Sports betting is a billion-dollar industry. Millions of people bet on every sport and significant event, placing their wagers with bookies or directly through the websites that offer odds on everything from football games to horse races. And while some professional athletes are known for making big bets on themselves, most of us don’t have the millions necessary to risk our livelihoods.
That’s where we come in. Here are 12 ways you can get started earning a little extra cash by placing bets on your favorite teams and players.
1. Start Small
If you’re new at this, it’s best to start with something relatively safe, like predicting which team will win a game or two before the season begins. If you want to make serious money, you need to stay away from the big names until you’ve established yourself as a reliable expert. Otherwise, you could end up getting burned—and losing all your hard-earned cash.
2. Sign Up at an Online Sports book Site
Sites like Bet365 allow you to place bets on virtually any sporting event that takes place anywhere in the world. Some charge a fee per wager, while others offer free bets and payouts. The latter is better because they let you test your skills without risking anything. If you’re starting, stick to free bets, but once you start winning consistently, you can switch over to one of the sites that charge a percentage of each bet placed. There are several alternatives to Bet365, so choose the site that offers the best value.
3. Take Advantage of Free Bets
The best way to make money is to take advantage of the free bets offered by online sports books. Most bookies give away 100 free picks each day, although some will only provide 50 or fewer. Thus, you can use these free picks to build a portfolio of winners that will earn you more when you finally place a real bet.
4. Focus on Your Strengths
It’s important to focus your efforts on those areas where you have an edge. For example, if you’re good at handicapping horses, you should bet on horses, not baseball players. If you’re good at analyzing statistics, you should bet on football games. Instead, don’t try to predict the future; bet on what you know. It may seem counterintuitive, but you will reap consistent profits if you bet on the right things.
5. Avoid Failing Teams
Most people assume that picking against a struggling team will guarantee them a profit. They think there must be some pattern to these failures, so they figure that it’s worth betting against them. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Teams succeed or fail for many reasons, and the reasons vary widely. For example, a team with a poor record might be able to make you a few bucks, but you’d probably lose if you bet against a team performing well.
6. Pick Against the Public
This is another strategy that seems obvious, but it’s surprisingly common. Many people think that the public is stupid, so they assume that they’ll make a killing if they pick against the crowd. But, of course, this isn’t always true. Sometimes, the public is too dumb to see the difference between a good bet and a bad one. Many sports fans are terrible at handicapping, meaning they often make decisions based on instinct rather than logic. So if you want to maximize your profits, you need to avoid betting against the general public.
7. Stick With Your Team
The biggest mistake that novice sports bettors make is making a living by betting against their favorites. Sure, you might make a quick buck off of a few lucky streaks, but you’ll eventually burn out and leave the business. Instead, stick with your team. Even if you’re not a fan of the underdog, you can still make money by betting on the team you support.
8. Analyze Statistics
To make money, you need to do more than pick the winner. You also need to analyze the numbers. Knowing how your team stacks up against the competition will give you a better idea of which bets to make and which ones to avoid. Plus, if you can pick out trends in the data, you’ll increase your chances of making a profit.
9. Make Sure Your Bookie Has Good Credit
If you want to place a large bet, you’ll need to use a reputable online sports book. The best sites have excellent reputations, and you can tell by looking at reviews that they’re trustworthy. Look for customer service ratings, payout rates, and security features. You’ll also want to check out the reputation of the bookie’s parent company. The bigger the name, the better.
10. Avoid Overwhelming Odds
You should never bet on an overwhelming favorite, particularly if the line is around -150 or -200. These odds are meant to prevent you from betting. Ignoring them will result in a loss, but betting on the underdog will result in a small profit.
11. Bet on Games You Can Watch Live
If you’re going to bet on a game, you want to watch it live. Watching a game on TV is fine, but nothing beats seeing the action firsthand. If you’re not able to attend the game in person, you should make sure that you can view it on your computer or tablet. If you’re using a laptop or desktop, you should buy a cheap external monitor and connect it to your device. If you’re watching a game on your phone, you should download an app that lets you stream the video to your phone’s screen.
12. Avoid Taking Big Risks
One of the worst mistakes that you can make is taking big risks. When you’re betting on a big game, you need to keep your losses to a minimum. If you’re going to bet on a long shot, you need to be willing to take a hit to make a profit. It doesn’t mean you should be greedy, but you should avoid risking all your money on one deal.
Sports betting is a fun way to make a little extra money. Just remember that it’s not easy to succeed. You should stick with free bets and build up your portfolio if you’re starting. As you become more experienced, you can bet on games that you can watch in person. Finally, you should avoid taking significant risks. You’ll make more money if you focus on smaller bets and spread out your risk.