9-Step Guide for Making Your First Sports Bet

Excited Man Holding Smart Phone and Sports Betting Website on a Laptop

My first decade of sports betting involved a couple of friends at school, playing video games, and betting lunch money on significant events like the Super Bowl or World Series. That transitioned to college kids sitting around a filthy house enjoying cheap beer and betting any cash we had laying around.

Sports betting seemed easy back then. There were rarely spreads involved, no expert handicappers I had to best, and definitely no vig eating away at my funds.

Things began to become more challenging as I drifted towards more serious sports betting in the casino sportsbooks. Suddenly, I was forced to overcome lines and fight the vig; there was a painful learning curve.

This 9-step guide for making your first sports bet will put you on the fast track to becoming an adequate sports bettor.

1 – Examine the Pros and Cons of Sports Betting

Before you place your first bet, there are several boxes you’ll need to check. This process will ensure that you’re not merely tossing money in the fire with nothing to show for it.

Most aspiring sports bettors are sports fans looking to add another layer to the way they enjoy sports. Having skin in the game is a fantastic way to increase the entertainment you receive from watching sports.

However, it’s crucial that you understand the importance of leaving your heart out of your betting decisions.

Next are the financial implications of betting on sports. If you hop in feet first and expect to immediately start making a profit, you may end up getting yourself in a challenging financial situation.

Starting slow will keep you from getting in over your head. Stay in the game long enough, and you could develop a profitable system of making smarter sports bets.

Once you have a legitimate system for making a profit, you’re on your way to the most significant rewards in all of gambling. Successful sports bettors can make millions upon millions of dollars.

Whether you aspire to amass a fortune or just add a little flair to your weekend sports watching, knowing your goals will be precious.

2 – Build a Sports Betting Bankroll

As a gambler, you likely know the extreme importance of having a proper bankroll. The bankroll will directly impact everything you do related to sports betting.

Ideally, you’ll only bet a maximum of 5% on any single wager. Sharp bettors will never wager more than 1% of their bankroll on any bet.

That ensures that they never get into much risk of going bankrupt in the midst of a losing streak. However, getting your bankroll into a position where you’re comfortable betting such a small percentage will take time.

The sooner you can build an adequate bankroll, the sooner you can start approaching sports betting like the pros. Modeling your sports betting model after the elite sharp bettors is sure to positively influence your overall success.

Buccaneers in Formation on Left Sportsbook Moneylines on Right NFL Logo On Bottom Right Corner

Start with a plan to replenish your bankroll on a regular schedule. Whether you make deposits on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis is a personal matter.

It’s vital that you have a sound financial plan in place. Otherwise, things could go horribly wrong for you as you reach $0 in your gambling nest egg.

3 – Select the Sports You’ll Be Focused on Primarily

Some bettors assume that they can merely head to the sportsbook and begin betting on any games they perceive to be a lock. However, sports betting isn’t that simple. When you head to the legit sportsbook, you need a plan.

Sports betting should be entertaining, but it shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg. Hopefully, you’ll develop an approach that enables you to make a profit.

One way that you can improve your odds is by narrowing your focus as much as possible. Ask yourself “Which sport should I bet on?” and then build yourself a gameplan.

Solely betting on one sport is excellent; betting only within a division is better; sticking to a single team may be the best.

The tighter your area of focus, the stronger you’re going to become as a handicapper. Choose one sport to bet on and home in as much as possible to a specific niche.

4 – Find an Appropriate Sportsbook That Suits Your Needs

After you’ve decided to become a sports bettor, built a gambling fund, and chosen the specific area you’ll focus on, it’s time to find a sportsbook.

Some of the decisions may come down to geography. If you live in an area with few casino options, you may need to shop between your choices for the best lines on the contests you like.

The popularity of online sports betting has opened the floodgates for new sports bettors to come into the picture. There are several tremendous benefits of online sportsbooks, so I’d suggest exploring your options.


