some foundation in reality.

Of course, there can be other reasons for your emotions. Perhaps that gnawing feeling that something is wrong reflects under-confidence and poor self-esteem rather than a problem with your wager.

Similarly, that gut instinct telling you to bet might reflect conceit after a recent winning streak rather than a genuine opportunity.

So, interpreting emotional messages can be tricky. One way you can get better at it is to pay attention. You do not want to bet based on emotion most of the time, but you should not blow off your emotions either. The more attuned you are to them, the better you will get at distinguishing the signals from the noise.

  1. Missing a Bonus

  2. It’s essentially your money, make sure you grab it unless you are sure you don’t want it!

Sometimes in lists of common sports betting rookie mistakes, you will see “missing a bonus or promotion” listed.

Bonuses and free bets can give you extra money to play with, but they do carry rollover requirements.

There are other types of sports betting promotions as well which may feature no rollover, just benefits.

  • When It Is a Mistake:

Frankly, missing a bonus is never the end of the world—but if you want to maximize your bonus cash, obviously you do not want to skip any promos.

Make sure when you sign up for your sports betting account, you do not miss out on the welcome offer, as it will not be repeated.

Even if you do miss out though, you can always claim refill bonuses later when you re-up your account balance.

  • When It Is Not a Mistake:

While a lot of customers love match bonuses, some avoid them on purpose. They do not want to deal with rollover requirements for match bonuses and free bets. That is not a mistake, just a personal decision (and again, even if you miss out on the first deposit bonus, there are usually other match offers you can claim later if you change your mind).

If that describes you, you do not need to be left out of promotions altogether! For example, BetAnySports (BAS) offers a wide range of different promos, including their popular “Less Juice Package.” Promos like this one give you a lot of amazing value as a customer.

And you know, speaking of bonuses, did you know that over at BetOnline you can get a Lifetime Reload Bonus of 25% when you use the code LIFEBONUS? Really, for all your life!
Also, make sure that you take a look at the “How to Bet On a Coin Toss in Space” to make sure that you’re ready for the next one!
  1. Betting On The Favorite

Newbies often see contradictory advice regarding betting on favorites. It is common to hear, “Never bet on the favorite.”

The thinking goes that the public tends to prefer favorites and bet on them, and that sharps tend to bet against the public. Therefore, logically, it seems like you should avoid betting with the public, and stick to underdogs.

Occasionally, however, you will read the exact opposite: “Always bet on the favorite.”

The thinking with this advice is that favorites are more likely to win. Therefore, you could imagine that always betting on the favorite might yield you small but consistent profits that build up over time.

  • When It Is a Mistake:

Betting on the favorite is a mistake when you try to make that your entire system. Often favorites win. But surprisingly often, they lose. Flukes are frequently decisive factors in sporting event outcomes—and underdogs do sometimes end up being undervalued.

If all you do is bet on the favorite over and over again, you might bleed money slowly, but you will lose money.

  • When It Is Not a Mistake:

“Always” betting on the favorite is a mistake, but that does not mean you should never bet on the favorite.

You should steer clear of situations where favorites are over-hyped. But if your analysis tells you that the favorite is a solid bet, it might be worthwhile.

Do not forget that it is not just underdogs that can be undervalued. Sometimes, even favorites can be undervalued.

For example, there might be a team that is only considered the favorite in an upcoming game by a modest margin, and the odds are set accordingly.

But you actually think based on your analysis that this team should be the heavy favorite. You think it is quite unlikely the underdog would win. This is a situation where there might be value to be found in betting on the favorite.

  1. Betting on Multiple Sports

  2. When you start out you may want to really focus on learning the heck out of one or two sports!

High on the list of mistakes for rookie sports bettors to avoid is “wagering on lots of different sports“.

The most common advice is that you stick to just one or two sports to start out.

  • When It Is a Mistake:

Generally speaking, I agree with the advice about not spreading yourself thin by betting on a lot of different sports.

Becoming a true expert in something usually requires a strong focus on that thing. If you are following and betting on half a dozen sports, especially as a newbie, yes, you are probably going to have a hard time making serious progress.

  • When It Is Not a Mistake:

I think as a beginner, it is probably always a mistake to bet on a lot of different sports, at least if your goal is to become a sharp.

But you do not necessarily have to confine yourself to just one or two. If you are already coming into sports betting with really strong knowledge of three or four different sports, maybe it does make sense in your case to follow and bet on all of them.

It might also potentially make sense to bet on a few different related sports, as learning about one could help you bet profitably on the other, and vice versa. Those who excel at systemizing might find this strategy effective.

As you gain experience and you get to the point where you are profitable with the sports you are already betting on, there also is no reason you could not feasibly add more if you think you can handle it.

  1. Not Planning Your Wagers

Finally, newbie punters are often told that it is always a mistake to wager without a strategy.

  • When It Is a Mistake:

If your goal is to make money consistently betting on sports, then yes, it is always a mistake to place wagers without a tested strategy.

Even with a strategy that works well, it is quite challenging to earn a living as a sports bettor. The win/loss ratio of professionals is not much more than 50%.

So, without a strategy, you would never have a chance at accomplishing your goal.

Don’t worry. Your wager planning should look a lot easier than this!

  • When It Is Not a Mistake:

The advice that you must have a strategy assumes that your motivation is to make money. But what if it isn’t?

The reality is that the majority of punters bet casually. They do so to relax, to support a team, to compete with their friends, or to make a game more exciting.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If your main purpose is fun and you do not mind losing money, it is not always a mistake to go in without a strategy. Just bet the way you want and have a good time.

Even so, it is important to always manage your money well and bet responsibly. So, even if you do not use a strategy to analyze sports and shop for value, we do suggest that you have a money management plan in place that you follow carefully.

You also should never lose sight of the fact that betting without a strategy is not a winning approach. But as long as you are realistic and responsible, you are good to go!

Start Betting on Sports Now

Much of the advice given to rookie sports bettors is true in all or most scenarios. But I hope what we have gone over above brings some nuance to some common “mistakes” for newbies to avoid. Context is important when making decisions about sports betting.

Are you ready to begin wagering on sports online? Visit any of our recommended online sportsbooks now to open your account, claim your bonus, and start placing bets.

And Make Sure That You Also Take a Look at These as Well!

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