8 Beginner Sports Betting Mistakes and How To Avoid Them



While sports betting can be a safe, fun, profitable activity, it poses a number of common betting mistakes that beginners are susceptible to. It’s fairly common for new bettors to underestimate how much strategy goes into successful sports betting – leading to rapidly depleted bankrolls, and potentially devastating consequences. Between the temptation to chase losses, letting emotions guide decisions, neglecting in-depth research, or failing to manage bankroll properly, recognizing these issues is the first step towards becoming a smarter, more disciplined sports bettor.

By understanding these common betting mistakes and learning how to avoid them, beginners can take on a more informed and responsible betting strategy, and increase their chances of success while minimising unnecessary losses. In this article, we’ll discuss the most frequent betting mistakes made by new bettors, and offer practical guidance to steer clear of these errors. In all, we’ll cover the following:

Betting Mistake 1: Chasing Losses

One of the most common pitfalls that beginners make is falling prey to the temptation to chase losses. If you lose a large sum of money on a bet, you may be tempted to place larger bets than you are comfortable with in an attempt to recuperate your loss. From there, you may start experiencing a streak of losses as you continue to bet large amounts on risky bets. This can lead to a dangerous cycle of making irrational decisions and losing even more money.

To avoid this mistake, set a budget for your bets and stick to it. Never bet more than you can afford to lose, and don’t increase your wager sizes to recover losses. Accept that losing streaks are a part of sports betting, and success comes from disciplined betting, not from chasing losses. If you feel you are susceptible to chasing losses, or feel you are making poor decisions, step back and take a break from betting. Give yourself time to think rationally. Only come back to betting when you have an informed, strategic bet that you are genuinely interested in wagering on – not one driven by a desire to recuperate your loss. 

Betting Mistake 2: Betting With Emotions

Everyone bets on their favourite team from time to time, but bettors should be aware that that’s not a long term profitable strategy. In general, emotions should have no place in sports betting. If your goal is to have fun only, betting on your favourite team with some friends is perfectly fine. But if your goal is to see some successful returns, be aware that betting on your favourite team or against a rival can cloud your judgement and lead to impulsive decisions. While it’s normal to have a strong preference for a particular team or athlete, betting decisions should be based on facts, statistics, and careful analysis.

To overcome emotional bias, establish a set of rules and criteria for you when betting. Stick to an approach that prioritises data and avoids personal bias. It’s essential to keep your emotions in check and maintain a rational perspective on your wagers. Letting your emotions guide your betting decisions may result in profits, but it’s unlikely to see long-term success.

Betting Mistake 3: Overlooking Analysis

Never underestimate the importance of research and analysis. Professional sports bettors rely on comprehensive research and analysis for a reason, often using their own odds calculators to search for value bets and compare competitive odds. Beginners often make the mistake of skipping thorough research, resulting in not fully understanding the teams, athletes, and events they’re betting on. Relying solely on luck or intuition rarely leads to long-term profitability.

Instead, new bettors should take the time to gather information and analyse statistics for events and teams they plan to bet on. Try to keep track of team performance and how they stack up against the teams they’re competing against. New bettors should also seek out information from credible sources such as sports news channels and betting analysts to help them make the right decisions.

Betting Mistake 4: Failing To Manage Bankroll

You’ll hear the term bankroll management often in the sports betting world, but managing your bankroll is just a fancy way of saying set a budget, and stick to it. The reason bankroll management is talked about so much is because it’s an aspect of sports betting that many beginners overlook – to their detriment. Your bankroll is the total amount of money you set aside for betting, and it should be managed wisely to make sure that you don’t risk losing more than you can afford. One of the most important concepts for safe betting is to never bet more than you can afford to lose, and setting a budget is the best way to make that happen.

A best practice to manage your bankroll effectively is to create an overall budget for your bets and a budget on a per-bet basis. A common guideline is to risk no more than 1-2% of your total bankroll on a single bet. Taking this approach will help you handle any losses, and stay in the game for longer. It’s also important to set win and loss limits, and have the discipline to walk away once these limits are reached.

Betting Mistake 5: Setting Unrealistic Expectations

Setting unrealistic expectations is a common betting mistake that can spiral into a number of other issues, and is usually due to not understanding how complex sports betting can be. Beginners most often have unrealistic expectations about how much they can reasonably expect to win, which is often the catalyst behind poor bankroll management. 

To prevent this, beginners should focus on strategies that promote responsible betting. While that might sound less exciting, a sustainable strategy is how bettors can stay in the betting game longer. Try to recognize that sports betting is a long-term profitability strategy that leverages incremental wins, on average, over time. Instead of expecting to win big once or even consistently, try to keep in mind that betting is designed to return equal numbers of wins and losses. Keeping these ideas in mind, especially when you lose, will help you avoid making other betting mistakes as a result.

Betting Mistake 6: Betting On Trends

Sports bettors should avoid relying solely on trends as a primary strategy for several reasons. While it’s true that sportsbooks may adjust odds in response to a streak of wins, betting based on trends can be overly simplistic and fail to account for the multitude of other factors that can influence the outcome of a game. Winning streaks can be broken at any time, and overinflated odds may not always reflect the true likelihood of a team winning. Just like a stock market, betting markets will artificially inflate when more bettors flock to them – causing inaccurate probabilities (GameStop, anyone?). Bettors don’t need to avoid trending bets altogether, just make sure you’ve done enough additional research to support your decision.

Betting Mistake 7: Not Shopping For Odds

Sports bettors, especially beginners, should make a habit of shopping for odds. Different sportsbooks may offer slightly different odds on the same event, and finding the best odds can maximize potential returns or minimize losses. Beginners are more susceptible to this mistake because they may not want to spend the time or effort shopping around, or may assume the odds are the same across the board. At first glance, it’s easy to assume all books offer relatively similar odds – and for the most part, they do. What bettors should be searching for is those minute discrepancies that, over time, can make a big difference in profit. As a beginner, you might not realize that even a slight improvement in odds can make a substantial difference over time. 

Betting Mistake 8: Avoiding Strategy

A common mistake made by beginner bettors is avoiding the use of a thought out strategy. Obviously, sports betting can be a once in a while activity that fans do for fun, but if you plan to engage in betting regularly you should absolutely incorporate strategy. The problem is that many beginners dive into sports betting without a clear plan or approach, frequently making impulsive bets based on gut feelings or limited knowledge. This lack of strategy can lead to erratic betting patterns, inconsistent results, and significant financial losses. 

Again, betting is not a game of luck so much as one of skill. Betting without a strategy means that bettors are essentially gambling rather than making informed and calculated decisions. To succeed in sports betting, it’s absolutely essential to develop a strategy that includes bankroll management, risk assessment, a research process, and a disciplined approach to bet selection.