Thanks to the innovations brought by modern technology, more people have started betting on sports. Placing a bet for a game has never been easier, as it is now done through an app or a website. People bet for the excitement and thrill but mostly, because of the promise of potential profit. However, winning at sports betting is not that easy. But why is sports betting so hard?
Why Betting in Specific Sports is Hard
What makes betting on specific sports hard is the fact that each sport works differently than the other. Each sport has its own set of rules, and this affects how odds and probabilities can be determined.
NFL Sports Betting
What makes NFL one of the hardest sports to bet on is the sheer volume of bets that go into every game. With the popularity of the sport, it comes as a given that it is just as popular to bettors, too. The huge volumes of bets coming in greatly affect the odds and often leads to lower value bets.
Not only that, the fact that there is a huge number of casual bettors means that the action is almost always leaning towards the favorites which, again, affects the odds. Thus, if you wish to have better chances of winning and at the same time better value for your money, the underdog is usually the way for you to go.
NBA Sports Betting
The driving force of any NBA game relies a lot on the effort exerted by the players. Although there is information on how each team and the individual player usually plays, their strengths and weaknesses, it all boils down to how they actually play on the game day itself. As it is now, there is no way to predict whether a team would play at maximum effort or any external factor would affect their level of performance.
Another factor is the last few minutes of the game. Any basketball fan knows that the last minutes of a game are crucial as both sides attempt to get a free throw to turn tables around. One misplay can have a leading team lose the game or the other way around.
Premier League Sports Betting
What makes betting for the Premier League so difficult? It is mostly the unpredictability of football itself. In a game, there is usually the heavy favorite (where the "public" usually leans to and the underdog. The favorite is the team that has better popularity due to their recent performance, and the underdog is considered the lesser-performing side.
However, a football game can end up with the underdog winning by only one point. A lot of times, a team considered to be "weaker" ends up winning the game with only one goal, with the favorite simply failing to penetrate through their defense. In fact, the favorites have only won around 45% of all games in football so far.
Why New Punters Find Sports Betting Hard
A lot of times, it is the newbies in sports betting that find it hard. They come in expecting to make money from sports betting, only to realize it is not as easy as they expected. What could be the reason for this?
Bookies Always Win
What most newbies usually don't know about is the juice, or the vigorish, or simply the vig. This is the percentage that the bookies pocket as profit for every bet. No matter if you win or lose the bet, the bookies take profit from your wager. Usually, this is can range from 7-10%, or sometimes even more. This makes long-term profits harder to achieve.
At a vig of 10%, winning 52% of your bets is not enough to turn over a profit. To make a profit, you need to win at least 53% of your bets but even at that, your long-term profit still stands very little. Punters who have yet to consider the return on investment (ROI) of their wagers are likely to lose money in the long run.
High-Risk & High-Payout Bets
High-risk, high-payout bets are the sportsbooks' newbie and amateur trap. These are lines that have high-risk odds but at the same time, offer a huge potential payout. The idea here is to keep enticing clueless bettors to place huge amounts of money on a pick that promises a huge payout but has a small chance of actually panning out.
While the bettors can indeed win huge amounts of money, the stakes are just as high and if they lose (which most newbies end up doing), they end up losing huge amounts of money instead. The newbies would then think that their loss is a one-off or a stroke of bad luck, that they can recover everything on the next winning bet.
And this is what the bookies are banking on, the hopeful yet unstrategic mindset that the "due" would eventually come in. In this setup, the bettor almost always ends up at a loss while the bookies rake in all the profit. Those who are betting to risk are more likely to make operators rich than those who bet to win.
There are No Guaranteed Bets
Essentially, sports betting is a game of chance, where you are most likely faced with two options: picking which of the two players/teams would win the game. For casuals, there is no process to betting. However, serious bettors understand that it is not as simple as a 50-50 chance of getting the right pick. Some factors need to be considered for a bet to be strategic - and this is where the "hard" bit of sports betting comes in.
Even with all of the factors that come into betting - the odds, the "real" probabilities, and the statistics - there is no right or wrong way to bet, in a way. This is because no matter how you analyze a game or the factors surrounding it, it can always go in any direction at any time.
Variance & Swings Are Mentally Tough
Poker, slots, sports betting, all gambling comes with lucky winning streaks and unlucky periods. Whilst it's very natural to feel "on top of the world" when you win, taking loss after loss over an extended period of time can break anybody's morale. Many sports bettors go on tilt and start chasing their losses, inevitably resulting in further losses.
Some days you win, some days you lose, and it's incredibly important to have a plan to stick to before betting so you can keep emotions out of it.
Sports Betting Biases
If you have been betting for quite some time, you may have heard this line once or twice: bet with your mind, not with your emotions. This is where most newbies fail at. Coming in as a bettor, they often carry with them personal biases: their favorite teams and their favorite players. Recent results also send to carry more weight.
Most newbies tend to favor their favorite team a lot, even if the probabilities and the odds point otherwise.
Ways to Make Sports Betting Profitable
Here are some ways to make sports betting a more profitable endeavor and follow in the foot steps of professional bettors.
Focus on One Sport
As mentioned, learning a sport and everything about it is a must if you wish to make a profit out of betting, This is why it is more ideal to start and focus on one sport only. In a way, make that sport your area of expertise and see how it pays off in the long run.
Another common newbie mistake is they try to make it big as quickly as possible, and most people often do this by making huge bets in hoping to turn over huge profits. However, it would be more ideal to bet more often but in much smaller amounts. This not only helps minimize the impact of the vig, but it also allows you to learn from every losing bet along the way.
Sports betting is a fun activity, but it is not a get-rich-quick scheme or system. While you can make a profit by placing bets for sports, it takes a combination of time, learning, and luck to accomplish this.
This article was published on March 9, 2022, and last updated on October 26, 2022.