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Sports Betting 101: Common Mistakes

Philadephia 76ers vs NY Nets game 4

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Whether you are new on the sports betting scene or a seasoned bettor who can’t figure out why you are consistently in the red, we are here to help. Here are the most common sports betting faux pas:

Emotional Betting

Betting with your heart is a trap for many sports bettors. The urge to bet on your favorite team because you are going to the game can be deadly.  Pay attention to the odds and understand going in - you’ll rarely get an edge by backing the home team in a state where sports betting is legal. Don’t let your emotion rule your decision making. And if you can’t bet against the home team, sit the game out.

Bankroll Mismanagement

Known as the “BR,” in inner circles, keeping track of your bankroll and establishing bet size guidelines is a rare trait of a sports bettor. Your bankroll is disposable income that is set aside for the purpose of betting -  just like you would spend money playing a round of golf or going to the movies. It’s money you can afford to lose, albeit that you don’t want to lose. Once you establish the amount of your bankroll, set a bet size limit for each wager. Most successful bettors don’t wager more than 5% of their total bankroll on any one game.

 Chasing Losses

Sports betting is essentially a game unto itself. Made up of wins and losses, your profit and loss can swing massively, even when applying the above BR management rules. Trying to recoup lost money by betting larger sums, or by betting on more games is a common mistake. “The home teams in the early games and away teams in the late games,” has been muttered many times on an NFL Sunday. Be smart and consistent with your bet size and avoid “doubling down to catch up.” Chasing, that is betting more on each bet until you win back your losses can have a devastating effect. Many sportsbooks give you the opportunity to set betting and deposit limits when you sign up and can help you avoid this particular pitfall.

Drunk Betting

This should go without saying but you don’t have to look hard to find horror stories about people who lost huge sums of money because they were drinking and gambling at the same time. Yet, you’d be surprised how many bettors login into their sportsbook account or walk to the window while under the influence. Alcohol impairs judgment and makes you less inhibited, which is a recipe for disaster. Save the drinks for the celebration after you cash.

Sportsbook Loyalty

In a legalized sports betting environment like PA, line shopping is one of the few edges of the recreational sports bettor. Do half-points really matter you ask? Spend a few minutes watching ESPN’s “Bad Beats” with Scott Van Pelt and you’ll see quickly why every half-point matters. Line shopping for the best odds will be easy once PA completely rolls out mobile sports betting. For now, endure a bit of traffic and find the sportsbook with the best price.

 

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