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The 9 Biggest Wagering Mistakes

September 1, 2019

Many may seem obvious, but they’re consistently made by novices and even those more seasoned.

1. Don’t bet more than 5% of your bankroll.
I don’t care how good you are. You will have losing streaks. You can always increase your wagers as your capital grows. You don’t want to become a problem gambler.

2. Don’t increase bet size after a big loss.
Time to check into Gamblers Anonymous.

3. Don’t borrow to wager.
You’ve probably already been to Gamblers Anonymous and it didn’t help.

4. Make sure that you shop for the best odds.
Competing sportsbooks offer lines that can vary from a half point to as many as 2+ points.  Many games are decided by very small margins against the spread. Increasing your winning percentage by as little as 2%-3% can dramatically increase your profits at the end of a season.

5. Do not weigh recent events too heavily.
We have instant access to everything, whether radio, TV or online. Events are already built into the line. Rare exceptions can be made if you get information before others, but that’s probably not going to happen.

6. Use statistics, not trends.
Almost everyone thinks following trends produces winning results. It doesn’t. Trend handicappers lose. Trends either even out over time or are already built into the line.

7. Don’t bet on a feeling.
Emotion should be reserved until game time. As difficult as this sounds, I often advise never to wager on your hometown team. This one is tough for many, and I admit is the only rule I’ve broken on occasion. Most tend to overvalue their own fan allegiances.

8. Do not parlay or tease.
These bets tie two or more together with hopes for bigger payouts.
a) A parlay includes multiple bets. You have to win each to collect.
b) A teaser includes multiple bets with adjusted point spreads – not the standard line.

The gambler gets points in his or her favor, but again needs  to win all bets to collect.

There are two factors that make these two wagers inadvisable.
a) Sports books take out a greater percentage, making long-term return on investment (ROI) more difficult.
b) Unexpected outcomes occur frequently.

You only need to win 53% of your games to show a profit.
Lose only one with these exotic bets and you lose everything.
Sports books love to take action on parlays and teasers.

9. Do not believe self-proclaimed handicappers’ results
without research.
Some claim to have winning percentages as high as 80%. You would have a greater chance of getting eaten by a shark in your bathtub. There are a few who make money every year,  but probably less than 1%.

I’d like the opportunity to do the homework for you.
John Rothschild
John Rothschild - sports handicapper(Recent articles at SI, ESPN, Bloomberg News, New York Sports Scene, & USRacing)

Author of Best Selling:
Football Betting Made Easy

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