How to Make Smarter Sports Bet

Student Giving an Okay Hand Gesture With a Sportsbook Background

Whether you’re gambling on football, baseball, UFC, or any other sport, every sports bettor should follow a set of basic rules to bet smart and win money. Even if you are new to sports betting, establishing a consistent system early could lead to success in the outset of your gambling career.

Gambling can be a rewarding and profitable challenge if you know how to approach the industry. But, If you find yourself losing more than you’re winning, consider following the tips below.

For those new to gambling, or even veterans who are reevaluating your approach to betting, here are seven tips to help you make smarter sports bets.

1 – Stick to One Sport

If you find yourself on a losing streak or feel exhausted while scouting and placing bets, you might be overextending yourself. High volume betting is an excellent method for experienced gamblers who have an established system that works for them. If you’re somewhat new to betting or consistently lose, I recommend finding one sport to bet on and stick to it.

The only way to win consistently is to find a system that works. By sticking to one sport for a stretch, not only will you begin to understand the subtle peculiarities of the sport, but you’ll also develop a more disciplined approach to betting.

Whichever sport you pick is up to you; it truly makes no difference as long as you devote the time and energy to understand better how to win money on the sport. In the sports gambling world, being a jack of all trades and master of none might sound more enjoyable in theory, but stretching your sports acumen too thin can lead to consistent losses and a depleted bankroll.

2 ‒ Use Flat Betting

When I first started gambling on sports years ago, I made every textbook mistake out there. My biggest mistake was habitually developing tunnel vision on one particular bet and unloading several units, convincing myself it was a winner. Rarely do those large bets go my way.

Gamblers are prone to find a line that is too tantalizing to pass on and delude themselves into thinking they can outsmart the book. When this happens, you can sustain significant losses and take yourself out of action more often than not. Instead of making a few large bets, you should be mindful of your bankroll and make several bets of equal value with a smaller amount on the line.

This practice, known as flat betting, is a practice that eliminates the potential of suffering significant losses and forces you to maintain a consistent approach to gambling. Even if some of these smaller bets don’t win, you can bounce back and turn to some of the other bets you place to recoup losses.

3 ‒ Make Small Bets to Start

On the same line of thinking, placing smaller wagers is a great way to familiarize yourself with a particular sport. The only way to learn how to beat the book and win money is to find a successful strategy. This strategy can only be developed if you are consistently betting.

NCAAF WMU Player Running the Ball

Smaller bets aren’t as appealing as one big bet that could potentially double your bankroll. But if a large bet loses and you blow past your bankroll, you take yourself out of the game and stunt any progress until you can reload your roll.

The amount you decide on depends on personal preference, but in my experience, betting 1% to 2% of your bankroll per bet works for me. So, if your bankroll is $750, each bet should be somewhere between $7.50 to $15. Once again, the amount is up to you, but never bet an amount you’re not comfortable losing.

4 ‒ Take It Seriously

At the beginning of any sports gambler’s career, the question of purpose needs to be asked. You need to figure out whether this is a side hobby to blow off steam, or if you’re sports betting to make money. If you fall into the latter category, you need to think of yourself as a small business.

Profitable gambling results from discipline, money management, and the development of a useful strategy. This strategy isn’t something you will happen upon by chance. Instead, it will come after hours of research and analysis about the ins and outs of whichever sport you decide to gamble on.

The most important factor of a small business is profit, and you won’t achieve profits if your books aren’t consistent. Make sure to utilize a bankroll: a daily, weekly, or monthly budget, so you don’t jeopardize your financial security. This point cannot be overvalued. Virtually every successful gambler sets a limit and doesn’t exceed that amount.

5 ‒ Don’t Bet Like a Sports Fan

When you’re deciding which sport or which team to bet on, remind yourself why you’re gambling in the first place. If you engage in sports betting to add some excitement and entertainment value to the games you watch, that’s perfectly fine. But if you’re betting to win money, you need to approach lines like a sports gambler, not a sports fan.

This concept manifests itself in many forms, most prevalently in the form of the hometown bias bettor. Betting on your favorite teams and favorite players might make sense to you. I mean, who knows your team better than you, right? When you bet like a sports fan, you open yourself up to potentially making emotionally charged decisions, rather than adequately vetted.

I rarely, if ever, bet for or against my favorite team. Not only do I recognize that I’m incapable of removing bias from the situation, betting on my team can ruin the experience of watching games. Don’t let yourself believe that your diehard fanhood will translate to gambling wins.

6 ‒ Shop for the Best Line

Unless you have the luxury of knowing a bookie, most sites and sportsbooks have built-in “vigs” or advantages in the lines they set. The house always wins, even if they lose, they’re taking a small percentage of your winnings as a standard fee. Because of this, sports gamblers are still at a disadvantage.

To try to lessen this advantage, you should make sure you’re getting the best value on your bets. Lines can vary between sportsbooks and websites, so you have the opportunity to find the best line and maximize profitability. Shopping for lines can be tedious, and you might think a small difference between lines makes no difference.

NCAAB Aggies Player Driving the Ball

However, if a book is giving you an extra point on a particular bet, that could be the difference between a win and a loss. Several well-reviewed sports websites all around the internet offer the potential of added value. Before you place a wager, make sure you’re finding the best line and best odds.

7 ‒ Research and Bet Sober

There are few things better than taking in a football game on Sunday with a cold drink in your hand: sports and drinking are a classic combination. Once again, gambling on sports and watching sports are two separate activities, and they should be approached as such. The best sports handicappers will tell you that a bet made under the influence can be a dangerous thing.

All the research and analysis you engage in should be conducted with a clear mind to make sure your decisions aren’t impaired. Sports gambling, like any other form of gambling, is challenging enough as it is. There’s no need to make it more complicated.

If you’ve placed your final bets for the day and want to reward yourself with a drink, make sure you don’t go down the rabbit hole of drunkenly chasing potential losses. This is where inexperienced gamblers routinely find trouble. To win serious money, you need to think of gambling as a second job. You don’t drink at your day job, so consider setting that standard for your sports gambling career.


Sports gambling is a serious business, and as a part of the betting world, you should take yourself seriously. Even if you consider gambling a hobby, it’s always more fun to win than it is to lose. New gamblers need to make sure to start on the right foot and themselves to a high standard.

Profit may be hard to come by in the early stages, but if you follow these tips, you will put yourself in a position to succeed. Make sure to start with smaller wagers on one sport, remove emotional attachments to particular teams and players, manage your money, and treat gambling like a small business. Following these tips will give you a strong base to learn about the industry and figure out the best strategy for you.