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Common Sport Betting Mistakes To Avoid: The 5 betting errors people make most often

Frustrated losing money betting? Here are the most common sport betting mistakes I encounter

As a golf analyst, one of the questions I am most often asked is what I do differently to others. Fact is, the vast majority of sport bettors will lose money. Bookmakers are not in the business of losing money. Actually, Americans have lost a reported $245billion on sports betting since restrictions loosened in 2018. However, sometimes it is the things you don’t do which are just as important as the actions you do take. I have many years of measured and consistent profit in the betting tips I provide. My hope for you is that, if you do choose to gamble, you do so in a safer and more informed manner. Here are the most common sport betting mistakes which I encounter on a regular basis.

Common Sport Betting Mistakes: Great Expectations

First in the common sport betting mistakes I come across is sport bettors unrealistic expectations. It is great to have goals. It is fantastic to have a dream. Simply put, you are extremely unlikely to get rich quick from gambling. Any website or tipster who advises you that you can gain enormous wealth immediately using their system is lying to you. Yes, you might get lucky and randomly hit one very big parlay. But, in actuality, sports betting is a grind. Any edge that exists is in the margins and is, generally, small.

For example, take my results for the past two years. In the 2022 golf season, I showed a return on investment of +25%. In 2023, we had a return on investment of +33%. That 2023 result would be the equivalent of placing a single bet of -303. Of course this is spread across an entire year, therefore lowering your risk compared to placing one rather large bet.

Sure, those results exceed the performance of the S&P 500. But, that is the result of years of gradual progress. And it places my results in some of the best and most consistent in the golf betting industry.

Therefore, sports gambling should primarily be for fun. You should never, ever, bet more than you can afford to lose. Bankroll management is key. Your maximum bet size should not exceed 1-2% of your total funds you are prepared to invest. Approach it responsibly and with the full knowledge that you could lose everything you put in.

Common Sport Betting Mistakes: Gambler’s fallacy

Another common sport betting mistake is known as the gambler’s fallacy. In short, many gamblers believe that prior results mean a future result is near guaranteed to happen. Roulette provides perhaps the easiest analogy. If a black number has fallen 7 times in a row, some gamblers will believe that the next number should surely be red. After all, the roulette wheel will fall on red and black roughly the same percentage of the time right?

The fact is, each spin of the roulette wheel is a completely independent event. The wheel does not remember that the last 7 spins were black. Your odds are still exactly the same. For red or black, that is 48.65% for a single zero wheel (and don’t even get me started on people who choose to play a wheel with two zeroes!) Over a long period of time, it will trend towards that number. But most gamblers seem to think in a very short timeframe.

Of course, in sport betting, recent form is still a very important factor to consider. However, you should focus on self-awareness and avoid falling into the trap of gambler’s fallacy. No golfer is ever “due” to win. Also, just because a golfer won last week doesn’t mean they are less likely to win the following week because they got their “usual” one win for the year. Each tournament is a new event, on a different golf course, in variable conditions, and with a new field. Your bets should be based in evidence and research. Be precise and measured in your approach.

Common Sport Betting Mistakes: Convoluting probability and value

Perhaps the most common error I find sport bettors making is confusing probability and value. First, we need to understand what expected value is. This uses elements of game theory and implied probability.

Every time you place a bet, that bet has an expected value. Going back to the roulette example, on a single zero wheel the expected value is -2.7%. That is to say that, over time, you can expect to lose 2.7% of your gambled amount. This is calculated as the 37 possible numbers on the wheel, where 19 results being losing bets and the other 18 being where you double your amount bet.

The only way to consistently win at sport betting is to place bets with a positive expected value. My role is to provide you with selections where the odds on offer are not a fair reflection of the golfer’s actual chances. For example, if Rory McIlroy is given odds of +1900 to win a golf tournament, the bookmaker is saying he has a 5% chance to win that tournament. However, if our research and projections show that he actually has a 7% chance to win the tournament then an opportunity exists. That +2% difference between the implied odds and the projected probability is the small margins I allude to.

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I often find people confuse probability and value. Some will make statements claiming a certain golfer will never win. Others will say that one golfer is much more likely to win than another. Those statements can both be true. However, the odds often reflect this reality. The better golfer is more than likely lower odds as a result. Instead, you are better to simply remain focused whether each set of odds truly reflect the probability of that event occurring.

Common Sport Betting Mistakes: Not tracking results

It amazes me how many sports bettors do not track their bets. And that likely means that you actually already know you are losing money sport betting.

Unfortunately, this is also all too common from multiple touts. I surmise that, more often than not, the reason they don’t is because they are afraid to look. Find tipsters that you respect and enjoy reading, but also look for those that transparently publish their profit and loss for better or worse.

