How to Win at Sports Betting

Sports betting is just what it sounds like: putting money on an outcome of a sporting event. In the olden days, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, this meant placing a wager on who would win or lose, or how many points a team would score. Now, it’s possible to place a bet on almost anything related to a game, from the number of rebounds or turnovers a player will have to how many home runs a baseball team will hit.

If you’re not careful, your betting habits could get out of control and cost you your bank account. Fortunately, there are a few simple strategies you can use to bet responsibly and minimize the risk of losing too much. Here are some of them:

Start Small

Never bet more than you can afford to lose. This isn’t just good common sense, it’s an essential element of any sustainable betting strategy. You should also be sure to avoid making more than one bet per day, as this can quickly exhaust your bankroll. Instead, you should bet in units, which are small fractions (often 1%-5%) of your overall bankroll. This way, you can limit your exposure and still have a chance to make some winning bets.

Study the Form

Whether you bet on football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, or any other sport, you can use statistics and analytics to uncover hidden opportunities. For example, some teams have a tendency to struggle against certain opposing lineups. Or some pitchers have a difficult time overcoming certain defensive schemes. By studying the numbers, you can find situations where the bookmakers have made mistakes and bet on them accordingly.

Focus on Expected Value

Expected value, or EV, is the mathematical foundation of any smart sports bet. It’s the ratio between the odds that a book offers and the actual probability that an outcome will occur. Most casual bettors don’t bother with calculating EV, but sharp bettors obsess over it. It’s a major edge that sharp bettors can take against the bookies and is one of the few things that truly differentiate them from average bettors.

Prop Bets

Prop bets are wagers on non-game-related aspects of a sporting event. They can range from the obvious, such as the total number of touchdowns scored in a game, to the less-obvious, such as the color of Gatorade that douses a coach. While they don’t have as much predictive power as straight-up bets, they can still yield decent profits.

Prop bets are usually available year-round, although some are only offered in the lead up to major events, such as the Super Bowl. These bets generally pay out sooner than other bets, but the payouts tend to be lower. They can be a fun way to spice up your game, but they shouldn’t be the only thing you’re banking on for a big win. You’ll want to stick with the more reliable bets for consistent profit.