How do you become a good sports bettor?

Betting on sports has grown in profile over recent years, to the extent where it is almost impossible to watch a TV sports broadcast without seeing or hearing something about bets, odds, and similar things. For many people, it holds a considerable interest because they dream of being able to make a profit from something they love anyway – and if you’re a sports fan whose dreams of playing in a World Cup are already long gone, the chance to make money by betting is an alternative way of doing well out of sport.

It’s tricky to become “good” at betting because it’s not so much a skill that you learn. You can train for years to become a great plumber or carpenter, but betting is something different. Your success will always depend on someone else, and you will be aware of this from the moment you’re scoping out the best bookmakers at sites such as The way to ensure a better level of success from betting on sport is to recognize your lack of power in the situation, and work with it by giving yourself the best chance to win.

Always look for maximum value

Betting odds aren’t just numbers on a board, they mean something. A 50/50 chance is expressed in moneyline odds as +100. That means if you bet $100 and win, you’ll win $100. A likely favorite will always be below that number, and expressed as a minus number such as -140 (to win $100, you’ll need to bet $140). If you can find a bet that has a good chance of winning, at odds better than +100, then you’re finding value. Your search shouldn’t stop there, though. Check more bookmakers to see who has the longest odds, and make your bet with them. Simply by picking the right bookmaker, you can improve winnings by 10-20%.

Recognize strengths and weaknesses in a prop bet

A proposition (or prop) bet is something like “Travis Kelce to score the first touchdown”, and it will typically be priced comfortably over +100. Bettors like prop bets, and so do sportsbooks, because they play on a bettor’s geekdom regarding the sport. Travis Kelce scores a lot of touchdowns, so that prop will seem tempting. But bear in mind that this is football, and the opening kickoff could be returned for 6, or the returner could fumble it and see the opposition score. Before Kelce has even got on the field, your bet has lost. If you must make a prop bet, it should be something that can’t be killed on one play – “Mahomes to throw for more than 300 yards” or similar is a better shout.

Avoid parlays like the plague

Parlays are fun bets. For a relatively small stake, you could stand to win big just by correctly predicting several outcomes. For example, on a weekend of multiple sporting events, you could bet on a team to win their game, plus backing the winner of a heavyweight title fight, and the gold medalist in the 100 meters at a big athletics meet. But the more “ifs” you put into a parlay bet – and the higher the odds climb – the greater the chance that the bet will go wrong. Only ever make such a bet when you’re doing well and can afford a moon shot. You should never be relying on a ridiculous chain of events to make your betting a success.

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