Sports betting stands apart from other forms of gambling games by being a game not primarily of skill, not of luck (though both are certainly part of it), but of knowledge. In sports betting, you put your knowledge of your favorite sport to the test and put actual cash down on the outcome of a game.
The more you understand how the teams or players of any given game are likely to do, the more you can predict the outcome and the safer your bet will be.
And yet, it’s easy to go very wrong and to lose some serious money. Here’s a short guide on how not to let this happen.
Practice Responsible Gambling
Though casino games, sports betting and a game of poker with friends may seem very different from one another, they can all easily pull you into a world of bankruptcy or crushing debt – debt that’s not always owed to the sort of people you would want to owe money to. For all forms of gambling, though, there are certain practices you can put in place to keep it a fun hobby rather than a destructive obsession.
- Set a budget – and stick to it! Take an honest look at your finances and decide just how much you can responsibly put aside for gambling and then stick to that amount. If you may have problems in this area, tell your significant other or other family members to keep their eye on your finances.
- Avoid taking credit at all costs. If you can’t afford it, don’t bet on it. No matter how much of a “sure thing” it is.
- If it’s taking over your life; taking you away from your friends and family and costing you work, stop immediately.
- On that point, if you feel like you’re becoming addicted, seek help immediately. Gamblers anonymous are easily accessible pretty much everywhere.
Know the Sport, Know the Players, Keep Up to Date
Seeing as how everything in sports betting depends on your knowledge of the sport, this one is obviously crucial. If you want to just put a couple of bucks on your favorite team winning their next game, that’s great, but for more serious sports bettors, you have to put your favorites aside and bet on which team is most likely to win.
Just as important as knowing about the teams and their past performances, though, is keeping up to date with all the news surrounding the teams, including backstage drama that might influence star or underdog players. Fortunately, it’s never been easier to find information on any team, any player, anything at all about any sport you can think of.
Understand How Sports Betting Works
Along with knowing the ins and outs of the sports themselves, it’s also very important to understand how sports betting actually works. It can be quite complicated with spread betting being especially important to understand (effectively, spreads are ways that bookies even the odds against two competing teams) so either make use of the many resources online to figure out at least the basics or, alternatively, make use of a bookie that makes these things plain.
Beware of Hucksters
Always place your bets through reputable bookmakers, whether online or in-person. Again, a bit of research might help you along, but the biggest online sports betting and casino sites offer secure transactions, 24/7 support, multiple payment options, and a certain transparency about where they’re based and how to get in contact with them.
Beyond just placing the bet and doing research, another thing you can do online if you’re new to sports betting and want expert advice is to consult a sports tipster. These services give you tips and insider information about upcoming games and they can be useful. Be careful, though. Free ones are almost never worth bothering with so pick a tipster that costs at least a few dollars and do some research (yes, more research) on which tipsters can be trusted. Here’s a hint, though: if they try to win you over with talk of a “sure thing”, run far and fast. There’s no such thing as a “sure thing” in any sport and if a tipster doesn’t understand that, they really aren’t worth listening to.
Keep these simple things in mind, and sports betting can be a fun, rewarding experience that may pay off or may not, but won’t be such a loss that you will end up in serious trouble. Just remember, when it comes to sports betting, knowledge is key and responsible gambling practices are crucial.