7 Things Sports Fans Should Know Before Betting on Sports

By in Sports & Betting on
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Over the last several years, sports fans have likely noticed a shift in the way the most popular sports leagues are handling the idea of sports gambling.

Whereas the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL used to frown on the idea of gambling, most have now embraced it. Popular sports betting websites, casinos, and other gambling brands have even begun to partner with teams and leagues.

Now, it’s almost impossible to watch a sporting event and not hear about gambling implications or be overwhelmed with advertisements.

This shift has led to a few things. First of all, it’s never been easier for sports fans to break into gambling. The industry is expanding each day, as is the size of the gambling public.

Still, you might have resisted the temptation to give real money sports betting a try until now. If you’re thinking about giving it a shot there are some things you should be aware of.

Here are 7 things every sports fan should think about before they start betting on sports.

1 ‒ Sports Fans Don’t Always Make the Best Gamblers

Despite what you might think, there are several key differences between a sports gambler and a sports fan. The truth is that it’s much easier to be a sports fan than a sports bettor.

While being a sports fan can be demanding at times, that has nothing on what it takes to be a successful gambler. For the most part, being a fan is infinitely more passive than being a bettor.

For that reason, not all avid sports fans can become good sports gamblers.

Being a sports fan simply involves keeping up with teams and leagues. However, becoming a sports gambler demands much more from those who hope to find success.

Sports bettors usually must be more knowledgeable, unbiased, analytical, and strategic. In other words, they must be far more active than the run-of-the-mill sports fan.

But, many novice gamblers operate under the misconception that their base-level sports acumen will lead to consistent winning. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the truth.

While any additional amount of sports-related information and wisdom you have will benefit you, sports gamblers have to be far more diligent.

2 ‒ New Sports Gamblers Often Fail

Like any type of ad campaign, sports gambling advertisements typically don’t tell you both sides of the story.

Most offer potential customers and sports fans a narrative where everyone wins a ridiculous amount of money. Others claim that anyone can pick up gambling and achieve early success.

However, sports betting is often difficult for sports fans who have no form of gambling experience. This high degree of difficulty results in a majority of novices losing money.

It’s important to acknowledge this for a few reasons.

  • Beginners can easily put themselves into sticky situations
  • The novelty of sports gambler wears off quickly once you start losing money
  • Knowing you’ll likely struggle early will force you to be more conservative
  • The sports gambling industry tends to be glamorized by media outlets and ad agencies

By recognizing the challenges you’ll face when you first start gambling, you can save money in the long run. Developing smart and responsible gambling habits will put you ahead of the curve.

3 ‒ Sports Knowledge Is Different Than Gambling Knowledge

For one reason or another, many people think that years of watching a particular team makes them a good gambler. But, many sports fans struggle with myopia, or tunnel vision and rarely get outside of their comfort zone.

Say there’s a potential sports gambler who’s a massive fan of the NBA, more specifically the Boston Celtics. In fact, they haven’t missed a Celtics game in years.

They might think that those years of watching the sport will benefit them and make it easier to transition into betting on basketball. As I said earlier, any knowledge is valuable.


However, this line of reasoning is inherently flawed. Watching one team year after year won’t make you a great sports gambler.

You might know everything there is to know about the contemporary NBA, but that doesn’t mean you know how to bet on it. When you first start betting you must broaden your horizons and step outside your bubble in order to develop into a more well-rounded fan and gambler.

There are 30 teams in the NBA. Being a die-hard fan of one of them isn’t enough to assure sports gambling success and profit.

4 ‒ Betting to Add Intrigue Isn’t Viable

There are several perfectly good reasons you might want to start betting on sports. Hoping to add more intrigue into the viewing experience isn’t one of them.

Don’t get me wrong: I find no issue with sports fans betting on games to raise the stakes and improve the experience. However, doing so isn’t a viable way to make money over an extended period.

Doing this occasionally is relatively harmless, especially if you’re not placing a sizable amount of money on any particular game. However, making a habit out of this can lead to many issues.

When you bet for the sake of betting alone, you’ll likely sacrifice value and end up wasting money on a losing wager.

Say you’re watching a UFC fight with your friends and a couple of them are placing bets. You might consider jumping in on the action.

However, there’s a good chance you don’t know enough about either fighter to make a sharp wager that stands any chance of winning.
Like I said, engaging in this practice every once in a while is fine, just don’t do it all the time.

5 ‒ Winning Money Is Easier Said Than Done

Sports betting is incredibly difficult. This shouldn’t be news to anyone, but it always bears repeating.

If you think you are going to become the next big thing in the sports betting industry, think again. Unless you know something that the rest of us don’t, you’ll likely find yourself losing more than you win.

This shouldn’t convince you not to give sports betting a chance, but it’s always important to know what you’re getting yourself into.


When you first get into gambling, you should consider it a hobby, like golf for example. Learning to golf comes with its fair share of expenses.

You need to buy a set of clubs, golf balls, golf shoes, pay for green fees, and even lessons. Becoming a decent golfer takes a lot of time and resources.

So does gambling.

Just like you won’t become a scratch golfer overnight, you shouldn’t expect to become a sharp sports gambler in a matter of weeks.

6 ‒ Betting on Your Favorite Teams Isn’t Ideal

The primary reason a lot of sports gamblers get into betting in the first place can ultimately be their undoing. Most of the time people gamble where they are comfortable, meaning they gravitate towards the teams and sports they know best.

While this isn’t the worst thing in the world, it leads to one of the most common mistakes new gamblers make: betting on their favorite team.

When new sports bettors are placing bets on their favorite teams, they tend to wager with their hearts instead of their brains. Betting as a biased, die-hard sports fan is unproductive for a variety of reasons.

Gambling for or against your favorite teams is rarely a good idea. By betting for them, you’re likely doing so out of a sense of duty or favoritism. But betting against them is hardly any better and can take all of the fun out of watching sports.

Instead of doing either of these things, consider placing bets on other matches that have less emotional baggage and implications.

7 ‒ Start Slow and Steady

During your introductory phase in sports betting, you should always start off slow. Instead of loading up your bankroll with a ton of cash or betting on far too many games, consider scaling everything down.

Doing so will help you develop savvy bankroll management habits and allow you to devote more time and energy to each wager. If you spread your resources too thin, you run the risk of losing all of your money.

Even if you win, you’ll learn less about the pros and cons of each wager. Learning how and when to place successful wagers will benefit you and lead to sustained success.


Sports fans might think that a logical next step would be to start betting on the games they’re watching. If you’re one of those fans, there are a few things you should think about before you get started.

The countless hours you’ve previously spent watching sports won’t make you a sharp sports bettor. Some of that knowledge will come into play, but sports betting requires gamblers to be more active than casual sports fans.

Sports betting is incredibly difficult for novices. That degree of difficulty depends on a few factors like the sports you bet on, how much gambling experience you have.

Treat sports gambling as a hobby and remember that many hobbies are more expensive for beginners than those of you that are established.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...

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