Sports betting has exploded into the mainstream with legalization in many states. Until recently, most bets were placed illegally in Sin City or with bookies. Now, you can place a bet on almost any sporting event from the comfort of your home. But can you really make money betting on sports? There are a lot of people who say it is possible to be profitable betting on sports but the truth is it’s very difficult and will take a lot of time, research and luck.
1. Start with a small bankroll.
When starting out, it is recommended that you start with a small bankroll and only risk 1% to 5% of your total bankroll on each play. This will ensure that you can survive a bad streak without going broke. It is also important to have a betting schedule or routine and stick to it. This will help you keep your emotions in check and remove bias from your bets. For example, if your team is playing the Cowboys and they are favored by a large margin, resist the urge to bet more on them in hopes of winning more money. This is called “going on tilt” and can quickly lead to you losing your entire bankroll.
2. Understand the Over/Under concept.
The Over/Under (or total) is a betting market that allows you to wager on the combined score of a game or event. The total can be set by a sportsbook and can include points, rebounds, wins, saves, rounds, birdies, aces, and other statistics depending on the sport. You can bet either the Over or the Under, and the winner of a game is determined by if the combined number finishes higher than (or lower than) the sportsbook’s posted total.
3. Know that odds are constantly changing.
Sportsbooks are constantly adjusting their odds to attract more action and keep existing bettors from defecting to other books. This is especially true for props and team totals, where the lines can differ significantly from one sportsbook to the next. By having access to multiple sportsbooks and knowing how the odds are priced, you can maximize your profits by shopping around for the best line.
4. Avoid sports betting scandals.
There have been a number of sports betting scandals that have affected the integrity of a game or series of games, including point shaving (players affecting the score by missing shots), spot-fixing (a specific player or team is fixed), and overall match-fixing (the outcome of a whole game is fixed). These types of activities can ruin your chances of making a profit on future bets by introducing an element of uncertainty into them.
5. Learn the math behind break even.
There is no way to sugarcoat it: No matter how good you are at sports betting, you will lose bets on a regular basis. In order to be profitable, you will need to have a 53% win percentage or better. This is a tough standard to meet, but it’s also the minimum requirement for turning sports betting into a viable career.