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  • Writer's pictureAvoid the Vig

7 Mistakes Novice Bettors Make

Even the sharpest sports handicappers once broke into the profession as a square. They made the same mistakes as every novice bettor does. They bet with their heart and over their head. They bet on the favorite teams and trusted the wrong people. They bet a little with the false promise to make it rich. Ultimately, every Pro started as a Joe.

Wouldn't it be great if there was a blueprint for all the pitfalls that beginners make, that way money wouldn't be immediately ripped out of a new sports bettors hands? Welcome to the latest edition of our Betting 101 series: Mistakes Novice Bettors Make article. We analyze the common mistakes new bettors make to ensure squares become sharps as quickly as possible.

Illusions of Grandeur

The excitement is intoxicating. The first bet is always that way. No matter who you are or how much you first wagered, there was a pit in your stomach, a mix between elation, unease, and nausea. The variance swayed back and forth like the pendulum of the game itself. You sat helpless, waiting for the momentum to stop, the clock to hit zero, and, hopefully, the empty promise of a ticket realized.

Maybe you won your first bet and you ran to the window to place another. Maybe you lost, but not to be detered, you bet again. After all, you wanted to live the good life. You wanted to hit it big!

Don't we all? Sharp or squares, pros or Joes, we all want win big, get rich, and live the good life. The difference between the novice bettor and the sharp, is that the novice bettor thinks about macrocosmic goal (winnings, retirement, beach house) and the sharp only thinks about the granular steps to get there. When a bettor's focus shifts away from handicapping it is a distraction. Any thoughts about the goal is wasted time. Concentrate on the specific handicap of each individual game.

Bet With Their Heart

A vast majority of bettors were fans first. They grew up rooting for a team or a player. They begged their dad to take them to a game. They donned their favorite player's jersey and pretended to catch passes in the front yard. They argued with friends who rooted for their rivals. They counted down the minutes church would be over in hopes to make it home before kickoff. There is nothing quite like being a fan.

But, the term fan is short for fanatical. Fans are biased and think outrageous things for arbitrary reasons. You think this is hyperbole? Ask any fan if their team has every held on any play ever. Like I said...they are fanatics. Being a fan is great, unless you are a bettor. Fans have biases that taint perspective on the game. Separating a fan from a bettor is as important as separating fact from fiction. Novice bettors tend to bet with their heart. They bet for their favorite team or their favorite player. They bet because of a memory they had as a child or the college they went to. It is irrational. To win consistently, novice bettors have to separate heart from their head.

Bet Over Their Head

Speaking of is extremely important not to bet over it. Square bettors tend to bet insane amounts of money or in sporadic amounts, all of which, is simply not conducive to winning consistently. Instead of loading up on play, it is more prudent to diversify your sports gambling portfolio. Spreading your bankroll around on multiple bets will take much of the risk away from the bettor. You can make money in sports gambling, but you don't have to make it all in one bet. Practice patience and good bankroll management to win effectively.

Bet the over

Football purist may get their kicks in a pound em up, drag em out slugfest in the trenches. A vision of a running back battering into his offensive line with mud and blood flying through the air, and Steve Sabol's voice introducing an NFL Films production certainly tickles nostalgia. But, new bettors aren't typically interested low scoring affairs. The more scoring the better. Novice bettors want entertainment and excitement and they look for it through betting on the over.

When you bet on the over, you are never out of it. As long as there is still time left on the clock, there is still a chance the over cashes. For novice bettors, this keeps the excitement going for the entire game. When you bet the under, it could lose in the first half. At that point the bet ticket isn't worth the price of the paper it is printed on.

We aren't suggesting that you should never bet the over, but if your card has a vast majority of overs in your totals portfolio, you probably need to reevaluate things and admit that you are a novice bettor.

Bet Parlays

I've heard all the statistics about lottery winners going bankrupt, suffering depression, committing suicide, etc. It doesn't make me want to win the lottery any less. Whether its the lottery or sports betting, most individuals want to risk a little bit of money and win a lot. Welcome to the world of parlays, a square bettor's lottery ticket.

It seems like it is every other week there is another sportsbook promoting some long shot parlay that has a chance to turn $2 into a million. Why would a sportsbook promote the possibility of them losing money? The answer is simple, parlays are a great source of revenue for the sportsbook. Stating it in bettor-centric terms, parlays are horrible return on investments. Certainly, parlays hit. People have won parlays risking a little to win a lot, but far more often than not, parlays lose and the house wins. Don't make the sportsbooks rich. Don't bet parlays.

Bet at One Sportsbook

Most novice bettors receive a leaflet in the mail or spam in their inbox with the latest offering for a sign up bonus. The bettor usually takes the money they want to bet with and deposit it all into that one sportsbook. There is a major downside to just having one out. You cannot shop the line. Shopping the line is extremely important if you plan on winning long term. Novice bettors just want to log into their account, place their bet, and spend the rest of their time watching the game unfold. However, the act of shopping a line can be the difference between winning and losing a play. A half a point here or there can take a losing bettor and make them into a winner. The only way to do that is by having multiple books and shopping the line.

Trust the wrong people

There are touts of every variety on every platform claiming they are the best handicapper on the internet. Improbable statistics are given as factual proof without documentation of the actual picks. Talking heads on the television, radio, and podcasts give their plays with their latest intel, which completely contradicts the other talking heads on the other television, radio, and podcast programs. The deluge of information is overwhelming. The novice bettor ends up trusting everyone. After a while, they have bets and they have no idea why.

To overcome this, you should identify touts that have opinions that are valuable. Sift through all the marketing and greasy used car salesman pitches and figure out who is offering actionable intel. After collecting all the worthwhile angles and opinions, bettors should then make their own assessment of the game. Blindly following pick sellers is a recipe for disaster. Even if you pay for your picks, listen to multiple people and/or do your own research before betting.



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