7 Reasons a Sports Fan Can’t Be a Winning Sports Bettor

Sports Betting Fans Not Bettors

I was a big sports fan before I started betting on games. I tried to be a fan and figure out how to win when betting on games, but I eventually had to choose between winning and being a fan. You’re going to reach a point where you have to make the same choice.

The good news is that there’s not a wrong choice.

But if you refuse to make a choice, you’re not going to win, and you’re not going to have as much fun as a fan. So here are seven things to consider to help you make the best choice.

1. Favorite Team Bias

If you’re like most sports fans, you have a favorite team, and you might have a favorite team in each sport. Growing up, I was a fan of the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL, Cincinnati Reds in MLB, and the Philadelphia 76’ers in the NBA.

I even rooted for the NHL team in Philadelphia for a couple of seasons before I lost interest in the NHL. I even had a second team in each league that I rooted for when they weren’t playing my favorite team.

When I started betting on sports, I always bet on one of my favorite teams. But I figured out that I wasn’t making any money using this strategy.

And even worse, I wasn’t enjoying the games as much because I kept losing money.

Because I was a fan of the teams I was betting on, I couldn’t make smart betting decisions, and it was costing me money. So I stopped betting on games with my favorite teams, and my results improved.

2. Favorite Player Bias

I also had many players I rooted for when I started betting on sports. And some of the same issues with bias I had with teams carried over to my favorite players.

Because I rooted for certain players:
I made bets on games they played in and lost money. Anything that creates a bias as a fan is bad news when you start betting on games. Bias leads to mistakes, and mistakes, when you bet on sports, lead to losing money.

Bias is so bad when you’re betting on sporting events because effective sports gambling requires facts, not opinions. I cover more about this danger in the next section of this post.

3. Effective Handicapping Requires Facts, Not Opinions

The biases I covered in the first two sections of this post are fine if you’re not trying to make decisions that help you win wagers placed on games.

But you can’t afford to have any biases when you handicap and evaluate sporting events because effective handicapping requires facts, not opinions. As a fan, it’s difficult to make all of your decisions based on facts. You have opinions about teams and players, and you want certain teams and players to win.

The truth is that I still have opinions about teams and players. But I’ve learned to separate facts from opinions when I handicap games. I found that I had to stop being a fan if I wanted to have a chance to make money betting at the top online sportsbooks.

Please Note:
Many people decide they’d rather be a fan than have a chance to make a profit, and this is ok if that’ what you decide is more important.

But don’t make the mistake of believing you can be a fan and make good gambling decisions.

4. Too Much Fun

I’m going to share a secret that most winning sports gamblers won’t tell you. But, of course, most winning sports gamblers won’t tell you anything about betting on sports because they protect their profits and don’t want to lose their advantage.

The secret:
Handicapping sports well enough to make a profit isn’t fun. Handicapping sporting events requires a lot of work and is stressful. It’s stressful when your survival is tied directly to making a profit.

It’s more fun watching games as a fan and not worrying about surviving. But, of course, you have to survive, so you’re probably working a job you hate that creates a lot of stress in your life.

So you’re basically choosing where your stress comes from.

Many sports fans use sports as a release to forget about the things they hate in their life. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using sports as a distraction, but is that really how you want to use sports? Or do you want to make money from sports?

5. Winning Sports Betting Is a Business

If you owned a business and the profit from that business was directly linked to whether you paid the electric bill or had something to eat, would you make decisions based on what you felt like doing…

Or would you make decisions based on how much profit you could make?

When you bet on sporting events as a fan, you’re doing what you feel like doing. However, professional sports gamblers make betting decisions based on the potential profitability.

In other words:
Winning sports gamblers treat their gambling like a business. Every bet you make has to be made using facts and logic that show the bet has a good chance to win. You can’t make the mistake of placing a bet based on how you feel as a fan because you’re going to lose money using this strategy.

The question you have to answer is, are you willing to treat sports betting like a business, or are you going to continue betting like a fan? I’m not here to tell you what to do, but if you really want to win, you have to start acting like a business and stop acting like a fan.

6. No Bankroll

Sports fans don’t use a bankroll to bet on games. Instead, they use the money they have in their pocket and either replace it or add it back to their pocket when they get lucky and win.

Professional sports gamblers use a bankroll to help them track their long-term results and as a tool to help them make more money.

The last sentence included two important things that you can’t afford to overlook. First, fans don’t track their results, so they don’t know how bad their results are.

And fans don’t use tools to help them win more money.

It’s time to either give up betting on sports as a fan or start taking your sports gambling serious. Unfortunately, fans don’t make a profit betting on sports.

7. Fans Shop for the Wrong Things

Sports fans shop for hats and shirts with their favorite teams or players on them. Growing up, I was a Dallas Cowboys fan because they were on television more than anyone else. So I was a big fan when Aikman, Smith, and Irvin led the Cowboys to Super Bowl victories.

I had a jersey with Smith and his number 22 on it.

Now I don’t own anything with an NFL team or player on it because I’m not a fan. So instead of shopping for gear, I shop for lines. And you have to start shopping for lines if you’re going to make money betting on sports.

For example:
You want to bet on an NFL game next weekend and want to bet on the Cowboys. You call your local bookie and find out the Cowboys are favored and giving seven and a half points. You’re a big Cowboys fan and believe they’re going to win big, so you place a bet.

If you spent five minutes shopping for lines, you could find the line on the game with Dallas only giving six and a half points. So you watch the game and are happy the Cowboys win, but they only win by seven points, so you lose your bet.

Please Note:
But if you’d have shopped the line and only given six and a half points, you’d have won the wager. Things like this happen all the time to sports gamblers who don’t shop lines.


You’re going to have to make a choice eventually between being a sports fan and being a profitable sports gambler. While a few people might be able to do both, I’ve never found a winning sports gambler who remained a big sports fan.

Successful sports gambling requires focus and facts, and being a fan creates biases that you can’t afford.

Winning sports gamblers act like they run a business, and biases have no place in a business that’s trying to maximize profits. You can choose to be a fan or a winning sports gambler, but trying to do both is dangerous.


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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