Six Common Sports Betting Mistakes To Make

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Common Sports Betting Mistakes

Luck is the most crucial factor determining whether you win or lose a bet, but it’s not the only one. There are differences between a novice attempting sports betting for the first time and an experienced professional punter. Those differences typically boil down to the mistakes they make or avoid.

Sports betting is not for the weak, and at the same time, winning is not do-or-die. Knowing when to keep going or back down is one of the learnable skills this article will show you. In addition to that, here are the other common sports betting mistakes you can’t afford to make.

Betting with Emotions

Betting, and specifically sports betting, is a highly emotional exercise. You can win a lot and lose a lot, but that shouldn’t matter for professional punters. What sets the pros apart from the amateurs is their ability to keep their emotions in check after winning or losing to avoid irrational bets.

An example of this phenomenon is a punter who places a streak of ill-informed bets because they got lucky with one. It’s common for beginners to believe they’re having a run of luck, thinking all their stakes for the day will win.

The same can also apply to punters having a bad run of form, as they may try to recoup some of the money they’ve lost by staking high on an unfamiliar team. They’re essentially relying exclusively on luck to win or lose games, a gamble that drastically reduces one’s chances of winning a bet.

Another possible way emotions can affect the outcome of a game is when the punter’s team is involved. It’s hard to think objectively and make rational decisions when you have a natural bias toward a team or athlete.

Here are a couple of tips to avoid emotional sports betting:

  • Research extensively

Sports betting may not be the same as investing in cryptocurrencies or real estate, but it’s not a luck-based slot game. Researching to gather information about the statistical probabilities of certain events occurring in a game is crucial to making informed bets.

Also, you want to understand how current events affect the odds of a game. A player getting injured or pulling out of a match may change the game’s outcome, but there’s no way you’d know without research.

  • Follow a strategy

A staking strategy just like what you have when you play poker, crash or blackjack at a casino helps you ensure you don’t lose money immediately after a loss by trying to chase your losses. A subsequent section in this article will explain more about betting strategies. Before then, you should know it’s not only about choosing one but also about resolving to follow it, regardless of the outcome of your bets.

  • Avoid teams you support

This step might be necessary if you lose bets involving your favorite team several times. When your favorite country, club, or athlete plays, you should always analyze their chances objectively and place bets that reflect the outcome of your analysis. If that seems impossible, you should ignore them while betting.

Choosing the Wrong Bookmaker

Thousands of online betting sites promise the best odds and an exciting experience once you create an account. Unfortunately, most of those sites aren’t worth trying, and a significant percentage are scams. Choosing a bookmaker that falls into either category is a huge sports betting mistake you can’t afford to make.

There are many drawbacks to selecting the incorrect bookmaker, and depending on the severity of the error, the damage it causes varies. If you only went with a bookmaker offering terrible odds and non-existent bonuses, your only punishment would be a difficult path to winning anything realistic.

On the other hand, a scam will rob you of your money without offering any reasonable path to recouping anything. If you can’t win, it doesn’t matter how much you research, how well you plan your bets, or how well you keep your emotions in check.

Thankfully, there are a few ways to tell when an online casino is a scam, even before signing up. For one, they typically don’t accept traditional payments at all. If a casino doesn’t let you pay using a credit or debit card, you should be wary, as even crypto casinos allow traditional payments. Also, most reliable online casinos have their license on their website for users to verify independently.

However, a wrong bookmaker is not synonymous with scams. If your betting platform offers considerably lower odds than the competition without unique bonus offerings, they may fit into our unideal casino definition without necessarily being a scam.

Using a Bad Staking Method

Using a Bad Staking Method

A staking method isn’t the same as a betting strategy; while one deals with how you structure your bets for maximum profits, the other only controls how you stake your money. While both are crucial aspects of sports betting that every punter should address, this section will focus on choosing a staking method and why you can’t afford to get it wrong.

Talking about staking methods, note that not having one is a terrible strategy. Naturally, humans are bad at deciding the correct amount to stake on bets without specific guidelines, which may lead to staking too high to recoup losses or too low on value bets.

Here are three popular staking methods for beginners that help avoid addictive betting tendencies.

  • Martingale Staking

The Martingale staking system is simplistic yet effective, as it involves doubling your wager each time you lose while returning to your base bet whenever you win. This strategy has many variations that all follow the initial idea above. The primary downside of this method is that it can cut through your budget quickly on a bad day. 

Thanks to the strategy’s popularity, there are tons of Martingale stake calculators online that will do the math for you each time. You can also conduct research to learn about variations you admire and incorporate them into your staking strategy for even better returns.

  • Fibonacci Staking

The Fibonacci staking method is similar to the Martingale system, except that your stake doesn’t increase as exponentially. Instead, you base increments on the Fibonacci sequence when you lose and return to your starting stake when you win.

