Whether you are betting for fun or you are a professional bettor making a living from sports betting, all of us would like to win all of the time. This is obviously unrealistic but, even if you can win just over 50% of the time, you are going to come out ahead. For instance, if your betting unit is $10 and you win at evens 55% of the time, your return is $100 on your unit bet of $10 which is a great return. However in order to win consistently, you have to develop winning strategies. This is only the fancy way of saying that you have to develop a set of basic rules and follow them with discipline.
Do your homework. It is very important for you to look at all the available facts and statistics and then make an objective and reasoned judgment on what is the best bet to make. There are plenty of sources on the Internet which provide you with a wealth of information and this includes many of the sports books who necessarily have to stay right on top of the latest feedback. When you buy a new car or a home theater system, you are not going to do so without plenty of research on what you are planning to buy and why you should buy a particular model. Why should a sports bet be any different?
Long-term view and discipline. Like any form of speculation such as trading in forex or commodities, sports betting should be handled with discipline. You should never let your heart rule your head and make bets out of sentiment or emotion without ensuring that you are acting sensibly. Over a period of time, develop a system that works and stay with it while tweaking it as appropriate. You should also take a long-term view of your sports betting since trying to get rich overnight or risking everything on one bet is a sure recipe for disaster.
Spread your bets. Paradoxical as it may sound; the first thing that you have to do to win big is to avoid losing big. If you lose big, you would often have an impossible task in making up your losses with your remaining betting capital. And, if you lose really big, you would have nothing left to bet with. So it is prudent to define how much you can afford to lose, called a stop loss in financial trading parlance. Then, make sure that you risk only between 2% and 5% of your capital on each bet. This way, even if you lose a few times in succession, the losses are manageable. In the best stock market trading tradition, it is also prudent to diversify your bets.
Get the best odds. After you have decided your bet, don’t blindly bet on the first sports book that you come across. For instance, in line betting, you may find differences of several points in the lines that different sports books are offering. This is because different sports books are more worried about balancing out their respective bets rather than worry about the overall situation. It is not unusual to find differences of up to three points on basketball. You should remember that in tight games, even one point could be the difference between your winning and losing. The difference is most significant in the daily sporting events.
Timing your bet. Timing the placement of your bet is crucial to getting the best odds. This is of course a matter of judgment and you cannot get it right all the time. However, it is a point to bear in mind. Also track significant news that could change the odds in your favor such as injury to a key player. As a rule of thumb, if you are betting on a favorite, do so early