How to Gamble Smart and Lose Less

Since the Supreme Court allowed states to legalize sports gambling in 2018, Americans have wagered billions on their favorite teams and players. Sports betting has become a huge part of sports culture and is a fun way to get involved in the action without ever leaving the comfort of your couch or eating Buffalo chicken dip. But it’s also important to remember that, as a form of gambling, you are always at risk of losing more than you win. That’s why it’s vital to make sure you are budgeting your gambling money and only placing bets you can afford to lose.

How does sports betting work?

Sports betting is all about predicting an outcome that will happen during a game or event and wagering on its probability of occurring. The odds are set by the sportsbook based on their assessment of the likelihood that an outcome will occur. A bet on something that has a high probability of happening will pay out more than a bet on something with a lower probability.

While most bets focus on the final outcome of a game, some are centered around individual player performance or even things that don’t show up in the box score. For example, you can bet on how many touchdown passes a quarterback will throw in a game (Over/Under 1.5 TD passes) or on the color of Gatorade that will be dumped on a winning coach (Over/Under 1.25 Gatorade jugs).

One of the biggest mistakes that sports gamblers make is betting with their heart and not their head. While it’s fun to place a bet on your favorite team, doing so can lead to big losses. Instead, bet with your brain and do the research to find an edge.

A pro tip for sports bettors is to keep near-obsessive records of their bets. This will help them test theories, such as “left-handed pitchers never win,” and improve their chances of success. Keeping records can also help a bettor limit their losses and ensure they are not spending more than they can afford to lose.

It’s important to understand that sportsbooks are businesses and making a profit is one of their main goals. This means that they include their commission in the odds they set for bets. Therefore, it is nearly impossible to beat the house in sports betting and you must be able to withstand large losses.

To increase your chances of winning, stick to sports that you are familiar with from a rules perspective and that you follow closely regarding news. It’s also helpful to have access to multiple sportsbooks and to take advantage of their promotions, such as price boosts, free bets, and other offers. Lastly, always bet what you can afford to lose and don’t be afraid to walk away from a losing bet. Good luck!