man looking at Sport News on his tablet

It has certainly been a long time since we could immerse ourselves in spectator sports.  As sports slowly come back, so will the ubiquitous sportbet.  We will still be able to place a “sports bet” on political elections, Hollywood and Bollywood, and many other fun betting choices.  What we no longer will have to think about betting on is the weather and all of the other silly things people bet on during the hiatus in real sports activity because of the virus crisis.

Sports betting is a multi-billion dollar business just in North America!  So, we know that many erstwhile sports bettors will be returning to the sports betting arena soon!  Still, we also know that with the advent of online sports betting, there will be many beginning sports bettors placing their first sports bets!

Here is a quick guide to sports betting for beginners.

Understand Who Bookmakers Are

Bookmakers are businesspeople who set a “line” for the expected winner and expected loser of any given sporting event.  The overwhelming number, by far, of sporting events are just workaday games and matches. 

In most cases, the people who truly care about every day games are the fans of the teams or athletes involved, sports bettors, and book makers.  The book makers may love sports but, as bookmakers, they have to be cold and calculating when they set the line for a game, match, or tournament.

A sports bettor who is not equally as cold and calculating as the bookmaker will almost always end up losing quite a bit more than they should lose.  That’s because sentimentality and sports betting do not go together well!

How to be Cold and Calculating

So, even before we talk about the different types of sports and the different types of sports bets, we need to find out if we can actually make reasoned bets based on logic, calculation, observation, analysis, and acceptance of reality.

That is what we mean by being cold and calculating.  It is fine to go to the stadium and root for your favorite team.  Go ahead; scream your head off!  It is also okay to place penny bets with the person sitting next to you on what might happen in the next few moments.

Will the football (soccer) player pass the ball to the left or to the right?  If you bet the mortgage on such a possible outcome, you will lose a lot of money.  But if you bet a penny—or the equivalent in the currency of your home country—you might lose 100 more bets than you win and it’s still just a dollar!

For the bigger bets every spots bettor likes to make, you really have to park your sentimentality at the curb, so to speak.

Don’t Play Hunches

This is the bane of the amateur sports bettor.  They “think that a player is “due” to break out of a slump, a period of inferior performance on the field or court.  The player may, in fact, break out of her or his slump in the next game but thinking that it will happen is a hunch and hunches are not the result of thoughtful analysis.

So, never play a hunch with a large sports bet.  If you choose to divide your sports betting budget into many parts, it might be okay to place a bet on a hunch.  That bet, however, will never make you a successful sports bettor.  It might just add a little fun to your sports betting activity.

Don’t Fall in Love with One Team

Once again, most sports enthusiasts are also fans.  That means that they do have a favorite team, maybe a favorite team in a number of sports.  They may love the team!  When the Chicago Cubs won the World Series of baseball in 2016 after a drought of historical proportions—108 seasons without a championship—many of their fans were recorded crying uncontrollably in the moments after the win was final.

There are scenes of grown men being consoled by their sons and daughters who were fans of the team as well but didn’t have so many years of being a fan invested in the team!  Falling in love with a team is fine.  But making a large bet based on love alone is a losing approach to betting.

Become an Expert in One or Possibly Two Sports

You can follow as many sports as you like.  The range of sports that fans can follow is amazing.  It is one of the ways we know just how affluent people who live in countries with modern economies have become.

Sports bettors might like a large number of sports but they should bet on only one or maybe two sports.  These will be the sports they have had the time to study and to develop some expertise in.  Always keep in mind that sports betting is a multi-billion dollar business in North America alone.  That means that bookmakers have a wealth of information at hand with which to set a line for the game that will make them the most money.

In order to have a reasonable chance of winning a sports bet, you need to know what you are betting on.  This is the sports bettor’s side of expertise in that sport.

Understand the Best Bet to Make in the Sport on which You Want to Bet

There are a number of different bets you can make.  In American football, you can make a straight up bet on the winner or loser, you can bet on the spread, you can bet on the over-under, and other bets as well.

Understand the Line Perfectly

The “line” is the way the bookmakers define the expected outcome of the game.  The team the bookmakers expect to win—the favorite—will have a minus sign before the line and the “underdog” will have a plus sign.  For beginners, this is probably the most confusing aspect of sports betting!

The favorite has to give up something to the underdog in order to even out the likely outcome.  The favorite might give up points.  For example, in basketball, where teams often score over 100 points each, the favorite might be listed as -10.  This means that the team is giving 10 points to the underdog.  If the favorite win the game but by only 9 points, the bettor who bet on the spread of 10 points actually loses his or her bet!

Returning for a moment to the previous paragraph, we can see that a bet on the strict outcome of a soccer match is much better than a bet on the spread which might be impossible for a bookmaker to offer, or a bet on the over-under for the same reason.

In baseball, the over-under is a reasonable bet but the spread is not since so many games are decided by a single run.  American football and basketball are conducive to spreads and over-under bets which actually makes them difficult to bet on!

Remember that the Bookmakers are Not Fools

If bettors make one team an overwhelming favorite to win the game or to cover the spread, or if bettors make a given over-under number the overwhelming favorite, the bookmakers will change the line in real time.

For the bookmaker, they take a cut from winnings and so they don’t really care who wins the game, what the final point total is, or who won against the spread.  They want the plusses and minuses to even out so the cut they take will be pure profit.

Pay Attention to the Injury and Weather News

Every game is affected by injury and weather.  Indoor games may not be affected by weather but they certainly are affected by injury.  Every team is suppoed to issue a true injury report every day.  The smart sports bettor pays very close attention to these reports!

Sports Betting is a Lot of Fun

This is certainly true as the billions bet on sports every year attest.  Still, sports bettors do need to study the sports they want to bet on and they need to pay attention to many secondary items such as the weather in order to win more.

Remember, the more you win, the more fun sports betting will be!

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