The 5 golden rules of sports betting

Betting on a match can be a great way to feel more like a part of the action on the pitch. While it can be fun to throw money down based on the look of a horse or the sound of player’s name, making bets that rely on more than a hunch is also enjoyable. Here are the five golden rules of sports betting:

Understand the sport and bet on what you know

This one may seem ridiculously obvious to the experienced sports bettor. Who in their right mind would just throw money away by not having a clue what they’re betting on? If you’re a huge football fan, it doesn’t make sense to suddenly start betting on the Tour de France – just because the football season is over – without doing some research into who is racing, the results over the last few years and how competitive cycling works. This isn’t meant to keep anyone away from betting on a new sport – learning the ins and outs of a sport you’re unfamiliar with could just be how you find your new favourite!

Alongside understanding the sport is only betting on what you know. If you love football and know everything about the Premier League, don’t just assume that you can jump straight into betting on the Bundesliga. The general knowledge will transfer between leagues but before you bet outside of your general range of knowledge, do some research on the teams and players in the leagues you’re branching out into.

Shop around for bets

Not all sportsbooks will offer the same odds. It may be easier to always place your bets with the same sportsbook every time but shopping around for the best odds can boost your winnings. Pay attention, in particular, to the best game total, point spread and moneyline prices. These are where you’re most likely to see an impact on your returns.

It also pays to keep an eye on which sportsbooks are offering bonuses or special offers. Some sportsbooks will offer bonuses to new customers, while others will have special offers for certain kinds of bets or bets placed on particular matches. This can be a great way to potentially boost your winnings.

Keep track

Keeping track of your research and your bets will make it easier to notice trends and make smart bets. Of course, all the stats you could ever want are available online but you don’t necessarily want all the stats: you want those that are tied to the sports and teams you’re interested in and the types of bets you’re making. Plus, research has shown that taking the time to write things down yourself helps you remember and process the information. If you want to become a sports betting whiz, keeping your own records is an important step in the process.

Bet through a reputable sportsbook

One of the most important rules of sports betting is to bet through a reputable sportsbook. You can have done all the necessary research, know all the ins and outs of the sport and have the best hunch in the world, but if you’re trusting your money to the wrong sportsbook, none of that will matter. While the majority of online sportsbooks are legitimate, as with any industry, there are some that are scams.

The best way to go about finding a sportsbook you can trust is to use a trusted sports betting guide. These guides contain all the information you need to place a sound bet, and they offer links to legitimate sportsbooks and other betting sites. For example, World Sports Network offers stats for all major sports as well as betting guides, and contains links to approved sportsbooks.

Set a limit – and stick to it!

It’s all well and good to set a limit but if you constantly allow yourself to place just one more bet then having a limit doesn’t really matter. You have to be dedicated to sticking to your limit. Not only does this protect you from potentially losing money that you can’t afford to lose, it also encourages you to bet smarter. If you know you only have a certain amount of money to bet, you’re less likely to throw it away on silly bets on a whim, and more likely to put some thought into where the best odds are.

Gambling is never a sure thing – there is always risk involved. Keeping these five rules in mind, though, is doing everything you can to stack the deck in your favour. There’s a bonus sixth rule too – have fun!