Warning! Are You Making These 6 Sports Gambling Mistakes?

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Warning Sign and Odds

I’ve been gambling on sports for over 4 decades. In that time I’ve made a ton of mistakes, but I’ve also learned from most of my mistakes.

In this article I’m going to share 6 mistakes that I’ve learned over the years. You don’t have to make these same mistakes if you’re willing to learn from my mistakes.

In the long run it’s going to save you a lot of money to avoid the same mistake that I made in the past. You’re still going to make some mistakes, but as long as you learn from them you have a chance to be a profitable sports gambler.

1 – Always Betting Favorites

I used to bet on the favorites in almost every game that I decided to bet on. Now I almost always bet on the underdog if I decide to make a bet.

You’re going to have a hard time winning consistently if you only bet on favorites or if you only bet on underdogs. The profit is somewhere in the middle.

The reason why I usually bet on underdogs is because in a way it gives me 2 ways to win instead of 1. When the underdog is able to pull out a victory I win, and when they lose but still cover I win.

I don’t bet on every underdog because this isn’t a profitable strategy. But I look for underdogs that have the best chance to win the game when I handicap sporting events and place bets on these games.

It has to be a perfect situation for me to place a bet on a favorite. I’ve found that there are too many things that can go against me when betting on favorites. Coaches don’t care how much they win by; just that they win. This has cost me a lot of money over the last 40+ years.

2 – Betting as a Fan

I started as a sports gambler by betting on my favorite teams. Now I never bet on my favorite teams. I’m still a fan and I can’t do a good job evaluating teams that I like. I want them to win, so I have a hard time seeing their faults.

I know many sports gamblers that are able to be fans and win in the long run. If you can do this, I’m happy for you. But I know many more sports fans that lose overall when they place wagers on their favorite teams.

Sports Fans

The way a winning sports gambler looks at a game is different than the way a fan looks at a game. You have to learn to evaluate games and sporting events in a way that helps you win more wagers. Fans can’t do this.

The smart thing to do is avoid betting on games that involve your favorite teams. This way you can afford to still be a fan and have a chance to win as a sports gambler.

Remove all emotion when you handicap sporting events. Deal with facts and don’t do anything that can cloud your judgment as a sports gambler.

3 – Overvaluing Past Seasons

When I evaluate sporting events I use data from the current season close to 100% of the time. What a team did last season rarely has much to do with what they’re doing and how they’re performing this season.

Very few teams are able to remain on top year after year. Each season is unique, and when you put too much focus on what they did in past seasons you’re making a big mistake.

Some coaches are able to maintain a winning culture for a long time, but they still have to deal with turnover, injuries, and aging players. And even a coach with a winning system in place faces the possibility that other teams learn how to combat the system over time.

The closest thing to a dynasty that’s possible in modern sports is in college football. But if you look at the best teams 10 or 20 years back, they’re not always the same as the best teams now.

The best way to evaluate sporting events is to learn how to evaluate talent and how coaching use that talent. The talent is never the same on a team from year to year. Forget about past seasons and focus on the facts from this season.

4 – Over Betting Your Sports Gambling Bankroll

You do have a bankroll for your sports gambling don’t you? If you don’t, it’s time t set a bankroll aside from the rest of your money.

When you use a sports gambling bankroll it helps you track how successful you are and it also helps you decide how much you need to risk on each game you bet on.

The first mistake that most sports gamblers make is having no bankroll.

The second mistake they make is betting too much in comparison to the available money they have on a single game.

If you’re risking more than 5% of your total available bankroll on a single game you’re risking too much. IN fact, I recommend never risking more than 3% of your total bankroll on any single game. And it’s even smarter to never risk more than 1% or 2% of your bankroll on a single sporting contest.

You’re going to lose games that you bet on. In fact, the odds are high that you’re going to go through times when you lose several games in a row.

When you limit your risk on individual games you protect your bankroll for the future.

5 – Betting on Too Many Road Teams

I don’t like placing wagers on road team. I still do it occasionally, but usually I bet on home teams. Road teams are simply too unpredictable. While home teams tend to play closer to a level that you can predict.

Winning as a sports gambler isn’t something that just happens overnight. You have to build your skills and learn when you make mistakes. Betting on too many road teams has been a costly mistake that I’ve made.

Every sporting event you evaluate is unique. You have to consider many different things, including the road team. In some cases a bet on the road team offers value, but I’ve found that in most games the road team doesn’t offer any value.

Of course, just because there’s no value on the road team doesn’t mean that the home team automatically offers value. It took me a long time to learn that not every sporting event offers value.

And if there’s no value you shouldn’t make a wager.

Start tracking how road teams perform against the spread in your favorite sport. You can learn a great deal about betting on road teams by doing this. You’re going to quickly learn why it’s dangerous to bet on too many road teams.

6 – Ignoring Travel and Weather

Like most sports gamblers I use a lot of statistics and numbers when I evaluate games. But there are some things that you can’t use numbers to evaluate. The 2 main things that you need to look at outside of the available statistics are weather and how far the road team has to travel.

The longer the trip, the harder it is to evaluate how a road team is going to perform. Coast to coast trips are the worst because the players have to travel across multiple time zones.

If you’ve ever traveled over 2 or more time zones you know how it can mess with your mind and body. Even though the games you’re evaluating are filled with great athletes, it doesn’t mean that they’re immune to the same issues that normal people have to deal with.

When you’re evaluating sporting events that are played outside, the weather is an important factor. Cold weather teams playing in hot weather suffer, and how weather teams playing in the cold suffer. It’s challenging to evaluate just how much the weather influences performance, but it’s not something you can afford to ignore.


Sports teams are favorites for a reason, but sometimes it’s more profitable to bet on the underdogs. Instead o only having 1 way to win, you have 2.

The worst thing you can do as a sports gambler is betting as a fan. Being a fan is fine, but don’t let it influence how you evaluate games.

Don’t put too much stock in what teams did in previous seasons. Every season is unique. It’s also dangerous to bet too much in relation to your bankroll on every game.

Finally, road teams are dangerous to sports gamblers and never ignore travel and weather conditions.

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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