An Introduction to Sports Gambling (Mistakes to Avoid)

Handful of Money With a Sportsbook Background

The first mistake sports bettors make when they start wagering is not learning basic strategies. This introduction to sports betting will give you the knowledge to make profitable bets.

Many experienced bettors cringe when they reminisce on their first foray into sports gambling. In fact, most of us were among the “armchair QBs” that the sportsbooks make a killing from.

It’s breaking that mold that will allow you to profit and even prosper.

Today, the internet and the advancement of analytics have allow us to study sports betting like no other time in history.

Thanks to the advent of online betting sites, you may even become a professional sports bettor from anywhere in the world, without ever leaving your sofa.

Sports Gambling Is Not for Everywhere

Realistically, all you need to bet on sports is something to wager and someone to take the bet. It could be any event and for any amount.

If you wish to legally bet on sports, you have to be at least 21 years old and live in a region that has legal sports betting. It’s a growing movement in the United States, while other parts of the world have already legalized regulated sports betting.

If you live in the states of Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia or Pennsylvania, you may already bet to your heart’s content. You may even bet from the comfort of your own home.

The states of Mississippi and Rhode Island insist that you only gamble at the sportsbook. While New Mexico can be liberal — provided you aren’t betting on college games.

Beyond legal restrictions, anybody can enjoy sports gambling. In fact, sports betting has become so popular because it provides an avenue to engage in an event that you may otherwise not be equipped to participate.

You may not have the time required to play in a soccer league.

And perhaps your body just isn’t up for a weekly football game.

Spectators have been an integral part of sports since our ancestors wrestled for sport thousands of years ago. Few things can notch up the excitement level as when you have some skin in the game.

Stick to sports that you enjoy already. You’ll have the best results betting on sports that you know well.

If you’re a hardcore baseball lover, bet on MLB games. You’ll have much less trouble making educated gambling decisions when you are familiar with the game and the teams involved.

Brick and Mortar Betting Shop or Online Bookmaker

Before the early 90s, if you wanted to place a sports bet, you had to find one of the several bookmakers that operated solely through a small number of betting shops.

That all changed with the creation of the internet.

Suddenly a tremendous new revenue stream emerged for bookmakers.

Today, nearly all the largest bookmakers are online.

In fact, most of the classic brick and mortar bookmakers focus solely on horse betting or greyhound racing.

You may even do your sports gambling via telephone if you prefer, but most such transactions are reserved for extremely high stakes action.

Flexibility, profitability, and convenience have ensured the meteoric rise in popularity of the online bookmakers.

Horses and Jockeys Racing on a Track

In online sports betting, you can be anywhere in the world with an internet connection to place your wager. Whether you’re at work, on your couch, or even at a wedding, the bookmakers are there to take your action.

If that isn’t convenient enough for you, you can also place your bets 24/7. You won’t have to run off on your lunch break to the betting shop. Simply pick and click whenever it fits your schedule.

You can also find a wealth of information at the online bookmakers. From advanced statistics and opinions to game predictions and trends, it’s all at the touch of a finger for your enjoyment. Many bookmakers even offer all this in the form of an app for your mobile device.

Live betting is what separates the online sportsbooks from the brick and mortar. This allows you to place wagers on different outcomes while the contest is being played.

It likely isn’t hard for you to see the tremendous appeal of this feature and it is nearly exclusively available through the online sites.

Picking an Online Sportsbook

Possibly the most crucial decision is finding a bookmaker and picking the one that bests suits you.

The key factors that are worth careful consideration when choosing an online sportsbook include their reliability and swiftness of pay-outs.

Other important criteria are the bonuses and odds offered, as well as the variety of bets and events, customer service experience, and whether the website is easily accessible and user friendly.

How Odds Work in Sports Gambling

You’re now on your way to placing that first bet.

You need to know a few things about how odds work.

For starters, most bets around the globe are placed using a fixed-odds system. Gamblers like this because the bookmaker will set the odds ahead of the event.

What is the benefit here?

It allows the bettor to know exactly how much they stand to win off the initial wager.

Handicap betting is another phrase you will want to familiarize yourself with. For this type of bet, you need to correctly predict whether a team will cover the spread or handicap laid out by the bookmaker.

This spread is an advantage the bookmaker gives to the team that has a slimmer chance of winning the game. These spreads are often instrumental in how the bets payoff.

Many flippant half effort field goals have crushed bettors hopes and dreams in the flash of a leg.

Some Important Rules for New Sports Bettors

Sports betting comes with many of the same rules of thumb common to any other type of gambling. However, sports betting also comes with a unique bunch of rules that can vary by sport and bookmaker you decide to use.

More specifically, an individual sport comes with its own betting structure, as well as specific regulations for when and how to bet.

The websites will set forth their own rulebook on how you must bet and what constitutes a win.

So, carefully read all terms and conditions before you decide to place any bets.

Even if it’s a bookmaker you’ve used in the past, they may have different betting requirements for baseball and hockey than they do for the sports you bet on previously.

For participating in sports bets, the common rules of acceptable gambling apply. Those common rules require the following three things:

  1. No Cheating
  2. Don’t Influence the Outcome
  3. Pay Your Dues

Really, it comes down to this:

Use common sense.

And if you aren’t 100% clear on a bet, either ask and gain clarification or move on.

Never Pay for Picks No Matter How Good the Sales Pitch Is

Don’t be a sucker. Don’t sign up for any sports gambling subscription service offering daily or weekly picks.

Here’s a 100% free pick:

Those guys who claim they hit 72% of the bets they lay down don’t know anything more than you do.  They’re simply taking advantage of all the desperate gamblers out there.

Many of them might get better advice in a 12-step meeting.

NCAAF Running Play

Think about it though.

If you’re hitting 55%, that’s basically a license to print money.

At 72%, you’d have so much money that it would literally cost you just to make the effort to sell your picks.

You should strive to be able to handicap for yourself. Once you become familiar and more comfortable with sports gambling, you should be able to easily judge the value of a spread.

Ideally, at that point, you can strike and exploit any bad lines you recognize.

The people running those pick services are nothing more than snake oil salesmen.

Besides, where’s the fun in playing someone else’s picks?

How Much Should You Bet?

In the end, it’s your sole discretion how much to risk on a game.

But risk only what you can afford to lose. Sports gambling is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be ups and downs.

If you’re a beginner, try the flat-betting approach.

This means you are betting the same amount for every game and only putting  1% to 5% of your bankroll per wager. So, if you’re starting off with a bankroll of $100, you should risk no more than $5 per game.

Implementing a flat-betting approach helps hedge against losing your entire bankroll during a bad stretch.

It also sets you up for a huge return on investment when you’re on fire.


Much of what strategy you use will depend upon how much time you have and how serious you are about the matter.

As a beginning sports bettor, this introduction to sports betting will be a great start