You can get the Fibonacci sequence by adding the sums of two previous numbers. In this staking method, an initial wager of $10 will become $30 on the third consecutive loss, $50 on the fourth, and $80 on the fifth. The main benefit of this method over Martingale staking is that it uses your budget slower on a bad day.

  • Kelly Criterion

The Kelly Criterion staking strategy is a mathematically proven staking system designed to help you maximize your potential earnings without breaking the bank. However, the fact that you need to work out an equation to get the amount you must stake each time is one of the reasons it’s not so popular.

You can work out your optimal stake using the Kelly Criterion using the formula “f = (bp – q) / b,” where b is what you get when you subtract one from the decimal value of the odds, p is the probability of winning, and q is the probability of losing. Of course, you’re calculating for f, which represents what percentage of your bankroll to stake.

Relying On Insider Tips from Untrustworthy Sources

We’ve all seen the Premier League insider with the three fixed matches we should stake on for an outrageous return. Obeying and acting on those insider tips is almost the same thing as withdrawing the equivalent of the amount of your stake in cash and throwing it up at the busiest part of New York City on a Saturday; while there’s a chance you can get your money back, 999 out of 1,000 times, you won’t.

To understand why you should never listen to those “insiders” or “friends of cousins of insiders,” it’s essential to be aware of why they offer to help you with unsolicited betting advice in the first place. They get financial compensation from online casinos to generate paying customers, usually a significant percentage of your initial deposit.

So, these insiders tend to find high-paying games with disproportionately high odds at a specific bookmaker and urge you to act upon it to take advantage of the insider tip. Sometimes, those predictions are correct, making you look like an idiot for not acting upon them.

As for insiders finding exclusive deals, you should know that insiders don’t go about tipping strangers about fixed games. Even if one existed, your source’s nephew would be the last person to know, even if they worked anywhere close to the position they claim.

As for the occasional correct prediction, on the other hand, there’s this saying about infinite monkeys on infinite typewriters eventually coming up with the complete works of Shakespeare. By that analogy, if many wrong tipsters keep making unfounded predictions, one of them will eventually come to pass; that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re legit.

Ignoring or Not Understanding Your Biases

Earlier, we mentioned managing your bias when staking on sports games, as sports punters tend to be biased toward or against specific teams. Strong support for or opposition to a club or athlete may impede rational thinking, effectively disqualifying you from being able to make correct and objective betting decisions about events involving them.

However, a bias for individuals is only one item on a long list of conditions that may impede your ability to make rational decisions. For instance, the confirmation bias and the gambler’s fallacy, among others, set you up for a losing bet.

Sure, it’s easy to decide not to bet on your favorite or least favorite athlete or sports team, but that’s only one of the ways to avoid this mistake. Here are the other ways to avoid having your biases impede your sense of judgment when placing a bet.

  • Never Skip Research

Most punters go ahead and stake money when a prediction matches their biases, considering the bet to be a no-brainer. However, it may be one of the worst betting decisions you’ll make, as it’s essentially trusting your gut instincts instead of structured research.

Before placing any bet, consider researching to see if it’s an actual no-brainer according to the facts. An elite team playing a weaker team may seem like an easy prediction until you learn that the former has nearly half their first team injured.

  • Recognize Trends with No Predictive Value

In the recently concluded FIFA World Cup in Qatar, smaller teams pulled some surprising upsets, like Morocco proceeding to the tournament’s semi-final round. Due to the trend, pundits started suggesting that it was the ultimate underdog tournament, leading to a situation whereby punters bet on the weaker team to win most matches.

Alas, the latter stages of the World Cup were predictable, leading to massive losses for bettors. The point here is that pundits highlight unique matches as if they have any impact on the outcome of the others in the tournament when they don’t, fooling punters into making losing bets.

Misunderstanding What Value Bets Mean

One of the most common betting recommendations for beginners is staking on value bets. However, evidence suggests that many punters, both beginners and experts, have no idea what value bets mean.

Value bets aren’t stakes with a high potential winning figure, as many misunderstand. It’s also not the bet with the highest probability of happening. Instead, it means that the chances of something happening are higher than the odds that the betting company gives.

This section isn’t necessarily trying to elaborate on the meaning of a value bet; the goal is to help you understand what it isn’t to avoid blunders. Misunderstanding them as high-potential winnings or the bet with the highest probability of happening will only cause a long losing streak or meaningless wins.


Punters typically lose more bets than they win, which is not necessarily a negative thing per se. However, what isn’t good is making beginner mistakes that make it difficult to recoup your losses when you eventually win. From cognitive bias to emotional betting, this article explains six common sports betting mistakes you can’t afford to make. Ultimately, responsible gambling should be your number one priority.

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