Most of the time, the hardest part of being a sports fan is watching your favorite teams lose games. But, once the game is over, casual fans can flip off their TV and turn their attention to other things.
On the other hand, a sports bettor’s work doesn’t stop at the final whistle.
Many people operate under the misconception that sports fans can easily win money betting on sports. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case. It’s a hard and potentially expensive lesson to learn, but being a fan is a lot easier than being a gambler. Nonetheless, casual sports fans can find themselves baited into gambling for a plethora of reasons.
Popular sports betting and daily fantasy sites run advertisements during games and other sports-related programming. Most ads are geared towards fans and make winning money seem simple.
While there is a path to winning money on sports, a sports fan must evolve into something more. Here are a few tips that can help you transform from a casual sports fan into a profitable sports gambler.
- Stop Betting Like a Fan
Watching sports and rooting on your favorite teams is typically an entertaining experience. Sports betting, while entertaining, needs to be taken more seriously.
That’s not to say certain fans don’t take sports seriously.
But, there’s a significant difference in the implications of a game if a fair amount of money is on the line.
One of the most basic problems gamblers run into when they start gambling is an inability to stop betting like a fan. Rooting interests often take precedence over logical decision making.
The reason this problem is so common is easy to explain: being a sports fan is illogical. You root for a team all season even though the likelihood of them winning a championship is often slim.
More often than not, a favorite team will either be knocked out in the playoffs or miss them entirely. Yet, when the next season rolls around, fans throw on their favorite jersey and cross their fingers that this is the year.
Sports fan’s brains are essentially hard-wired to cheer on teams through thick and thin. However, that mindset isn’t effective when applied to gambling.
When betting at online sportsbooks, decisions should rest on knowledge, past performances, and empirical evidence. A person’s rooting interests should never factor into a wager.
- Prioritize One Sport Over Others
It’s a good rule of thumb that gamblers should focus on one sport when they start gambling. But, it’s not uncommon for novices to struggle with that decision.
Sports fans might think that they should bet on the sport they know best. This isn’t the worst strategy, but it might not be the most profitable.
New gamblers should consider a few things when making this decision:
Which sports are the easiest to bet on?
The timeliness of betting on particular sports
How well you know the sport, its players, and its potential outcomes
Which sports your gambling site of choice offers odds and lines on
Will the schedule conflict with your work or sleep
When selecting a sport, all of these factors should influence your decision. Focusing on one sport will help you work through early issues and gain a deeper understanding of what it takes to win money.
- Focus on Off-The-Field Factors
One thing that new gamblers might not take into account is the work that goes into placing wagers. Let me be clear: placing a wager is easy, but placing a winning wager is complex.
Sports gambling requires more than just tuning into the occasional game.
Decisions made based on what you think you know after watching sports can lead to bad bets and losses.
That’s because sports involve a lot more than the product you see on your television screen.
Teams and the athletes that wear their jerseys are finicky and prone to inconsistent performances. Injuries, locker room drama, trades, free agency, and a myriad of other factors directly influence the games in question.
A team’s poor performance is often easily explainable and predictable. But, without paying attention to these off-the-field factors, a gambler is doing themselves a serious disservice.
The difference between winning and losing money is often a direct result of a lack of effort and research.
- Pay Attention to Higher-Quality Content
Sports gambling content and traditional sports content are two completely different things. Yet, sports fans masquerading as gamblers sometimes fail to notice the differences.
Many shows, pieces of journalism, and even tweets are typically geared towards casual sports fans. They are produced to appeal to the widest demographic possible.
In other words: ratings and page views are the name of the game.
Having said that, sports content is often useless to gamblers.
Popular shows and media personalities tend to focus on storylines and pieces of information that have no bearing on a team’s performance.
Drama, alleged internal feuds, and whispers of potential free agency moves are much more entertaining than discussing facts and figures.
Because of that, inexperienced gamblers mistake rumors and gossip with substantial knowledge.
There’s nothing wrong with watching entertaining shows or reading stories that may or may not be true. But, don’t let the sports programming you grew up consuming impact your wagers.
- Maximize Your Sports Viewing Experience
There are several different ways people approach the sports viewing experience. Games can be used as background noise at social gatherings, an excuse to go drink at a bar, or a way to decompress after work.
The beauty of watching sports is that you can decide how involved you want to be in a matchup. As a casual fan that experience can be relaxing; a way to shift your focus onto something somewhat meaningless.
Sports bettors should consider making the most of it.
While analyzing past results is an effective way to research certain wagers, the eye test shouldn’t be overlooked. You might not be a professional scout, but some things you witness during matchups can influence future decisions.
Learning how to watch a sporting event like a gambler will serve you well in the future.
Instead of flipping on a game as a distraction, use that time to focus on teams and players you may bet on going forward.
- Only Gamble When Your Mind is Right
As I said in an earlier point, watching sports is often a social experience. Sharing a love of a certain team with other fanatics is arguably the best part of being a sports fan.
Regardless of where fans with similar rooting interests congregate, alcohol is often present. Watching sports and drinking is a popular pastime for fans, but can be dangerous for gamblers.
The best time to gamble is when you are sober, clear-headed, and in good spirits. Despite this somewhat obvious fact, many gamblers have a tendency to gamble under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
Sports fans who dabble in gambling might not see the harm in having a few drinks, especially since sports and alcohol are often intertwined. One or two might not be detrimental, but live betting matchups can become more tempting with every drink.
- Formulate a Plan and Execute It
Watching sports is a simple form of entertainment for a majority of sports fans. While there are plenty of die-hard fans out there who live and breathe sports, most don’t take it all that seriously.
Sports gamblers, on the other hand, should be anything but nonchalant about the sports they bet on.
An issue that plagues inexperienced gamblers is diving into the world of sports betting without a plan in place.
That’s often due to the fact that watching sports and following teams are treated like a hobby.
For some, gambling is nothing more than that: a hobby. But, gambling should be taken somewhat seriously, regardless of how much money is on the line.
The sports gambling world tends to punish those who fail to treat it with respect. Before placing wagers make sure you have some type of a plan in place.
Evolving into a winning sports gambler can be more taxing than casual sports fans might think.
For starters, betting like a sports fan often results in biases and rooting interests influencing decisions. These decisions should be based on facts, stats, trends, injuries and other factors, not emotion.
The best way to achieve early success is prioritizing one sport over others. Additionally, an aspiring gambler should pay attention to things happening outside of the stadium. Paying attention to higher quality content can help ensure that you’re making informed and intelligent decisions.
Watching sports with your friends might be the highlight of your week. But make sure all your wagers are in if you plan to enjoy a few drinks during the game.
Even if you’re only betting a small amount of money, take gambling seriously. A few dollars might not seem like much, but bad gambling habits tend to rapidly expand into bigger problems.