Five Common Football Betting Mistakes
In our guide to football betting we spend a lot of time telling you what you should be doing. We provide all kinds of advice on what factors to consider when making your selections, the type of wagers you should be placing, and the strategies you should be using. If you follow all this advice, you stand a very good chance of making some money.
Successful football betting is not just about doing the right things though. It's also about not doing the wrong things. It's the mistakes you make that will ultimately cost you money when betting, so you obviously want to make as few as possible. You're always going to make some, particularly when you're starting out, but keeping them to a minimum will help to protect your bankroll.
On this page we highlight some of the most common football betting mistakes. We also provide some advice on how to avoid making them, and following this will help to keep you on the right track.
Not Watching Enough Games
Some people might argue that successful football betting is all about analyzing statistics and data. We disagree. Knowing what information to look for and being able to analyze that information are certainly important attributes for a football bettor, but they are far from the only ones that matter.
In our view, the ability to watch a game of football and assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of both teams is equally valuable. In fact, it's possibly even more so. And yet, many bettors don't take advantage of all the televised football on offer and instead rely solely on match reports and the relevant published stats. This is a mistake.
There is no doubt that watching a lot of football can help you make more informed betting decisions. You'll get to know much more about the styles and qualities of the various teams and players, and this can be incredibly useful when trying to predict how a match will turn out.
Blindly Trusting the "Experts"
With football being such a popular sport, there is no shortage of people willing to offer their opinions on it. Some of these people are worth listening too, but some of them are not. Unfortunately, many of the people you are better off ignoring are somewhat thrust upon you by the media.
The media gives an enormous amount of attention to football, especially in the United States. There is virtually permanent coverage during the season, much of which includes so-called experts giving their opinions about teams, players, and upcoming matches. While there are certainly some bona-fide experts who know what they are talking about, there are plenty who are no more knowledgeable than the average football fan.
Many bettors place a great deal of faith in what the "experts" have to say, and allow this to influence their betting decision. We believe this to be a mistake. It's always useful to get additional insight and points of view that you may not have considered, so following the media's coverage of football can be useful to an extent. However, it's important not to simply assume that everything you hear or read is correct. You can take it on board for sure, but you should ultimately be forming your own opinions.
Focusing on the Offense
If you make all your betting decisions based on teams' offensive abilities, then you're making a big mistake. Sadly, this is something that a lot of recreational bettors do. They can be forgiven for this really, as the media does tend to focus on the offense far more than on the defense. Watch any game on TV and it's almost always the offensive moves that are highlighted and discussed the most.
is the more glamourous aspect of football, but the defense is important too.
A team's success, or lack of, will always come down to the sum of its parts. A good offense is obviously going to help a team score points, and that's why it tends to draw the most attention. Preventing the opposition from scoring is vital too though. Indeed, it is often a team's defense that determines how a game is played out.
When making predictions about what a team is likely to do in an upcoming game, you need to take as many factors as possible into account. If your strategy is simply to back the teams with the best offense, you're probably going to lose money in the long run.
Misjudging the Effect of Injuries
Injuries can have a big impact on a team's performance, both in one-off games and throughout a season. Any team losing its star quarterback, for example, is clearly going to be affected. This is why you should always look at injury reports each game week, before making your betting decisions.
It's important that you interpret the effect of injuries correctly though. A lot of bettors will automatically write a team off if they are without one of their big-name players, but very few teams are solely reliant on a single individual. You shouldn't assume a team is doomed to failure just because they've lost one of their stars.
This works both ways too. It's a mistake to over-estimate the impact of an injury to a big-name player, but it's also a mistake to under-estimate the impact of an injury to a lesser-known player. Sometimes relatively unnoticed players are integral parts of a team.
There are no hard and fast rules for assessing the potential effect of injuries, as it essentially comes down to personal judgement. The important thing is to do some proper analysis rather than just make assumptions.
Ignoring College Football & the CFL
Many, and perhaps most, bettors focus solely on the National Football League when betting on football. This is entirely understandable due to the fact that there's a lot more coverage of the NFL than any other league, and a lot more available in the way of data and statistics. It's still a mistake though.
The fundamental aim when betting on football is to identify opportunities for placing wagers that are good value. This is basically how you make money. If you only bet when you find value, then you should make a profit in the long run. It is, of course, actually identifying the correct opportunities that's the challenge. Limiting your scope to the NFL, and ignoring college football and the Canadian Football League, makes it even more of a challenge.
both offer profitable betting opportunities.
You might not know as much about college football and the CFL as you do the NFL but, generally speaking, neither do the bookmakers. The people setting the odds and lines are very knowledgeable about the NFL, and this means they regularly get those odds and lines right on. This makes it hard to find the value. They don't tend to spend as much time on college football and the CFL, which means there is potentially more value to be had. If you can learn as much as possible about football outside the NFL, you can greatly increase your chances of beating the bookmakers.
We should make it clear that these are not the only five mistakes that football bettors make. Listing every mistake you could possibly make when betting on football is an impossible task. We've simply listed the ones that we believe are particularly common. Avoiding these can help you to win money, or at least reduce the amount you lose. You'll certainly be ahead of the average recreational bettor.
If you're relatively new to betting, then you may also like to check out the following article from our beginners' guide to sports betting. It explains several basic errors that most people make when starting out, such as betting too often and blaming bad luck rather than actually analyzing what might be going wrong. Again, simply avoiding these errors will fundamentally improve your betting skills.
Please be aware, though, that you're kidding yourself if you think you can avoid making mistakes all together. That's just not realistic. In any case, making mistakes can actually benefit you in the long run providing you learn from them.
Always bear in mind that successful football betting is never going to be easy. There wouldn't be so many bookmakers in business if it was. They are usually very good at what they do, and gaining an edge over them takes a great deal of skill. Don't let that put you off though, as it can be done. You just have to be prepared to put in some significant time and effort. It's hard work, but the rewards can most definitely be worth it.
You may have already been reading through our football guide, in which case you're already well on the way to success. If you've just stumbled across this page, however, then we strongly recommend taking a look at everything it has to offer.
Our last point is that you should really consider using the internet to place your football wagers if you are not already doing so. There are several advantages to betting online, and any advantage you can get is a good thing. If you've never bet online before, the following guide will help you to get started.
With Online Sports Betting
Author: Brad Johnson
Updated: December 2015
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