Smart Handicapping: 4 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Basketball Betting

March Madness basketball court

The March Madness hype train has officially started, and there’s no better way to start your betting career on the NCAA basketball season. 

It is one of the most popular sporting events in the US, and there’s a lot of money to be made for bettors. Not only that, but the NBA playoffs are also on the horizon, which means this is a great time to be a basketball fan and be a bettor because, with those two events, there’s a huge potential of being a few hundred dollars richer through betting.

If you’re a rookie bettor and want to join in on the fun in betting, we’re pretty sure that you have already read all the basics and everything you have to know when betting on basketball. However, as a rookie bettor, there are many things you need to watch out for. 

That said, here are some common mistakes you might want to avoid as a newbie bettor.

Forgetting to Look at the Fatigue

For some reason, many people think of a professional as somewhat of a superhero, a superhero that doesn’t feel any fatigue at all. They are still human, which means that they also feel tired, impacting their performance a lot. But why is it important to you as a bettor? 

Many bettors often neglect to look at a team’s schedule. In a typical team schedule, there will be a lot of cross-country traveling, multiple games for days in a row, etc. 

With too much fatigue, it’s only inevitable for them to get too tired to play. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should automatically bet against a team that is tired but instead, try to gauge how well they will play. This is a good indicator of knowing if they will cover the spread, either decreasing or increasing their value as a bet.

Ignoring Injuries

Injuries play a huge role in sports, and that includes basketball. Oddsmakers are constantly keeping an eye out for sports news as it is often an indicator for them on how to gauge their odds in the betting pool. And among the plethora of basketball news, the oddsmakers care about injuries because it often tells us something about how a team will perform in their upcoming games. 

Many people ignore this news and instead still go for their desired bets. But as bettors, we should always look for value, and an injury often decreases the team’s value because, for example, if their star players are injured, there’s a huge chance that they will underperform.

That said, wait to place your bets after all the injury news is reported. If you want to be a little risky, you can go ahead and bet before the news breaks out. A good indicator of this is when a star player is listed as questionable to play because of an injury. There’s a 50-50% chance that he will play with this.

Chasing Losses

Even the best bettors out there have bad days where none of their bets are winning. It sure is frustrating when that happens to you, but it also happens to the best of us. What you can do during that situation is not to chase your losses. 

One of the main tenets of sports betting is that you have to have bankroll management. To quickly drain your bankroll is to chase losses. We know that losing is frustrating, but it will only worsen if you chase your losses.

In sports betting, identifying value is one of the most important skills you have to learn, but for some bettors, they ignore the values and place an ill-conceived bet in an attempt to win more and get back their losses. While it can be a sensible move, it often ends in disaster. With all that in mind, manage your bankroll smartly, and don’t chase your losses, especially if you can’t afford it.

Ignoring Values

As mentioned just now, finding the best value is one of the most important skills you have to learn in sports betting. 

Sure, you can always go for the favorite and win most of the time because, after all, they have a 60% chance of winning. However, your payout might not be that great. Not all bets are created equal. Some bets will provide you with greater value than popular, but they may have a slightly less chance to win. 

For example, let’s say that in the NCAA Basketball Moneyline Odds both home and away teams have the same odds of -110. The home team may favor a point with -120 while the away team has +110. If you take the away team at +1, you are betting on a value of -110. However, if you place a bet for the money line and win, you’ll get the odds at +110. For a $100 bet, the difference in the payout will almost be $20.

Final Words

As a newbie bettor, taking everything in at once can be overwhelming. That said, try to take it slowly and learn everything you can. March Madness won’t come until the middle of March, so you still have quite a lot of time. But if you follow the basics and avoid the points we talked about above, then you’re all good.

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