Sports Gambling Mistakes You Should Avoid

Distressed Man With Sports Betting Board Foreground

Major sports in the United States are slowly returning, and with them, the potential to get back into sports betting. While it’s been nice to bet on marble racing and cornhole, let’s take a moment to appreciate that you have some real action to bet on.

If you are trying to break into the sports betting world to add to the excitement of the return of sports, there are a few things you should know. Betting is challenging, and the opportunity to make simple mistakes is endless, but don’t let potential errors dissuade you from betting. To make sure you get out to a fast start, here are 7 possible sports gambling mistakes to avoid.

1 ‒ Betting on Too Many Games

Sports betting combines two of the most entertaining parts of life: sports and gambling. When you take a potential degenerate gambler and toss in the potential for action on games, you get one of the more addicting types of gambling. If you’re new to sports gambling, you might find yourself hooked after one bet, especially if you consider yourself a big sports fan.

There’s nothing wrong with putting money down on sports, but it’s easy for new gamblers to overextend themselves and decimate their bankroll. Bets should be well thought out and adequately shopped to ensure you’re getting the best possible line. When you place too many wagers to chase a gambling high, you can open yourself up to put money on bad bets.

Unless you have a great deal of experience betting on games, you should stick to a few bets. This will allow you to find the best lines and correctly research potential wagers.

2 ‒ Chasing Losses

With dozens of different online sportsbooks and gambling sites in the internet age, placing a bet has never been more accessible. While the ease of access is convenient, it can also be troublesome for sports gamblers. After a tough loss, my first impulse is to try to get back on a winning streak. With just a few clicks of the mouse, I can put down more money to do just that.

NCAAB Players Celebrating

When you are gambling out of desperation, your bets will reflect it. Losses are part of gambling and shouldn’t inspire brain-dead bets that aren’t properly thought out. The dynamic of chasing losses exists in every type of gambling, whether it’s table games, horse racing, or sports betting. It should also be avoided at all costs.

One loss is manageable, heck even a few losses in a row are; losing streaks will happen. Don’t deviate from your plan and make bad bets for the sake of ending a cold streak.

3 ‒ Placing Bets With One Book

As I said in the previous point, this is the most convenient it has ever been for sports gamblers to place bets due to the sheer number of online sportsbooks. One common problem among inexperienced sports gamblers is a refusal to shop the line. Players might have a good history with one book and choose to do most of their business with that book.

By only looking at the line your book of choice has to offer, you are hamstringing yourself and not getting the best line possible.

Say you want to put money on the Texans over the Titans. In this hypothetical situation, sportsbook A has the Texans as underdogs at +1.5. However, sportsbook B has the Texans at +2.5. Sportsbook B is giving you an entire point more than sportsbook A.

Gamblers can become creatures of habit. When you find a casino that works for you, you stick with it. The same goes for sportsbooks. I understand comfort is critical, but if you become complacent, you are taking away the opportunity to place the smartest bet possible.

4 ‒ Betting on One Sport

Most sports fans have a sport they prefer to watch above everything else. For me, baseball betting is king, and I enjoy betting on America’s Pastime more than the other major sports leagues. As an avid baseball fan, I figure I know more about the game than most people and could use that knowledge to my advantage.

Betting on baseball is one of the most challenging things to do due to the game’s inconsistency. Unfortunately, it took several months and bad beats to come to this realization. If you prefer one sport over another and think your decades of watching games and accumulating knowledge will lead to wins, think again.

Choosing to bet on one sport deprives you of exploring other, potentially better options to win money. Being a fan of a game doesn’t mean you will be successful, and it’s important to distance your fan hood from your gambling decisions.

5 ‒ Betting on the Home Team

If you’re like me, then you’re a sports fan above all else. I’m from Houston and grew up watching the Astros and Rockets and still remember when football finally came back to the city in 2002. I started betting on sports in college and always remember the first bet I ever made.

It was the day after Opening Day in 2013, and the Astros were fresh off of a massive win over the Rangers. I went to school near Dallas, and all of my friends are Rangers fans, so I wanted to twist the knife and put some money on my hometown team to win back-to-back games over the interstate rival. Well, what I failed to consider is that Yu Darvish was on the mound, and the Astros were historically bad in 2012. They ended up losing the game 7-0, and I lost my first ever sports bet.

Betting on home teams rarely ends well because sports gambling shouldn’t be emotionally charged. When you gamble with your heart over your head, you remove logic and research from the equation. I’m not saying to never bet on your home team. If you’re getting good odds, go ahead and pull the trigger, but make sure to do your due diligence.

6 ‒ Listening to One Talking Head

The internet and TV are full of sports betting information from a variety of sources. Following the poker boom in the early 2000s, gambling became mainstream, while sports gambling and daily fantasy continue to gain popularity. Most major networks have taken notice and devote resources to provide gambling-related content.

If you’re a serious sports gambler, you’re probably familiar with some prominent industry experts, bettors, and gambling sources. These pundits are paid to research lines and figure out the best bets for their audience. Some are quite good at their jobs and are worth listening to.

MLB Astros Player at Bat

New gamblers or inept sports bettors can quickly become myopic in their approach to selecting lines by sticking to one source. Like I mentioned in the previous point, bettors are creatures of habit. If you hit on a few bets in a row you found from a source, you might feel inclined to continue to bet off their suggestions. By doing this, you are once again backing yourself into a corner and not exploring other, potentially better lines and gambling opportunities.

7 ‒ Drinking and Betting

Like other forms of gambling, you should be on sports while entirely focused and informed. Emotionally-charged bets are often made under less than favorable circumstances, as are bets picked and made while drunk. There’s ample opportunity to make mistakes when betting on sports, and drinking makes the process even more challenging.

Drinking and sports go hand in hand, and there’s no problem having a few cold ones while you watch the games you bet on. If you get in a hole and try to dig yourself out while drunk, you’ll most likely dig a deeper hole.

The best gamblers don’t drink and gamble because they know they aren’t at their sharpest after drinking. If you’re new to gambling or have been struggling recently, make the savvy veteran move and hold off on drinks until you place your bets.


When done correctly, sports betting is one of the most exhilarating experiences for gamblers. Mistakes are common at the beginning of a gambler’s career and should be limited where they can be.

Make sure to research your bets, so you are entirely prepared to make the best decision possible. The way to gain an edge on the book is to put in work, shop the lines, and don’t overextend yourself. If you avoid common mistakes and follow these tips, you will be ahead of the curve approaching future bets. Finally, have fun with it and enjoy the return of sports.