7 Leading Causes of Stupid Sports Gambling Mistakes

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Have you ever made a stupid mistake betting on sports? If you bet on sports, the odds are high that you’ve made a stupid mistake or two.

But making a mistake isn’t always a terrible thing.

If you can learn and grow from your sports gambling mistakes, it makes you a better sports bettor.

The only terrible mistake is when you don’t learn from a mistake and make it again. In the seven leading causes of sports betting mistakes listed in this post, you’re going to learn from the stupid mistakes I’ve made.

So look for each of these seven mistakes in your handicapping and get them fixed as soon as possible.

1. Ignorance

Most people who bet on sporting events lose money because of ignorance. The title of this post is about stupid mistakes, and ignorance isn’t the same thing as stupid.

It’s hard to fix stupid, but ignorance can be eliminated by study and work.

Ignorance simply means that you don’t know something. Stupid means that you don’t know something, and you probably can’t learn enough to fix the problem.

If you want to win, you have to figure out where you’re lacking in knowledge and take steps to correct the situation. Then, when you have the right information and know how to use the information, you can win as a sports gambler. So the first step is figuring out what you don’t know that you need to know. The second step is getting the information. The third step is figuring out how to use the information profitably.

Being ignorant isn’t anything to be ashamed of. On the contrary, being ignorant is something you can fix, as long as you don’t have the problem covered in the next section.

2. Laziness

Laziness is 100 times worse than ignorance. Being too lazy to fix the reasons why you’re losing as a sports gambler is far worse than being ignorant. I know some sports gamblers who aren’t particularly smart who profit from betting on games.

And I know some brilliant people who can’t make money betting on sports.

The smart people who can’t win think they’re so smart that they don’t need to work harder. They don’t think that they’re lazy, and in some areas of their life, they probably aren’t lazy, but they’re too proud and lazy to do the work they need to do to win.

On the other hand:
The people who aren’t as smart that learn how to win know they aren’t the smartest people in the room. But they’re willing to do any amount of work to make up for it. These people are the opposite of lazy.

Stupid people struggle in every area of life, and they won’t win betting on sports. But it doesn’t take a genius to learn how to be a winning sports gambler. In most cases, it just takes a lot of work. Are you willing to do the work? The magic of this situation is that it’s a choice. You choose whether or not you’re going to do the work.

3. Acting like a Fan

Are you a fan, a sports gambler, or someone who thinks they can be both at the same time?

The most successful sports gamblers I know aren’t fans.

They used to be fans, but they aren’t fans now. That should tell you everything you need to know about being a fan and betting on sports.

A sports fan has favorite teams and favorite players. When you have favorite teams and players, it’s almost impossible to handicap them. You root for these teams and players and want them to do well, so when you handicap them, you give them too much credit.

When you can’t handicap games and players correctly, you can’t win. So if you’re acting like a fan, you should give up the idea of making a profit gambling on sports.

I still have a favorite team in MLB and a favorite player in the NFL.

The way I handle this is I never bet on an MLB game involving my favorite team or an NFL game with my favorite player. I can still root for my favorite team and player and make a profit as a bettor because I never mix the two things.

4. Falling in Love with Favorites

Favorites are favored to win for good reasons. The sportsbooks look at each game and decide which team is likely to win, how many points the team is likely to win by, and then set the lines based on this information.

Please Note:
Favorites win more often than they lose, but they don’t always win, and they don’t always cover the spread. You have to be careful when handicapping games because your job isn’t just to pick the team that should win.

Instead, your job is to find a line you can bet on that gives you an advantage. Sometimes the advantage is betting on the favorite, and sometimes the advantage is taking the underdog and the points.

You can’t afford to fall in love with favorites because it’s a mistake.

When you look at the performance of favorites using the point spread, they cover about 50% of the time. So your job is to identify when the favorite is likely to cover the spread and when they aren’t likely to cover the spread.

5. Falling in Love with Road Teams

Road teams usually are the underdog and get points. I like finding games that have value on the team getting points because they don’t have to win the game for me to make a profit.

But road teams are usually underdogs for good reasons. First, road teams rarely perform as well as they do at home, and home teams usually perform better than when they play on the road.

When I train a new sports gambler, I start with a set of rules. For example, one rule is never to bet on a road team unless your handicapping shows a huge value.

Please Note:
And if your handicapping shows a big value, you need to handicap the game again to make sure you’re not missing something important.

After you learn how to make profits consistently, you can start betting on more road teams, but road teams are often a trap you need to avoid.

6. Not Using Handicapping

I’ve talked about handicapping several times in this post because handicapping is the most important tool you have as a sports gambler. If you’re not using handicapping before you bet on sporting events, you’re relying on luck. And the sportsbooks make a ton of money off gamblers who rely on luck.

Handicapping is a skill that you develop over time.
It requires a lot of work, and you have to test a lot of variables. But once you learn how to handicap games correctly, you start finding lines that let you make money.

If you’re betting on sports and not handicapping games, you either need to stop betting on sports or start handicapping games. Of course, you can choose to do either thing, but if you ignore this advice, you’re never going to win.

7. Not Spending Enough Time Handicapping

I hope I have convinced you of the importance of using handicapping before you bet on sporting events. But there’s another thing that many sports gamblers do that leads to mistakes. If you don’t spend enough time handicapping games, you’re making too many mistakes.

Many people have asked me how long they should spend handicapping each game. Of course, the first answer is that you need to spend as much time as you need to do a good and thorough job. But this isn’t what most people want to know when they ask this question.

When I got serious about handicapping games, I’d spend at least an hour handicapping each game. Eventually, I learned enough and improved my skills enough, so I spend about 30 minutes handicapping each game now.

Some games don’t require as much time, and a few games still require more time.

As soon as I see a game doesn’t offer value, I stop working on it, and sometimes this only takes 10 or 15 minutes. But I still spend as much time as I need on each game to find value.


I’ve made plenty of stupid sports gambling mistakes over the years. Of course, making a stupid mistake the first time isn’t the end of the world, but if you keep making the same mistakes over and over, it’s an issue.

Please Note:
The first thing you need to do is recognize when you make a stupid betting mistake. Once you recognize a mistake, you can avoid making a mistake again.

Mistakes are part of the learning process when you’re trying to become a profitable sports gambler. So learn how to avoid as many mistakes as you can and learn how to correct mistakes when you make them.


Rex Hoffman / Author

Rex Hoffman is a passionate sports writer, with over five years of experience covering sports journalism in line with the Vegas betting landscape. His favorite subjects include football, basketball, and baseball. As a Las Vegas resident, he enjoys finding an edge against the local sportsbooks and aims to share his extensive knowledge with both beginners and experienced bettors. Rex also dabbles in horse racing wagering and enjoys typical casino fare like blackjack and poker in his spare time.

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