How to Avoid the Most Common Sports Betting Mistakes

Get better at sports betting by learning how to avoid the most common mistakes mug punters make, and swiftly start betting like a pro

Many punters fail to succeed because they keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again. It’s crazy to think that you can improve as long as you keep repeating the same routine – at least that’s what Albert Einstein said. Still, many bettors are unaware of the impact the silly, avoidable errors have on their performance.

Common betting mistakes are easy to prevent, as long as you’re mindful. You'll be surprised to see how even experienced punters, after years of practice, still fall back into poor habits and sabotage themselves.

So, learning about these common errors is only half of the work.

The key is to stop making them. Otherwise, you’ll never be able to improve. Everybody makes mistakes, but those who actually learn from them turn out to be successful sports bettors.


With all that in mind, take some time and read through these common sports betting mistakes. Please feel free to write a few tips on a sticky note.

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Quickly navigate to your desired topic:

  1. Chasing Losses
  2. Wagering on Events You Know Little or Nothing About
  3. Wagering Random Stakes
  4. Having Unrealistic Expectations
  5. Adding Too Many Selections to Your Bet Slip
  6. Cashing Out Without a Proper Plan
  7. Limiting Yourself to Only One Bookmaker


Chasing losses

After losing a sequence of bets, our brain is telling us that our luck has to turn around and that our next bets are more likely to win. Thus, most punters are tempted to increase the stakes while going through a losing streak, and usually end up doing so until they run out of money. This mistaken belief, called the Gambler’s Fallacy, has been the downfall of many bettors.

Let’s take an example to clarify why this belief is false:

If we flip a regular coin 100 times, we should get roughly 50 heads and 50 tails. This means either result has a probability of exactly 50%. So, if we toss a coin 10 times and it lands each time on heads, the chances will remain the same the 11th time we’re going flip it, namely 50-50.

How to recover from a significant gambling loss then, you may ask?

Well, the key to success is to stay in control. Stick to your bankroll management plan and take a break if you find it hard to accept gambling losses. Just get your head of it somehow and come back tomorrow or when the heat is gone.

Don't chase your losses. Otherwise, you’ll end up bankrupt in no time!

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Betting on Events You Know Little or Nothing About

Betting on Events You Know Little or Nothing About

Being lazy can be harmful to your pocket, especially if you’re a punter. As much as it’s fine to read various betting predictions to collect information when analysing a match, letting others do all the work is not a good idea. You need to be in control of your fortunes and have your way of establishing the tips you will wager on. Otherwise, you won’t ever be able to improve your results.

Punters who get involved in football betting, NBA betting, political betting, eSports betting etc. won’t go far. Rookies believe they can cover several sports and leagues successfully, but they rarely end up landing a profit at the end of the month.

Be smart and focus only on a few leagues – as many as you can adequately monitor at the same time. You really have to know them inside out: follow all the players on social media, the fan clubs, forums, groups, newspapers etc. and try to stay one step ahead of the bookies.

Take note: specialisation is one of the principal contributors to sports betting success!

Always be patient, base your betting decision on relevant information, and wait for the right opportunities to arise. Never place a bet just to make the matches you are following more exciting if you want to improve your long term results!

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Wagering Random Stakes

Did you notice that most bettors have no idea how much money they’ll stake on tomorrow’s wagers? Guess what: That's leading them nowhere!

You need to strictly follow a money management strategy if you are serious about trying to make a profit from betting. Otherwise, all your hard work will go to waste in the long run.

Please ignore the progressive bankroll management plans and betting strategies, as they’re a sure way to bankruptcy. The best money management on even bets would be to wager a small percentage of your initial bankroll on every single bet.

What percentage of your bankroll should you bet? Well, that’s entirely up to you.

Pro’s wager between 0.5% and 3% on every single bet. The higher percentage you select, the more risky and profitable the approach will be. Be cautious at first, start with let’s say 1% and then move from there – This way you could survive, in theory, a streak of 99 losing bets!

Kelly Criterion is another popular strategy amongst betting professionals, but this one of the riskiest betting tactics out there. Therefore, you will need a great deal of value betting experience before you can expect to take advantage of it.

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Having Unrealistic Expectations

Nobody starts betting on sports thinking that they’ll lose. Although it is common knowledge that more than 90% of punters lose, beginners tend to believe they will be part of that 10% (or even less). And don’t get me wrong: It’s not bad to be optimistic, but don’t think that achieving that goal is easy, because it’s not!

Just because you saw several big wins in the media doesn’t mean that everyone will be lucky enough at some point in time and win tens of thousands of pounds. This doesn’t happen as often as bookies might want to make you think! Remember: bookies weren’t built on winners!

