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Sports betting is a global industry that has gradually infiltrated every part of mainstream sports. Widespread use of mobile phones with internet access allows people to place wagers 24/7. Sports betting should be exciting and fun, but it has the potential to do serious damage to peoples lives. Here are a few tips for gambling responsibly:
Understand the Industry
Las Vegas and bookmakers wouldn't exist if gamblers consistently made money. Simple fact is, the house (casino's / sports betting companies) always win in the end but a large proportion of those winnings are made from gamblers who are prepared to lose, place foolish bets or don't understand what they are doing.
Understand the Sport
There are many factors to take into consideration when analysing a particular sport, but nothing substitutes for hard work including doing research and watching plenty of games. Many sports have teams with players, stadiums, coaches, owners, economic power, history, prestige and supporters that all need to be taken into consideration. Analysing a home/away league table and recent form is simply not enough.
Gambling is essentially trading money for entertainment. Whether it's a day at the racetrack, a trip to Vegas or an online betting account, it's important to set a limit on how much you are prepared to lose over a period of time. This is called a bankroll and the idea is to manage it wisely to avoid the risk of bankruptcy.
One of the easiest ways to manage your bankroll is to divide it into units and never stake more than 1-2 units on any given bet. Over-confidence from punters is a bookmakers dream so understanding random swings is essential. Winning and losing streaks will occur, while luck will always remain an intrinsic factor in any form of gambling.
Units are a percentage of a bankroll, for instance a $200 bankroll could be split into 100 $2 units, 50 $4 units or 20 $10 units. The main reason for doing this is thinking about your bankroll in denominations of units, not money so that if your bankroll increases or decreases the unit outlay remains consistent.
Tracking your bets over time on spreadsheets is an important aspect of responsible gambling. Spreadsheets can be modified over time to include as much information as possible that is relevant to different types of bets, teams and sports. Maintaining a detailed spreadsheet is not only important for tracking your wins and losses, it is vital for knowing exactly just how much money you are winning or losing over a period of time.
Sports betting is not a get rich quick scheme and any attempt to do so will result in consistent bankroll destruction. Betting should be viewed as type of investment which requires patience, long term planning, consistency and discipline. Human psychology is such that many punters chase losses in the short term, which is a sure fire way to consistently go bankrupt.
Betting when you are upset, angry or under the influence of alcohol is fraught with danger. It affects your judgement and ability to think rationally, two vital ingredients required for successful betting. It is always better to walk away and come back once you can approach it with a calm frame of mind.
If every short priced favourite won with ease bookmakers would go out of business. Favourites often offer no value and backing the underdog may not be logical so the only option is to pass. Bookmakers have to offer odds for almost all games but you don't have to bet on every game, especially if the odds are unfavourable.
Sporting teams should be viewed as companies in the stock market, and just like trading with stocks it pays to find teams that are undervalued. Consistently spotting odds that are too high respective to a teams actual chances is a major contributor to successful betting.
Live betting / In play
Live betting with an online account has been a contentious issue in Australia, legislation constantly fluctuating as governments addicted to gambling revenue bow to industry pressure. Live betting has the potential to do plenty of short term damage to your bankroll especially if chasing losses, but when used wisely can be a valuable tool in a punters arsenal.
Live betting can offer good value when a highly favoured team concedes an early goal and will dominate the remainder of the game. Comeback situations often occur in sports like Rugby League where overturning large deficits is occurs frequently. One of the best ways to utilise live betting however, is the hedge.
Hedging is simply betting against yourself to guarantee a profit. Especially useful if you have placed a multibet/parlay and are waiting on the last leg to win, you could place a bet on the opposite outcome/s before the game or in play to put yourself in a win/win situation.
You will need to use funds from the potential win to hedge with, but hedging eliminates the threat of devastating comebacks, referee blunders or plain bad luck. Constantly guaranteeing a profit is a sure fire way to grow your bankroll, so consistent hedging is imperative to long term success.
Long term bets / Futures & Outright betting
Many things can happen in any given game, teams can completely dominate their opposition and somehow lose or draw. Referees and linesmen can have howlers, players can have brain explosions, goalkeepers can have superhuman performances and injuries can occur. Betting game to game can be unpredictable.
Over the course of a season however, most of these situations get ironed out and the cream eventually rises to the top. The same logic holds true for teams at the bottom end of a league. Though you will need to be patient and often wait 9 months to collect, season long bets are some of the most profitable in sports.
Multibets / Parlays / Accumulators
Multibets should be viewed the same way as a lottery. It is possible to win the lottery with a huge multibet and you could argue that selecting teams to win games takes more skill than random numbers, but the odds for winning multibets or accumulators are never in your favour.
In simple mathematical terms, the punter has 33% chance of winning on any football game. Adding another game into the equation reduces the chance of winning to 22%, three games 11% and so on. There is an obvious reason bookmakers offer multibet specials and promotions to their customers, the more games in a multibet the more the odds are in the bookmakers favour.
Find the Right Bookmaker
Having multiple accounts is essential as the odds offered by betting agencies vary and fluctuate. With fierce competition occurring in the betting industry, there is value to be found in cash back promotions and other types of incentives that offer value.
Betting exchanges such as Betfair allow you to bet against other customers on the exchange rather than directly with a bookmaker. Exchanges can often be a good alternative to find better odds for a wide range or sports and markets.
Gambling should be fun and seen as another form of entertainment. Don't let it get int the way of personal relationships and other interests. Don't ever see gambling as a get rich quick scheme.
There is a danger that things can spiral out of control but it is important to remember that there is always help available. There are countless agencies dedicated to problematic gambling that are there to help.