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Learn the basic terminology

Maybe you know your sports teams and athletes, but do you know exactly what every type of bet involves? Do you know your fixed odds from your tote? Do you know when to bet against the spread and when to place an accumulator bet? Are you familiar with arbitrage betting, split handicaps, and money lines? How much do you know about strategic betting systems, such as the Martingale system or the Fibonacci system?

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Understand the sports betting industry

Again, you don’t need to spend years developing an in-depth knowledge of how the entire industry operates, but it can be helpful to understand how sports betting works, and how the bookmakers make their money. With sports betting, as with casino betting, there is an in-built “house edge”, meaning that regardless of whether the individual punters win or lose, the bookies tend to make money.

With sports betting, this is possible because the bookmakers set the odds, and can set them at a level where they’re highly likely to make an overall profit, no matter what happens. You may notice that in a fairly equal two-horse race (meaning any event with two equally likely outcomes), the odds will be set at slightly below even money. This is because the bookmakers are taking a commission on every wager regardless of the outcome.

With sports betting, the gamblers may win or lose, but the bookmaker always profits, just like the casino does. This shouldn’t put you off sports betting, but it should make you think about how you, as the gambler, are the one keeping the bookie in profit. You will win some and lose some, and apart from anything else, this can help you recognise your limitations and learn to quit while you’re ahead sometimes, because no one keeps winning forever.