Tips for Sports Betting
Sports fans are often passionate about not just watching but betting on their preferred sport(s). Here are some quick tips for those new to the world of sports betting to improve your odds of finishing in the black.
Keep a Cool Head, whether Winning or Losing
When you bet, you need to be psychologically comfortable with the fact that sometimes you will lose. This can happen due to a misjudgment, or due to bad luck, but either way, nobody finishes ahead with every single bet. It’s important to not overreact and get stressed when this happens, and it can happen in a streak. Some inexperienced or foolhardy players might respond by increasing their stakes to try and cover their losses, but being reckless with money is a very dangerous idea. If you’re altering stakes due to losses then decreasing them is a safer bet. Even if you finish ahead after hiking stakes, this may not happen next time and, if it doesn’t, you turn a big loss into a huge one.
On a similar note, it’s great when your bet comes off and if you enjoy a purple patch then your bankroll (betting funds) can increase pretty rapidly. But don’t get carried away. Giddy heads do not make wise decisions. If you enjoy consistent success over a prolonged period then increasing your stakes in a measured way makes sense. But don’t double your bets after a few wins otherwise you can very rapidly turn a green result red. On that note, a high level of success at a sportsbook means there’s every chance they’ll restrict your stakes to very low levels. At that stage, you may prefer to bet elsewhere, perhaps only using the original site for long shots and free bets.
One way around this is to make use of a betting exchange instead of a traditional bookie or sportsbook. Betting exchanges function by presenting markets and enabling bettors to determine the odds of both backing and laying (betting against) specific things happening. Because exchanges make their money as a percentage of your winnings, there’s no incentive to stop you from betting. Exchanges can also be very useful when it comes to turning a free bet from a sportsbook into a guaranteed win.
As a welcome bonus or a little extra for an existing player, free bets are often offered and are usually worth a modest sum (perhaps £/$/€1-10). These nice little promos offer a great chance to try and win real cash with no risk of loss. Better yet, they can be turned into a guaranteed profit with a spot of betting alchemy. If you back something that’s a purely binary matter (one team to win in a win/lose only market, for example) with a free bet and back the alternative with your own cash then the sportsbook will void your bonus due to contravening terms and conditions. But you can bet the alternative with a betting exchange. This is the perfect way to hedge your bet as every single market on an exchange has a lay option.
Similarly, slots and table game fans can enjoy plenty of welcome casino bonuses. Many online casinos welcome newcomers with promotions and bonus codes to make the best possible start. These are especially good for those who want to test the waters, either of casino games generally or a particular site, before depositing any money.
Picking Sports and eSports
The most straightforward approach is to focus your betting on the sport (or sports) you already follow. Not only will you know the rules and general state of play already, but this will make it easier to spot when the odds on a particular match, title or more niche market are wrong, presenting the opportunity to take advantage of excessively generous odds.
During the initial pandemic lockdown, the trend of rising interest in eSports was turbocharged as many traditional sports had their calendars disrupted and people stuck at home turned to watch pro videogames. eSports come in various types, and the most popular games are CS:GO, League of Legends, and Dota 2, but there are other games to bet on too. Including special events such as the Fortnite World Cup.
Sometimes it can be good to step outside your comfort zone, though. This can be especially true if you catch breaking news. Lewis Hamilton’s COVID-19 infection ahead of the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix presented a great window of opportunity to either back outsiders (including Perez, who won the race at 60/1) or back frontrunners like Bottas and Verstappen before sportsbooks can update their odds, and then hedge on an exchange to be green either way. If your friends are into different sports then this can be another good way to bet on other interests. And ‘sports’ can include not only regular sports and eSports but also TV specials (such as Strictly Come Dancing) and politics.
Safety First – In-play Hedging
Betting live (also known as in-play betting) does not suit every occasion but it can be an invaluable way to hedge your bets. You can do this either by setting up a hedge at unmatched odds on an exchange or by logging into a betting site and betting either as the play unfolds or during a break. Even in the unlikeliest of circumstances, this can be a good idea.
The classic example is halftime at the 2005 Champions League Final when Liverpool was 3-0 down to Milan and fans were leaving the stadium early in disgust. And yet, Liverpool leveled the scores and went on to win on penalties. Perhaps an even more unexpected turnaround happened at the end of the 2021 Formula 1 season. Hamilton and Verstappen were leveling on points so it was only a question of who finished first that would determine the title victor. All race long Hamilton had seemed dominant. But with a few laps to go, a Latifi crash, safety car, and Red Bull pit stop meant that come the (one lap) resumption of racing, Verstappen passed Hamilton to claim a shock win and his first title. If you stand to make a bundle and can bet a few pennies to cover any losses, this can be a good idea.
The most important rule is for experienced players as well as newcomers, though. Only bet what you can afford to lose, because even the most wisely judged bet can turn out poorly if the sporting gods want it to.