Online sportsbooks will allow you to get the most from your sports betting endeavors. You can shop for the best lines at the tip of your finger and always be confident that you’re getting the most value for your wagers.

You’ll also enjoy the convenience of placing bets wherever you are on your mobile device. That means you’ll be able to take full advantage of late adjustments and get into the fabulously entertaining live betting.

Whether you choose a land-based sportsbook or an online site for your sports betting needs, take your time when making your decision. The sportsbook you select will have a direct impact on your experience, good or bad.

5 – Research and Evaluate Match-Ups Looking for Value

When you’ve taken the previous steps, you’re undoubtedly chomping at the bit to make your first sports bet with a legitimate sportsbook. However, there’s one more vital step to take in the process.

If you start rushing now, the entire body of work you’ve done to this point will all be for nothing. You need to research the week’s games and find the spots that provide the best value.

Your chief concern isn’t to outsmart the sportsbook necessarily. Your goal is to find the bets that provide the most value.

In other words, finding bets that will win most of the time. If you have a bet that you consider a lock 6 out of 10 times, there’s value there.

When a contest looks to go in one direction 7 out of 10, there’s added value. The more likely a positive result is, the higher the value.

Many newbie sports bettors get themselves into trouble by finding outlandish odds and talking themselves into the possibility that it could hit. They accept that it’s a long shot but can’t pass up the fantastic return; they’re greedy.

Don’t fall for the sportsbook’s trap; stick to games that you believe have the best shot of hitting at least 7 out of 10 times.

6 – Place Your Wager with the Sportsbook

Now that you’ve done a majority of the heavy lifting, it’s time to finally make your wager. So, head to the sportsbook with a small portion of your gambling bankroll and place your wager.

The attendant at the window will hand you a ticket, and you can settle in with a drink to watch the action if you like. Otherwise, you can head off for greener pastures and return to claim your cash prize.

Red Rock Casino Sportsbook

The process for online sports betting is different because you’ll need to make a deposit. Typically, the funds become available within a few minutes, and you walk yourself through the betting process.

In either case, the entire betting process is straightforward, and you’ll quickly get the hang of things. Congratulations, you’re now a legitimate sports bettor.

7 – Get Paid and Start the Process Again

After the contest has completed and assuming you’re a winner, you take your betting slip to the cashier, and they’ll pay you in cold hard cash. Cashing your first bet in a casino sportsbook is an experience you won’t soon forget.

I recommend you take your money and head straight for the nearest exit. Many sports bettors have watched their winnings disappear and then some by hanging around the sportsbook for too long.

If you’ve made your wager online, there’s no further action required on your part. The online casino will deposit your wins into your account, and they’ll be available for your next wager.

You should note when dealing with online casinos that the withdrawal process can take several days. So, you should be prepared to wait up to 10 business days before the cash can be back in your bank account.

This is why having a separate gambling bankroll can be such a necessity.

8 – Avoiding the Ban When You Reach Baller Status

Casinos are sore losers when it comes to advantage gamblers. The casinos understand that people will sometimes win; in many cases, they even celebrate those wins.

However, they don’t appreciate the bettors that consistently get the better of them. So, you can spread your action around to keep the sportsbooks from taking notice of you.

Online bettors should avoid making massive deposits, winning, and then withdrawing all of their funds. Keep the sportsbooks believing they’ll win some money back.

9 – Don’t Let Your Sports Fandom Ruin Your Sports Betting

If you hope to be a successful sports bettor, you must treat the discipline as a business. That involves keeping your emotions out of the equation.

People Sitting at Casino Sportsbook, Three Dollar Bills Spread Out

If your favorite team is the New England Patriots, the last thing you should do is start betting on the Pats. Keep your sports fandom out of your sports betting.

In Summary

This 9-step guide for making your first sports bet covers all of the areas I wish I had known before making my first bet.

Keep things simple and bet smart; you’ll be able to enjoy a long sports betting career.