Sports Betting Q&A
Frequently asked questions about sports betting

What are some good sports betting tips for beginners?

Last Updated: May 7, 2020
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Fact Checked By: Adam Zdroik

The best tip for beginners may be that turning a profit in sports betting is difficult and just because you "know sports" doesn't mean you'll be successful.

To win at sports betting, an individual has to put time into studying and researching various aspects of a matchup.

While turning a positive in sports betting is possible, it's not easy if you want to do it on a consistent basis. Before starting, a bettor should know the majority of terms used within the sports betting world. From there, research begins which could involve studying team trends, looking at odds or shopping around for the best lines.

To be a successful bettor, one doesn't simply win a few bets from a guess and continue to win. There's a reason sports betting is a big business and states turn a profit of millions. It's worth remembering that only a small percentage of sports bettors are profitable in the long run.

Set a Bankroll

This may be the most important step because if you don't know how much money you're comfortable losing, things could get out of hand. It's usually easiest to start your bankroll with a round number like $100 or $1,000. If you quickly lose that $100 or $1,000, it may be best to take a break before jumping back in, though if you make bets based on units, your money should last a decent amount of time.

Study, Study, Study

If you want to win on your own terms, it will take time. Looking at simple numbers like home/away and against-the-spread records is the first step, but there's always another level to dive into. In baseball, you can examine batter vs. pitcher matchups and the same goes for coaching matchups in football. In basketball, you can compare efficiency numbers or look at each team's pace. The number of stats to study is endless, but finding the most important ones is the key distinction to being a successful bettor.

Shopping Odds

Once you have a preferred side, you can look around to see which sportsbook has the best odds for your bet. If you really like the Buffalo Bills and think they can beat the New England Patriots as an underdog, most sportsbooks will have different numbers. For example, your favorite site could have +200 odds as an underdog, but another one may have +220 odds. At that point, you have to decide if it's worth it to bet at the other sportsbook in order to get better odds. 

Another example is if the Bills are a +6.5 underdog at one site and +7 at another, both with -110 odds. It's clear the site with +7 and -110 is the better bet, but only if you're comfortable having money at numerous sportsbooks.

Don't Trust Touts

Some will be swayed by sports betting touts and handicappers, but paying for a service likely means you have to win a bigger portion of your bets. Sports betting is already difficult in order to come out in the positive as you have to hit roughly 52.4% of bets. Throw in the extra few dollars spent on a tout service and that percentage can rise to 55 or even higher, assuming you want to win something.

You could win at sports betting by using a service, but there's no guarantee the service will be profitable. If you want to put in the time, an individual can study as much as he or she wants and make bets based on those calculations. Every stat you research isn't going to help, but that's the fun in betting.

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