7 Nightmares of Every Sports Bettor

Man Looking Up and Yelling Next to a Sports Betting Ticket

Gambling on sports can be a fun hobby, or it can be a painful struggle. One week you can be on top of the world, and the next week you can’t pick a winner to save your life.

And just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, your worst nightmare comes true. Here are seven nightmares that every sports gambler might have, and information about if there’s anything you can do about them.

1 – The Late Line Change

A late line change isn’t always a bad thing, so it’s important not to overreact when one happens. Your original wager might still win, and if you try to hedge your bet you might end up losing two wagers instead of one.

When the lines change, forget about the first wager you made. Evaluate the game with the new line and any new information you have to see if the new line offers any value. If it does, make a new wager. If it doesn’t offer value, don’t make another bet.

The other option is to not make any bets until a few minutes before each game. This has the added bonus of giving you as much information as you can possibly can to make a good betting decision.

2 – A Late Injury

A late injury to a key player can alter a game, whether it happens late in the day or week before a game or during a game.

When an injury to a key player happens during a game there isn’t much you can do about it. You do have the chance to make in-game wagers on many sports, but any in-game wager you make after an injury is going to have an adjusted line based on the injury.

This is another reason why it’s a good idea to wait as late as possible to make your wagers. This let you catch late scratches or injuries before you bet.

3 – Not Checking Your Betting Slip

Do you check your betting slip every time you place a wager? Most gamblers aren’t in the habit of checking their tickets, but this is something that you should do every time you place a wager.

It doesn’t matter if you’re placing wagers in a land based or online sportsbook. You need to look at your slip or ticket as soon as you place a wager. Mistakes do happen, and you only have a limited amount of time to correct them.

Person Holding Two Sportsbook Tickets

Few things are worse for a sports gambler than placing a wager, watching the game and thinking you won, only to find out that your slip or ticket shows a bet on the wrong team. And this is easy to avoid.

Never make another sports wager without immediately verifying that your betting slip or ticket is correct. This can help you avoid the nightmare of thinking you win when you actually lose.

4 – The Big Moneyline Upset

This doesn’t happen to pro sports gamblers as much as amateurs, but it does happen. You look at the moneyline and see a heavy favorite and think that it’s a sure thing. The problem is, in sports gambling there’s never a sure thing.

You bet $2,100 to win $100 on a big favorite and win most of the time. But the one time that they get upset it wipes out your profit from several other games. This is why it’s so dangerous as a sports gambler to make moneyline bets on big favorites.

I rarely make a moneyline wager over $500 to win $100, and usually look for value on the underdog on the moneyline. You can avoid the nightmare of losing a big moneyline wager if you never make one.

5 – Missing the Cutoff Time

This one is something that you can completely avoid with some smart planning. Few things are worse than trying to get a bet down and not being able to because the betting window is closed.

You need to make sure you know the exact cut off time for bets everywhere you place wagers. This includes in land based sportsbooks and when you place wagers online.

Always give yourself an extra five minutes to make sure you never miss placing a wager. When you’re placing wagers online, you never know when you might have connection problems. The same can be true for when you’re placing wagers on your phone.

When you’re placing wagers at a land based sportsbook, you might hit traffic or have to wait in line at the betting window.

6 – Getting Barred From the Sportsbook

If you can’t get bets down, you can’t make profits as a sports gambler. If you get banned from a sportsbook, how are you going to get bets down?

The first thing you need to do is keep a low profile. Spread your wagers around at different sportsbooks and try to avoid being noticed by anyone taking your wagers.

You should be able to place bets at many different books. I recommend having both online and land based sportsbook options and at least three of each. This can be challenging, but it’s the only way to protect yourself when you get banned from one sportsbook.

Be careful about having other people place wagers for you. I know that some gamblers do this, but it’s illegal in some places. And it can also be dangerous because you have to trust others with your money.

7 – Running Out of Money

The simple fact is as a sports bettor if you run out of money you can’t place any more wagers. And if you can’t make wagers, you can’t take advantage of games and lines offering value.

Wide View of Sportsbook Screens and Seating

You have to stay in the game in order to make money, no matter how good you are at finding value. The main reason sports gamblers run out of money is because they bet too much. In other words, they bet a higher percentage of their bankroll than they should.

The easiest way to avoid this nightmare is to bet a small percentage of your bankroll on each game. The best plan is to bet no more than 1% of your bankroll on any single game. And you should never bet more than 5% of your bankroll on a single event.

If you feel you have to bet more than 1% per event, use a range of 1% to 3%. And only use 3% on the events that show the highest possible value.


If you bet on sports often it’s almost impossible to avoid having some of the nightmares listed on this page. But with some planning and careful strategy you can avoid these sports betting mistakes.

You can avoid betting slip mistakes with the habit f always checking them, and you can make sure you never miss the bet cut off time with careful planning. You can also use some tricks to avoid running out of money.

You can’t avoid the ups and downs that come from late injuries, but you can take heart in the fact that these are going to even out in the long run.