Can you imagine a business that never calculated what it was spending and what it revenue was? Undoubtedly, the future of that business would be untenable. You should take the same approach with your sport betting. Be transparent and honest with yourself. If you are ok losing money sport betting and are doing so responsibly whilst gaining enjoyment, then that is fine. That is something for you to decide. If you are determined to try make a little money sport betting, then you should know where you are to determine where you are trying to go.

Sportsbooks will produce a profit and loss statement for you. I prefer a more manual approach, as there is useful data to be gained from knowing specifically what type of bets win and learning from mistakes I’ve made. Either way, you should know what you are spending and where.

Common Sport Betting Mistakes: Going on “gut feeling”

Let’s face it. Sportsbooks likely know more than you do. After all, it is their job and sole reason for existence. They have teams of highly skilled experts covering every sport, limiting their exposure, and complicated algorithms to project likely outcomes. They are likely investing more time into research and models than you are. If not for time, their models are likely better than yours.

Have you accurately assessed every golfer in the field, the type of golf course they are playing, what the weather conditions will be, and any and all other factors potentially impacting on the event? Hand on heart, I would struggle to ever say I’ve taken every single possible factor into account. Some factors are also simply unknown. Take when Erik Van Rooyen won for us in 2023 at 80/1. I had no idea when I recommended the bet that this factor was in play:

Scottie Scheffler doesn’t care about that funny feeling in your stomach that tells you he is going to play well this week. Too often, I see people celebrating bets they won which they placed on a “hunch”. You should avoid like the plague any touts who use language like “I’ve got a feeling” too often. Sports betting isn’t based on feelings. In fact, it should be as emotionless as possible.

Don’t bet on players because you like them and think you are a successful sport bettor. Conversely, don’t fade players simply because you dislike them. It should be a statistical and analytical approach. You are looking for opportunities where the chance of the golfer winning is greater than their odds suggest.

Avoiding common sport betting mistakes

Stick to a system

Much akin to tracking your bets, you should also be methodical in your approach to sport betting. One big error I see punters make is placing too many bets. Just because a tournament is on, doesn’t mean that you have to bet it. In certain events, I won’t produce any tips. Commonly, this is because the field is too small and there exists no statistical edge to any bet as the hold the books have is simply too strong. In other circumstances, we might have poor or incomplete date for many golfers in a weaker field as they do not play enough higher profile tournaments.

Following a system prevents such errors as suddenly betting significantly more after a big win. Infinitely worse is those who are chasing losses. When you’ve lost more money than you are comfortable, you need to appreciate that the money is gone. Throwing more money on the fire is rarely going to put it out. Instead, take the time to reflect on your gambling and whether it is at a level that is actually sustainable and safe for you.

By being consistent and methodical in your approach, you can mitigate this risk. I follow a system with clear unit sizing based on the perceived edge we have between the implied odds and projected probability. I typically select between 5-8 golfers each week where the highest expected value exists. This does not vary week to week. As you increase your bankroll, you can begin to slowly increase your stake as long as you remain below your total weekly limit of % of your bankroll.

Shop your odds

It should go without saying, but you need to shop your odds. I appreciate this can be frustrating, as it often results in needing multiple accounts with different bookmakers to obtain the best odds.

However, as already noted, we so often operate under small margins in sport betting. The difference between a golfer being priced +2000 and +2500 looks small on paper. What that really means is you have given up a free 1% of implied probability. The lower the odds, the smaller deviation from the best odds is required to provide a rather substantial difference.

This cuts directly into your margin and potential profit. There are many websites out there which will give you an overview of what odds each bookmaker is offering for an event. Use them.

With all my selections, I provide detailed information of the exact odds used and where they were obtained at time of publication. This makes it easy for you and gives you the peace of mind that you’re backing a selection with a positive expected value.

If you can find better odds than I have published at another reputable bookmaker, then even better! But do be careful with golf betting and place terms for each-way bets, as these can affect the implied probability even though the headline number may be the same.

Take yourself out of the equation

If you are determined to be a better sports bettor, one of the best things you can do is to invest in a WinDaily Sports premium membership.

Yes, my selections have been proven to be profitable over a substantial period. I don’t promise that you will get rich quick. But, we have shown to turn a profit consistently over time and I can guarantee you will have fun along the way. You can have all the thrill of cheering on your golfers each week, with less risk and time than doing the extensive research required yourself.

You gain access to all of our premium golf articles with betting tips and DFS player pools, but also premium access to ALL sports that WinDaily Sports cover. With experts in nearly every field, no one provides better value.

However, one of the best aspects of a premium membership is access to our premium Discord channel.
You will be able to receive one-on-one coaching with myself and others, as well as asking me directly any questions you have.

For the start of a new golf season, we have a special offer on our premium memberships.
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I look forward to welcoming you into the WinDaily family and celebrating many wins with you in 2024!

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