7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became an Online Sports Bettor

Wish I Knew Before Online Sports Betting

Betting on sports requires plenty of knowledge, skill, precision, and a fair amount of luck. Even if you have those bases covered, you can still wind up on the losing side of a wager.

Sports gambling is incredibly difficult:
Especially for those who are learning how to bet. The learning experience takes a great deal of time and often has its fair shares of bumps in the road. Many sports bets often come down to the wire, and one single point can be the difference between a win or a loss. A common reaction to these crushing losses is to wish you could go back in time armed with the knowledge that would win you money.

Hindsight is indeed 20/20. There are countless times when I wished I could go back a few years and offer my past self some valuable gambling knowledge.

Still, those mistakes have made me into the gambler I am today.

But that doesn’t mean you have to make the same ones on your journey to becoming a sharp online sports bettor.

1. It’s Okay to Be a Conservative Sports Gambler

There are plenty of valid reasons that can motivate gamblers to give sports betting a try. But, the primary focus and eventual goal of most sports bettors is to win money.

I was no different when I first started betting:
My main drive was to make as much money as possible. Something you should know when you’re new to betting is that it takes a lot of money to win a lot of money.

There are a select few sports bettors who have the skill to turn a tiny bankroll into a massive one. The rest of us should be resigned to the fact that small bets beget small returns.

But that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
There’s nothing wrong with having a small bankroll, being conservative, and staying within your means.

This concept has a way of escaping certain types of new gamblers; gamblers whose aspirations are significantly larger than they should be.

When you’re learning to bet online, breaking even isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Self-discipline is a virtue that’s incredibly rare among amateur sports bettors. Everyone wants to make money but that isn’t something you can learn to do overnight.

2. Becoming a Profitable Sports Bettor Takes Time

So how long does it take to make money when you’re sports betting online? This is an understandable question that depends on a few things:

  • How much prior experience a sports bettor has
  • Whether or not they’re capable of maximizing their bankroll
  • The sport that’s being bet on
  • The amount of sports-related knowledge a sports bettor has
  • How much time they can devote to finding bets with value

Some sports fans think that they can sign up for an online sports gambling app or website and basically start printing money. While your years of following sports might help you, a lot more goes into sports betting than being a fan.

As a sports bettor:
It’s your job to see value here a majority of other gamblers can’t. Many new gamblers don’t have the time or patience to do all that’s required to turn a profit.

Not only that, but learning to bet online is very expensive if you don’t do it correctly. You need to be comfortable knowing that you’ll likely lose more money than you make.

3. Don’t Bet With Your Heart on Your Sleeve

When you’re betting on sports, it can be difficult to gamble with your head instead of your heart. There are plenty of emotions involved in sports betting, as most gamblers were fans long before they started betting. The odds are that most gamblers know a particular team, the team they grew up watching, better than others.

For that reason, they think that it’s wise to stick to gambling on that particular team.

However, being a massive sports fan is entirely different than being a successful gambler. Sports fans are emotional creatures, while online sports bettors can’t afford to be.

As a fledgling sports gambler:
I spent my first few months betting on the teams I thought I knew best. Despite everything I knew, I was losing bet after bet. Before I knew it, my entire bankroll was gone in a month and I couldn’t understand why. Finally, after I was fed up with losing I sat down, examined my system, and realized why I was losing so much money. Upon further examination, I realized I wasn’t making logical, fact-based decisions. Instead, I was gambling with my heart; basically wagering on the side I wanted to win.

Once I recognized this flaw in my approach to gambling, I stopped betting on teams I rooted for. Suddenly, my winning percentage skyrocketed and I started making back some of the money I lost.

4. Stay Away From the Biggest Games

Some people get into sports betting to add some excitement to the games they watch.It’s easier than ever for casual bettors to get into gambling now that online sportsbooks and betting websites are a dime a dozen.

Nothing attracts these types of gamblers quite like the biggest games and the biggest names.

It’s perfectly reasonable to want to place a bet on a huge sporting event like the Super Bowl or a high-profile UFC fight.

All of the money coming in from the gambling public can artificially inflate lines. If you can recognize these shifts in the lines and odds and understand why they’re happening, you might be able to capitalize on it.

New sports gamblers don’t typically have that sort of awareness. While there’s nothing wrong with putting a unit or 2 on the biggest sporting events, consider avoiding big bets on unpredictable lines.

5. Most People Don’t Know What They’re Talking About

For every quality piece of sports-betting knowledge, you’ll come across, there are a dozen that should be ignored.

If you’re anything like the average sports gambler, you’ll likely peruse the internet and hope to find the best tips you can get your hands on. These often come in the form of free picks or gambling advice from a variety of sources.

There are several quality handicappers and gambling experts you can depend on. But as I’ve learned over the years: most people are just as clueless as you are.

Please Note:
Even the best gamblers in the business occasionally get it wrong. Professional sports are somewhat unpredictable, and so is sports gambling.

Gambling is complicated enough as it is. Don’t put your faith in people who simply aren’t qualified to offer any type of advice

6. Don’t Bet On Sports You Don’t Know

Betting on sports comes with its fair share of highs and lows.
  • When you’re at your lowest, you might contemplate giving up and finding another activity.
  • At your highest points, you might begin to believe that you’ll never lose another bet.

If you ever have the opportunity to go on a winning streak, you might contemplate branching out. Mind you, consistent winning often only comes to those who can master a particular sport.

Once you master a sport and you’re able to win money month after month, it can be hard to stay humble. If you’re like me, you might start experimenting with other sports, even those you have little experience with. That is a sure-fire way to lose money and put a halt to any progress you’ve made. Under no circumstances should you consider wagering on sports you aren’t familiar with.

No matter how hot you are and how much money you’ve won, doing so will create a slippery slope.

7. When in Doubt, Close Your Computer

All of my worst sports betting days came while I was chasing losses. Instead of heeding the advice of every intelligent gambler that’s come before me, I ignored my gut and tried to make something out of nothing.

Please Note:
Occasionally you might be able to dig yourself out of big holes, but most of the time chasing losses will only cause problems.

When you’re in doubt or are having a bad night, it’s probably wise to close your computer and save your money for another day.


Even the best gamblers in the world make mistakes. What separates those types of sports bettors from the rest of the pack is their ability to learn and grow.

It would be nice if the average sports bettor could go back in time and warn their past self about the pitfalls that lie ahead. Seeing as we aren’t capable of traveling back in time just yet, there are a few things any aspiring online sports bettor should consider.

Consider starting small and placing bets with your head instead of your heart. Stay away from big matchups that will draw in casual sports bettors, and always remember that most people don’t know any more than you do.


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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