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5 Sports Betting Mistakes to Avoid

Date Posted: November 7, 2018

Sports betting is not like wagering on slots or roulette. While the latter relies on luck, the former depends on the players or teams a punter bets on. When playing slots, before spinning the reels, the player will not have to consider the weather to determine his chance of forming a winning combo.  But when wagering on sports, before one places bets, he will have to consider several factors such as opposition history, the weather, or even recovery time to get a better chance of guessing the right outcome.

Sportsbooks consider these factors when coming up with game predictions, but it is still important to be smart when making bets as sportsbooks are not always right. Punters should always know the ways to get the best out of their wagers. One way to be a smart bettor is to avoid the following common rookie mistakes:

1| Choosing to Bet on Unfamiliar Games

For all bettors, it is important to know how the sport works before placing bets. For example, if a punter is a baseball fan and he wants to bet on a basketball game, then he must understand the ins and outs of basketball first before making a bet.  And this goes to all other sports that are unfamiliar to the bettor. Having enough knowledge about the game aids punters into restricting their bets to the sport and predicting a more accurate outcome.

2| Betting on Unpopular Bet Types

Surpassing the beginner stage, experienced players are drawn closer to betting on total goals/points scored, handicap betting, and 1×2 outright. Meanwhile, rookies are more drawn to novelty bets/props as they are persuaded to do so by sportsbook advertising. Some of these bets are first goal scorer, number of touchdowns, and man of the match, to name a few.

Bet365, for instance, offers its audience to wager on different kinds of novelty bets such as main props, score props, team props, 1st half props, and game props, among others.

5 Sports Betting Mistakes to Avoid Novelty Bets

Rookies are also attracted to parlay bets. They can bet that more than one of their overs/unders, point spreads, or moneylines will win. Parlay bets offer higher payouts with low risks, but this is only for short term. Because of their high house edge, it is not likely that a sports bettor wins a parlay bet every week. This bet type is more of luck rather than skill.

For rookies, it is best that they stick to easy-to-understand- betting types like moneyline, point spread, and over/under.


3| Focusing More on the Latest Games

Knowing the team’s or player’s history is also important before placing wagers. Rookies tend to focus only on the games that happened the past weekend or two to predict their next bets. According to Jay Kornegay, Vice President of Race and Sports Operations for Westgate SuperBook, experienced gamers review the team’s quality and overall performance of the season. He said:

“The most obvious thing that separates new bettors from the old-timers is that the new bettors have short memories. They base their wagers on what happened last weekend, rather than looking at the overall quality of the team. They tend to look at the last game and base most of their decisions on the team’s performance in that game.”

Knowledgeable bettors even consider the team’s or player’s history with its opponent, atmosphere of the venue, and clash of styles as these can all affect the game’s probable outcome. One can have more chances of winning on a bet, then, when he does more research not only on the latest news about the games but also some play history pertinent to the teams or players prospected to win the upcoming match. Most news outlets provide sufficient information and details about the team’s or player’s background.

4| Getting Caught up with Sensationalism

Matches and games that are overly hyped by the media tend to catch the attention of rookie sports punters. These highly anticipated games have intriguing matchups and high stakes. An example of this is the 2017 boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor.

Anticipating the match, the media and some sportsbooks favored McGregor because he is a UFC superstar that knows how to fight beyond throwing punches. On the contrary, McGregor did not have enough boxing experience – a factor that contributed to Mayweather’s winning. Factors like this should be considered by rookies for them not to always fall for sensationalized predictions.


5| Basing Bets on Emotional Bias

As sports enthusiasts, it is likely that bettors will have their favorites. Whether the team comes from their hometown or the player holds emotional significance, gamers must know how to place wagers based on statistics and research to have a higher chance of getting returns.

But according to Kornegay, betting on favorites is just human nature. He added:

“They’ll know their team better than any other. However, an emotional bias can get in the way of clear thinking about a particular game. You want to reduce that emotion as much as possible. It’s going to be human nature, though, to want to bet the hometown team.”

Focusing on one’s favorite team or player tends to give the bettor tunnel vision. This may make the punters underestimate the opponent. An example of this is the tennis match of Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka at the 2018 US Open.

Sportsbooks gave fan-favorite Williams high odds at winning, for she has much more experience than 20-year-old Osaka. But who could have predicted that Osaka would become a US Open champion? Underdogs always have a chance to win, and favorites can also suffer defeat at some point.


No matter what strategy an individual applies when betting on sports, it is not always certain that the result will come out in one’s favor. Sports betting will always be a game of chance. Still, avoiding the most common rookie mistakes is how one maximizes his chance of claiming wins at the end of a match.