How To Bet On Sports Successfully For Beginners

  • We uncover the top 10 tips for a successful sports betting strategy.
  • From removing your emotions to bankroll management these are essential pointers for those new to online gambling.
  • Knowing basic sports betting terminology is the best place to start.

Online Sports betting is now part of the mainstream again. From Hollywood celebrities endorsing BetMGM, to sportsbooks sponsoring mainstay NBA & NFL teams. It’s not just for your dodgy uncle anymore, the youth of today are embracing it thanks to new regulations that make simple, legal and safe to bet on sports online.

In the beginning sports betting can seem like a daunting skill, which site do I bet with? Should I bet on my favorite team or not? We’ve all had to start somewhere and in this guide, we will cover the ten most important tips for those new to betting on sports.

1. Know The Basics of Sports Betting

Rule one – it really helps to know the basic terminology when starting off. It doesn’t necessarily translate to more profits but it will set you on the right track. Below are some of the most common sports betting lingo every beginner should know.

What Is A Moneyline Bet?

This is a fancy way of saying a straight-up win wager. It’s the most basic bet you can make on a team to win a game. The favorite is usually indicated with a minus (-), before the moneyline. While the underdog will typically have a plus (+) next to it.

Tampa Bay is a +165 underdog, while the Packers are a -195 favorite on the moneyline example below.

Spread, Moneyline and Over Under Example

What Is A Point Spread?

Also known as “betting the spread” or “handicap betting“. This is the number of points or goals a team must win or lose by, set by the oddsmakers to make two unbalanced teams more balanced for sports betting.

Over Under Betting

Also known as the total. This is a bet on a particular statistic within a game or fight. For example in NFL the over under (o/u), is usually on total points scored, you can bet on it to be less than or more than the o/u figure.

In MMA a common over under bet will be on how many rounds the fight will last, for example over under 2.5 rounds. Learn more on how to bet on UFC fights online, with our comprehensive guide.

Types of Bonuses and Rollover Amounts

Sports betting bonuses come in all shapes and sizes. From risk-free bets, refer a friend offers, 100% match deposit bonuses. The most important aspect to keep in mind is the required rollover amount attached to any given bonus. The rollover is the total money that a player must bet in order to meet the requirement to withdraw the winnings of a bonus granted.

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2. Expectations

Having realistic goals helps with expectations for any situation in life. Especially for those new to sports betting. There will be wins and oh boy there will be plenty of losses too! So just remember that.

According to JV Miller and J.R. Miller “Professional sports bettors rarely sustain a long-term winning percentage higher than 55%, and it’s often as low as 53 or 54 percent.  If someone tells you they win 70%…or even 65% of their picks (at 11-to- win-10), you are talking to either a liar or a bad record-keeper.​​

Like any major goal in life you’ll have moments where you feel like giving up. Once you keep at it and set realistic expectations, there is nothing stopping you making sports betting a fantastic hobby or even becoming a sharp bettor.

3. Bankroll Management

Don’t spend what you don’t have, the same applies to sports betting. Realistically any money you fund your account with you should consider it spent. So anything you win is really 100% profit, but just don’t forget how you won it!

The Ultimate Guide to Sports Betting Bankroll Management

Think about all the subscriptions you have every month, for example, Netflix, Spotify, ESPN+. They all add up right? The same would apply to every $20 you load your account with, ten times a month! So keep your monthly betting to a reasonable amount. By only loading your account once a month, it gives you clearer boundaries and will make game-time more fun – win or lose.

Advantages of setting a budget for sports betting

  • Knowing when to stop after losing money.
  • Helps with the thought process for more calculated bets.
  • knowing when to stop after winning money, so you keep it!

4. Favorites vs Underdogs

This one you have to know. It the most simplistic way, minus is favorite, and positive is an underdog. Sometimes you will see both teams or fighters displayed as a minus, which indicates the betting line is closer – so this would essentially be called a pick ’em.

My advice here would be to place small wagers on underdogs that you have done your research on or received a tip for. Betting on huge favorites doesn’t pay off unless you have large figures to put down with minimal return. Combining a favorite and an underdog in a parlay bet can be an awesome way of achieving big payouts.

NFL Parlay Bet Example

5. Bet With Head Not Heart

We’ve all been there our favorite team are a big underdog going up against the rivals who are heavy favorites. Our ego is to say go for it! Meanwhile, at the back of our mind, we know they’re carrying too many injuries and have had a poor season so far. It’s best to remove any emotional attachment you might have to the team or fighter you are considering betting on.

The same applies to combat sports, fans get passionate about a fighter from their home country and go buck wild with their bets – for example, fans who bet on Conor McGregor defeating Floyd Mayweather. Not only was the moneyline boasted from the influx of bets going on the Irishman but it was never a true reflection of the real implied probably of this mismatch exhibition fight.

Passionate Buffalo Bills Fans aka “Bills Mafia”

6. Bet On A Familiar Sport

This one I love and can’t recommend more. It’s really quite simple, as many fans have a locked-in potential that can be applied to sports betting. I for one have tried my luck as particular sports I don’t fully follow or have been out of the loop, and it didn’t bode well.

The reason being you might have an edge on the oddsmaker especially if it’s college sports or an upcoming athlete you’ve been keeping tabs on who suddenly turned pro and the bookies are overlooking.

7. Line shopping

While your partner is out clothes shopping you can be line shopping. No not for fishing gear – I’m talking about comparing odds across various sportsbooks for the best value.

That’s what it’s important to sign-up with more than one betting site. Having access to at least two sites you can wager one, will usually give you the edge and provide bigger payouts for those winning bets.

NBA Spread, Moneyline & Total

8. Hedging Your bets

This is one of many betting strategies that I recommend you know for leveling up your sports betting knowledge. It simply involves placing wagers on multiple different outcomes of the same bet, in a hope that it will generate a profit regardless of the result.

This can be achieved by comparing odds aka line shopping as we covered in the section above. It can be hard to achieve due to sportsbooks having different vig standards, but it’s more of a slowly wins the race kind of money maker than a huge windfall.

9. Research and Be Part Of The Community

If you can join a betting forum then go for it! This is where you will find all the newest pieces of information from seasoned bettors on breaking odds, best bonuses, and sports betting tips for upcoming games.

10. Use an Online Recommended Sportsbook

At Betting Insider Journal we pride ourselves in only listing the best online sportsbooks to our readers.

As the sports betting industry grows, so does the noise. Which makes it difficult for new players who want to get involved, to find a site that they can trust with their money, offers great bonuses and promotions, and offer a wide range of deposit options.

I hope this guide helps you make more informed choices when it comes to sports betting. Be sure to check out our other list of sports betting guides to become more knowledgeable and successful at online gambling.