11 Sports Bets Every Gambler Needs to Avoid

Hand Rejecting a Sports Parlay Ticket

Sometimes you need to learn what bets to avoid just as much as what bets to make if you want to be a winning sports gambler. The pros know there are some games that don’t offer value, so they don’t bet on them.

Some betting situations are worse than others. And there are some bets that you simply shouldn’t make.

Here’s a list of 11 sports bets that ever sports gambler needs to avoid. When you know you can skip these bets, it gives you more time to find bets that offer value.

1 – Parlay Options

Many sportsbooks offer parlay wagers. A parlay is when you bet on two or more games at the same time, and you usually only win if all of your picks win. Parlay wagers look tempting because you can win a big prize when you win all of your games, but there’s on important thing to remember.

Sportsbooks aren’t in the habit of offering betting options that are profitable for gamblers. The sportsbooks make a killing on parlay bets, so you should avoid them.

Instead of betting multiple games on a parlay card, bet on each game individually. If you want to bet on an early game and use some or all of your profits from that game to bet on a late game you can, and you’re not going to be worse off than betting the two games on a parlay.

2 – Buying Points

Before you dive into this section, I want to be honest. Some professional gamblers buy points in certain situations, so it’s possible you might eventually find a situation where buying points can be profitable. But if you’re not already a winning professional sports gambler, you should never buy points.

Some sportsbooks let gamblers move the point spread by paying a steeper price. This looks like a good idea on many games, but the extra price you have to pay makes it too expensive. This is much like betting the moneyline on huge favorites. You only have to be wrong a few times to destroy your bankroll.

3 – Road Underdogs

I bet a lot of underdogs, but you have to be careful when you’re thinking about betting on a road underdog. Most of the value you find on underdogs is when they play at home.

Home teams have many advantages in every sport over road teams. You can see this play out every season in every sport when you look at the winning percentage for home teams.

Eventually you can learn how to evaluate games and find value well enough to find a few road underdogs that you can bet on, but I recommend avoiding these teams until you’re winning on a consistent basis.

Picture of a Crowded Sportsbook

Most of the road underdogs that I find value on are moneyline bets where the road team isn’t a big dog. I get more than I risk when I win, so I don’t have to win 50% of these games to make money. But I still don’t bet many road underdogs.

4 – Your Favorite Team or Teams

Stop betting on your favorite team or favorite teams. I understand that you’re a sports fan and that’s probably why you started betting on sports. But most fans can’t properly evaluate the teams they root for.

You want your favorite teams to do well and you know more about them than most people, but most fans have rose-colored glasses when they evaluate their favorite teams.

You can find plenty of other games to bet on, so skip the ones with your favorite teams. Your bankroll is going to be better for it in the long run.

5 – Teams on Losing Streaks

Teams on losing streaks usually break through with a win, but it’s difficult to predict when this is going to happen. When a team is on a losing streak, I always think they’re going to keep losing. In other words, a team on a losing streak has a greater chance to lose their next game than win in most cases.

The only exception to this is a unique situation in Major League Baseball. Home teams that are playing in the last game of a series and have lost the first two or three games in the series have a better chance to win. In MLB, teams rarely get swept in a series at home.

6 – Big Favorites Moneyline

In this section and the next section I cover teams that are big favorites. This can be a team that has a moneyline of – 1,500 or more or a team favored by over 10 points in most sports.

The temptation on the moneyline with big favorites is to bet the favorite no matter how much it costs because you can’t see how the favorite can lose. In other words, you start thinking that it’s a sure thing.

Anytime you think a bet is a sure thing you’re setting yourself up for a big loss.

You simply have to pay too much on the moneyline to win a small amount on these games. If you’re not right close to 100% of the time on these games you can still lose money overall because of one big upset.

7 – Big Favorites Point Spread

The main problem with betting on big favorites on the point spread is that teams just want to win. They don’t care if they cover the spread or not. In football a team that’s up my at least two scores doesn’t always do everything they can to add points late in the game.

If you bet on the favorite in football and have to give 15 points, you still lose when the team wins by two touchdowns. This is not a situation you want to be in. Instead of looking for value on the favorite in these games, see if the value is on getting the points.

8 – Road Teams Giving Runs on the Run Line

In MLB, you can bet on something called the run line. On the run line, one team gets 1 ½ runs and the other gives 1 ½ runs. The line also includes an adjusted amount you have to bet based on the run line.

View of Dodger Stadium From the Crowd

You can use run lines to find value in MLB, but you have to be careful betting on road teams that are giving 1 ½ runs. I recommend looking to see f there’s value on the home team getting the runs, and if there’s no value on that side skipping the run line on the game.

9 – Road Teams Giving Goals on the Puck Line

Just like road teams’ giving runs on the run line in MLB, you have to be careful betting on NHL road teams giving goals on the puck line.

When a road team has to win by two or more goals, it’s a difficult hill to climb. Hockey teams don’t care if they win by one or five goals, and when a game goes to overtime your loss is locked in. It’s simply not worth taking the chance on a road team in the NHL giving goals.

10 – Over in Offensive Battles

When two high scoring teams are getting ready to face off, most gamblers assume the game is going to have a lot of points, so they bet on the over. But the sportsbooks adjust the total up in these games to take advantage of gamblers making the over.

Look at the under for possible value when two high scoring teams are playing. If you don’t find value on the under, don’t bet the total. Instead, look for value on the moneyline or point spread.

11 – Under in Defensive Contests

The common belief is that when two teams that are good defensive teams are playing that the under is a good value. But the opposite is usually true.

In games with two strong defenses, the value is on the over or there’s no value. The sportsbooks know that most gamblers are going to take the under in one of these games, so they adjust the lines down.

When you’re evaluating a game with two good defenses, look for value on the over. If you don’t see value on the over, don’t bet the total on the game.


Avoid the 11 sports bets listed on this page and you’re going to save a great deal of money. Don’t worry about not finding enough games to bet on. Even if you skip these 11 bets you still have thousands of betting opportunities every year.

Use this list of bets to avoid to save time when you’re evaluating games. If you know which mistakes you need to avoid you can concentrate on finding other options that are more profitable.