5 Steps to Winning Your First Sports Wager

Silhouette of Man Crossing Finish Line With a Sportsbook Background

If you’re interested in gambling on sports but don’t know how to get started, this page is going to show you the best way to win your first wager. Once you learn how to win your first wager you can keep using the information on this page to help you win more games in the future.

Use the five steps to winning your first sports wager on this page to learn how to pick the right sport, and evaluate the games and lines so you have the best chance to win.

1 – Pick the Best Sport

Sometimes choice is a great thing and other times there are so many choices that it becomes overwhelming. When it comes to winning your first sports wager, the power of choice is a very good thing.

Not only do the sportsbooks offer lines on all of the popular or major sports leagues, but they also offer lines on many secondary sports and leagues.

The best choice for your first sports wager depends a great deal on the sport or sports that you like the best and the sport or sports that you follow closest. You should look for games in the sport that you know the most about.

Arizona Wildcat Player Running the Ball

If you don’t have a preference or specialty, I’m going to share a few things with you. The main strategy I teach for first time sports gamblers is to bet the moneyline on a home team that’s a big favorite to win. I explain why you should use the moneyline in the last section on this page.

This strategy can work in any sports league, but the two best choices in my opinion is betting on NCAA football and NCAA basketball.

Both of these leagues have games on the schedule every week where a home team is a big favorite over their opponent. Professional leagues also have games like this, but the talent gap is almost always bigger in college sports in these games than in the pro sports leagues.

2 – Players Are Important But Teams Win and Lose Games

Fans root for teams, but most fans also root for players and follow players. The best players on the team you like tend to be the players you like the most.

This isn’t a bad thing, but when you’re looking for the best opportunity to win your first wager you need to have the mindset of a sports gambler and not bet as a sports fan.

You need to concentrate on teams instead of individual players. Team sports are won and lost by teams, even if one or two players are dominant.

The best player in the world on a team can’t win alone. He or she has to have some help.

When you look for a single game to place a wager on, you must evaluate each team in the game as a whole. Look at the team statistics, and always look at the home and road splits for each team. The only stats that are important for the home team is how they play at home and the only stats that are important for the road team are the ones they produce on the road.

3 – Understand the Power of Home

In the long run, if you bet on sporting events regularly, you’re going to place wagers on home and road teams. But if you want to have the best chance to win your first sports wager, the only thing you should look at is home teams.

Home teams win more often because of many different factors, but the main reasons why don’t matter. The only thing that matter is that you’re trying to find the best chance to win and home teams give you the best chance.

Wide View of a Baseball Stadium

The next step is to find a home team that’s a big favorite. Home teams that are heavy favorites almost never lose the game. Even if they don’t play great, they still usually find a way to win.

As you’re going to learn more about in the last section on this page, you usually have to risk quite a bit more than you can win on these home teams; the truth is that this is your best statistical opportunity to win your first sports wager. And at this point, that’s all that matters.

4 – Decipher the Key Statistics

Every sport has key statistics that you need to look at when you’re trying to pick a winning team. The key statistics are different in every sport, and they don’t always include the most popular statistics.

Your job is to learn what statistics are key statistics and which ones aren’t as important when you’re evaluating teams and games.

I recommend starting with a sport or league that you follow and know a lot about. If you’re a baseball fan, you probably already know how important starting pitching is. If you’re a basketball fan you probably understand the importance of three point shooting and rebounding, but do you know how important turnover differential is?

Turnover differential is also quite important in football. Quarterback pressure and defensive pass coverage is also important.

Instead of looking at things as a fan, change your mind set to start looking at why teams perform the way that they do. Look at more statistics to see if you can learn the correlation between statistics and performance.

You don’t have to become a statistical expert to win your first sports wager. But you do need to become a stats expert if you want to be a winning handicapper.

Take the time to learn what the key stats are for each sport you wager on, and keep studying these key stats to help you win more games in the future.

5 – Choose the Best Betting Option

If you’re going to be a profitable sports gambler you’re going to use different types of sports wagers including totals, moneylines, and point spread. You can find games that offer value on all of these types of betting lines.

But if you need to do everything you can to improve your chances to win a wager on a single game, one choice stands above the rest. To understand why this is true, you need to understand how each of the three main betting types work.

A total wager is a bet on if the combined scores for both teams is going to be over or under a set number. The problem with total wagers is there are too many variables to improve your chances of winning too much on a single game.

UCLA Basketball Players Celebrating

You can make a long term profit with totals, but your winning percentage is likely to be under 60%.

A point spread wager has the favorite giving points and the underdog receiving points. A favorite can win the game and not cover the spread. Just like total wagers, you can win long term using point spread wagers, but your winning percentage is likely to be under 60%.

This leaves a moneyline wager, and it’s the best option if you have to win an individual game. The moneyline wager is only concerned with which team wins.

You need to understand an important point. This doesn’t mean that the best way to make long term profits gambling on sports is to only use moneyline wagers. But the moneyline gives you the best chance to win a single game.

The reason why there’s a difference is that when you use the moneyline to place a wager on a big favorite, you have a high percentage chance of winning, but the few times you do lose you lose a large amount in comparison to what you have to risk.

For example, if you bet on a heavy favorite at – 800 you’re going to win most of the time. But if you lose you lose far more than you can win. If you wagered $80 on this line and you win, you get back your $80 and you win $10. But if you lose you lose $80.


Winning your first sports wager comes down to simple sports betting strategies. Pick a sport that you know a lot about, find a home team that’s a big moneyline favorite, and place a small wager on the moneyline on this team.

This gives you a very good chance to win your first sports wager. You won’t win much money on your first winning wager, but it’s a good way to get started.

As you learn more about why teams win and lose you can make additional profitable sports wagers in the future. You might even be able to learn enough to make long range profits gambling on sporting events.