There’s also a group of punters who expect to triple their bankroll each and every day. If you happen to fall in this category, I’d be curious to know if you have any idea how much money professional gamblers make.

Okay, listen carefully: the top tipsters in the industry manage a profit of just about 5% on each integral bankroll rollover in the long run. In other words, if their budget is £10.000, they will make a profit of roughly £500 after wagering £10.000.

And remember that we’re talking about the best of the best!

Some pros live on 2%, so don’t despair if you can’t reach the 5% margin.

Most professional sports bettors are aiming to place their money on even bets or better, as they are generally more likely to find value on outsider bets.

You’d require a 50% win percentage to break even if you wager on average odds of 2.00. So, if you can hit 51 out of 100 predictions at even odds, you're going to be in the green, in the long run.

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Adding Too Many Selections to Your Bet Slip

What I’m about to tell you will shock you, so be prepared: It is mathematically impossible to make a profit from betting in the long run if you play accumulator bets.

Yes, you’ve heard well. Acca betting and sports betting success don’t fall under the same roof.

Let me explain how that works…

Each bookie retains a margin for every single betting line. If you were to convert odds into probabilities, you would quickly discover that by adding up all possible outcomes, you’ll end up with a total that exceeds 100%. That’s because those aren’t true odds.

Let´s take an example: Liverpool vs Man Utd – 1X2 odds: 2.80, 3.30 & 2.80.

We get 35.7%, 30.3% & 35.7% when converting the odds into probabilities.

Sum that up, and you will get 101.7%. That 1.7% is the bookie’s margin on this particular line.

Now let’s check the Both Teams to Score market at the same online sportsbook: 1.75 & 2.20.

On this market, we have a 2.6% margin.

We’ve shown you a couple of examples with juicy odds, but in reality, pay-outs can even be lower than 90% in various betting markets, at different online betting sites.

So, why did I tell you all this?

To help you understand that the house margin increases with every extra selection that’s added on a bet slip. For example, if you are getting 5% lower odds than you should for a single bet, when you place a double, you are losing 10% value. That is the reason why you should stay away from accas, teasers or parlays – as they are called – if you want to improve your success rate.

So, all you have to do is to split your bet slip into single bets. That’s an easy way to start. And don’t worry about placing too many wagers – as long as the stakes are small.

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Cashing Out Without a Proper Plan

The option to cash out a bet has become an increasingly popular offering in the online sports betting world. And it’s easy to understand why: You can secure a profit or reduce the losses before a match has finished or before it has even begun (in case of an acca bet).

The possibility to close the bet without having to invest more money in a live bet to cover the initial wager is especially alluring for old weekend bettors who had to do it the hard way before not too long ago, as well as for punters who have small budgets and often end up betting their whole bankroll in a single day. Nowadays, cashing out is now done just by pressing a button – exactly as online bookmakers advertise it.

But why would bookies implement a function that helps bettors save money, thus reducing their profits?

Well, when a punter cashes out, he is actually paying the bookie’s margin a second time, as he is placing an opposite bet. This is the reason why there are so many cash out betting sites out there these days.

The second issue here is that cash out can be addictive. Once you start using it, you might be very tempted to use it every time you bet. That would cause a constant decline in earnings, and ultimately, decrease your chances of landing in the green.

We’re not saying that this function can’t be useful, but you should only use it if you are following a well-thought cash out strategy. Just make sure you’ll be ready for any scenario. Do the math, and leave little or no room for improvisation!

In other words, you need to follow a pattern that enables you to react quickly, making sure at the same time that you aren’t sabotaging yourself while doing it.

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Limiting Yourself to Only One Bookmaker

Limiting Yourself to Only One Bookmaker

You know that different bookies offer different odds for the same events and markets – here we’ve explained why odds change. That’s why every professional punter uses odds comparison tools before placing a bet.

So, stop looking for the number-one bookie because there’s no such thing as the perfect bookmaker. Instead, register with as many top bookmakers you can.

Do you realise that having accounts with 10 top bookies will give you the possibility to wager on the best betting odds on the market every single time?

Maybe the 1-3% gain per bet doesn’t seem too important to you at first, but if you do the math, you’ll be surprised to discover that line shopping could actually make the difference between losing money and landing a profit at the end of the month.

On top of that, if you sign-up with multiple sports betting sites, you will have access to all kinds of betting markets, live streaming, free bets, promotions and whatnot.

It’s time to end this sports betting guide.

Now, that we’ve covered the biggest sports betting mistakes, it’s all up to you to avoid these pitfalls. Consider keeping records of errors to not repeat again. But remember that success requires more than just learning what to steer clear of.

Try to apply the advice given, regardless of your sports betting experience, in order to boost your chances of becoming a successful bettor, but bear in mind that there’s a learning curve as to what not to do when betting on sports.

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