7 Golden Rules of Sports Betting!

This is the first in a series of articles on the 7 golden rules, first, an overview.

1. Understand the concept of value

This is the first and most critical factor! If you don’t have this, just walk away and leave betting to other people. Sure you might be certain that a 1.33 favorite is going to win, but are the odds being offered giving any value? Plenty of times casual gamblers say “There’s no way this team is going to lose this game.” Well they might be legitimate favorites but is the probability of them winning better than the odds being offered? Betting with this frame of mind is a little like saying an over-priced €1000 laptop was good value just because you really, really wanted it. Well it doesn’t work like that!

Value is a simple concept, but most of the betting public don’t understand this as it gets. Perhaps thankfully so, because it’s this naive or ‘square’ money that can skew the market, leaving great opportunities for the minority of gamblers who do know how to recognize value.

2. Possess basic math skills

If you’ve ever said the phrase “I’m not a maths guy but….”, then you probably shouldn’t be a betting guy either. While plenty of gamblers can make a success of it by betting on instinct and ‘feel’, to be successful long term you need a reliable staking plan and you need to understand what the odds reflect in terms of probability. In short, its a numbers game, and you need an adequate relationship with division and multiplication as a minimum.

If you think your math skills aren’t that great but want to bet anyway, learn how to use a spreadsheet and set up systems that automate odds equations for you, you’d be surprised how much time a good spreadsheet will save you.

3. Learn how the bookmakers set the odds

This depends upon the popularity of the event, but in general, bookmaker odds will be more a reflection of what they expect the general public to play, rather than on the actual probabilities of either outcome. Of course, it’s not quite that simple, but in general, bookmakers will set their odds so as to attract betting on either side of the odds, so as to balance their liability and take their commission.

This leaves smart gamblers to find great value opportunities where the general public’s opinion is just plain wrong. It also means that great value can be found on events where there is expected to be greater interest than normal by the occasional and casual gambler, who lets be honest, knows nothing or very little in terms of profitable betting strategy. Events like the Super Bowl, Cup finals and major horse racing events are prime candidates for this sort of opportunity.

4. Learn to forget the past and keep celebrations short

Don’t let a recent losing run throw you off your game. Put it out of your mind and stay with your analysis and have faith that the wheel will turn. Similarly, don’t let a recent winning streak give you false courage and lead you to over extend yourself. Again, stay with your analysis and stick with your plan. Got it? Let’s move to next one!

5. Learn not to go for the big score

Multi-bets, Parlays, Teasers. Whatever you like to call them, do not bet them. EVER. Sure they offer the promise of the big score, the big pay day, but in terms of value, they are terrible. You’re never going to win long term with that sort of slice being gouged out of your odds. Stick with single bets and think long term.

6. Possess a long term mindset

It would be great to get rich quick, but its not going to happen. Think long term. Build your betting bankroll, steadily increase the amount you bet on each game, and soon enough you’ll find you’re making some decent pocket money on the side, and maybe, just maybe, if you stick with it long enough, you can make a living wage out of it.

7. Build a reasonable bankroll

If you want to make money, you need to start with a betting bankroll capable of absorbing potential losses. If you’re going to bet in units, with an average bet of 1 unit, I would recommend a bankroll of at least 50 units. That’s the minimum. OK, so maybe you can only afford a bankroll of €500, which means your average unit will be 10€. Sounds small time I know and you want to be a high roller as soon as possible. Well, a €500 bankroll can quickly turn into a substantial amount with consistent value recognition and an intelligent staking plan.