How to avoid the bookmaker’s mug bets

How to avoid the bookmaker’s mug bets

In the UK this week, newspaper headlines have been dominated by the Chancellor’s budget ahead of a very tight general election. One little piece of information hidden in the small print was the introduction of a horse racing rights tax as a replacement to the previous horse racing levy that many bookies had avoided paying by routing funds through offshore operations. This new tax comes on top of a recently introduced offshore betting tax that will mean bookmakers pay fees based on where their customers are, not where they are based.

So what’s the upshot of these changes?

Bookmakers will be even more desperate for your money!

Analysts reacted to the news by predicting an even more aggressive land grab for business. This means more offers for new joiners and an even bigger push for you to take up the bets they want you to take.

The average punter will need to be even more savvy to avoid the bookmaker traps, but thankfully you already have a potential leg up with the huge selection of profitable tipsters available on

To keep your head above water, you also need to know the following:

1) What to bet on; and more importantly

2) What not to bet on.

As punters, we often waste so much money on bets that we should quite simply just avoid.  So what kind of bets – however attractive they seem on paper – should a punter avoid at all costs?

Here then, are 7 tips on avoiding so called ‘mug bets’ that the bookmakers want you to bet on.

1.     AVOID Casino bets

There are very few pure bookmakers out there nowadays, so credit to the likes of Pinnacle Sports and Smarkets for keeping their focus on their core offering not exchange games or the casino.

The truth is that some bookmakers are not interested in your sports betting, they just want to you channel you through their most profitable funnel and that is the casino or games. The average margin a bookmaker makes on sports punter varies between 5 and 10%, but this can double when you include casino revenue.

There is quite simply only one outcome in the long run when it comes to betting on casinos and that’s to increase a bookmaker’s pension fund, not yours!

2. AVOID Bets the bookies push on you

Ex-bookmaker Phil Brown knows a thing or two about how bookies make their money and his advice is to avoid “The classical billboard/shop window advertising bets that the bookmaker wants you to place. These are usually bets such as score-casts which offer around half the odds you should be getting.” Remember if the bookies want you to place a bet, it’s because it makes them money!

3. AVOID Bets where the market offers no value

Checking out the margins on any given book is another top tip – Avoid any bet in a market that has an over round of more than 3% of more when sports betting. Some odds comparison sites such as will display a market’s overround for you (sometimes as numbers below 100% so 97% = a 3% margin). If the bookies are taking a big cut you’ve got to beat them just to breakeven.

4. Avoid Bets Where You Don’t Cut It!

Being honest and eliminating bets where you just don’t cut the mustard another tip from the betting school of hard knocks.

For example, professional punter Goran Trpevski learnt to recognise how poor he was at under 2.5 goals markets and its paid dividends as he explains… “I am perhaps the worst on this planet for picking under 2.5 goals. I stopped playing unders a long time ago and then some 6 months ago I was very confident one game would go under. Inter v Palermo on a rainy San Siro and it finished 6-4!”.

“However, (the good news) is that I know I am bad in this area, 99% of the punters don’t even know what they are good or bad on. I am a fantastic punter, but I also know where I struggle and that’s a great start. Use your strengths and hide your weaknesses.“

You’ll only start to realise where your strengths and weaknesses lie over time. This is why keeping a detailed record of all your bets is so important.

5. AVOID Overstaking

One quick way to lose money is by simply betting too much and not working to a set plan or betting bank. Overstaking is one of the most common mistakes people make betting and it very rarely works out in their favour.

If you experience a bad run, the last thing you should do is increase your stakes to recover your losses.

6. AVOID Obvious Favourites

Avoid the big favourites and the bets that just seem too easy and obvious. The unexpected can happen and happens more often than you think. Think Burnley can’t do the double over Manchester City in the Premier League? Think again! At the extremely low prices, most favourites are not worth the risk.

7. AVOID Accumulators

The weekend coupon is a bookmaker’s bread and butter. For many groups and sports teams across the country, the simplicity of ticking numerous teams on the coupon is a bit of fun and like the lottery offers the chance of a big pay-off from a small initial stake.

The problem is that, like the lottery, the weekend acca is stacked heavily against you. By offering such easy betting, the bookie often offers poor odds. By taking multiple bad bets, you’re multiplying the poor value and therefore the likelihood of you earning money in the long run.

In conclusion

In conclusion, we often focus on the bets we should be taking, but by avoiding more of the bad bets is just as if not more important.

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