Sports Betting Traps to Avoid

Bettors should avoid these sports betting traps.

Key Points

– Too many bettors fall for the same sports betting traps.

– Sports betting isn’t always about picking the better team or player.

Sports Betting Traps to Avoid

Whether you’re an experienced or inexperienced bettor, there are a number of sports betting traps that you can fall into. Sportsbooks, of course, are in the business of making money and will devise any number of strategies to take bettors’ money. 

Smart bettors, or at least those who aspire to be smart, need to be able to identify those traps and then learn to avoid them. Avoiding the habits of a losing sports bettor can help you win more bets. 

Here are some of the more common pitfalls that bettors will encounter.

Exotic Bets Like Parlays

Sportsbooks love exotic wagers with big potential payouts. These bets include parlays, teasers, and other exotic bet types. Betting sites promote these heavily and there’s a good reason why. They make money.

Betting sites like FanDuel now offer the “Same Game Parlay,”  for most every game on their betting board. Bettors can put together their own or choose from pre-selected parlay bets all from the same game.

Sportsbooks love these bets because they produce a huge amount of revenue. Bettors love placing these bets because they see dollar signs. The problem for bettors is that sportsbooks have a significant advantage in the odds on these parlay bets.

In the long run, the books can’t lose because the potential payouts for the majority of exotic bets are less – and frequently much less – than the risk associated with the bets. In fact, they are almost certain to make a killing on these wagers in the long run. 

Smart bettors are very cautious about these bets and only place them in the extremely rare situations where they make sense. They detest placing bets in which they don’t have a strong advantage or an expectation of making a profit over the long term.

Think of exotic bets like a diet. A big, greasy double cheeseburger coupled with an extra-large service of delicious french fries is not a very heart-healthy diet choice. However, having one every six weeks or so isn’t going to wreck your diet.

It’s the same with parlays. Investing in one every so often, especially when you see the value, isn’t going to hurt.


Taking the First Number You See

Too many amateur bettors focus on picking game winners or the team that will cover the spread. That is important, but it’s also vital that bettors get the best possible number. 

Maybe you like the Ravens -3.5 against the Steelers. You think Baltimore will win and cover, so you place the bet. The smart bettor likes the Ravens too, but he takes the time to find the same bet but at -2.5 at another sportsbook. Baltimore wins 20-17. You lose and the smarter bettor wins.

Don’t fall into the trap of just taking a number on a bet. Always, always, always search for the best line or the best odds. Even a few points of juice can make a big impact over the course of a season.

Sports Betting Hype Machine

The media continually hypes certain teams and players and most casual bettors buy into it. The top pick in the NBA draft is going to change the trajectory for this team. An NFL trade is going to make this team “unbeatable” or so they say.

The smart bettor doesn’t fall for the trap. Remember, sportsbooks are in the business of making money and oddsmakers aren’t dumb. If oddsmakers anticipate excessive public enthusiasm over a certain team, they are going to shade the numbers to make more money in the process.

MLB is a great example. Public bettors love the Yankees. Sportsbooks know this. Let’s say the Yankees are taking on the Tigers at home. New York opens as a -185 favorite. Knowing that the betting public will wager on the Yankees no matter what the odds are, oddsmakers inflate the line to -215. The money still keeps rolling in on the favored Yankees. Oftentimes, smart bettors will embrace betting against the public.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you should never bet on a public favorite. Sometimes, the hype is justified. Keep in mind that the line might not be a true reflection of a team’s probability of winning.

Sports Betting Traps to Avoid

Accepting Opinions Without Any Thought

With the popularity of sports betting today, there is a limitless supply of betting analysis online, on TV, the radio, and in print. This is good in a sense because now bettors have access to a wealth of information. 

Knowledge is a good thing, so there is absolutely nothing wrong with reading, listening, and watching as much as you want to about sports betting. However, when people blindly believe what they are told, trouble arises. 

Many of the things you read and hear are quite good, but many of them aren’t very accurate. A wise bettor will wait to take any action until they have personally verified the information he has received.

Sports Betting on High Profile Games Only

Bettors love to bet on all the big games on the schedule. It’s much more exciting to bet on the Yankees and Dodgers in MLB or the Celtics and Lakers in the NBA. These high-profile games always attract casual bettors. Of course, sportsbooks know this and do their best to hype those games.

Smart bettors make strong betting choices and are aware that there is a greater chance of finding strong value in a game where there is less interest. While the Celtics and Lakers battle, the Spurs-Pacers game may offer bettors more value. 

The wise bettor will bet on the games and events that he can win. He doesn’t bet on games just because it’s the most anticipated game of the week.

Sports Betting – The Better Team

The amateur sports bettor believes the goal of handicapping is to determine which team is better. That’s not it all.

The goal is to determine how each team’s chances compare to the odds that are being offered and where the value lies as a result. The idea is to choose the team that will increase a bettor’s chances of winning money. That doesn’t mean always choosing the team that is better.

Being good at sports betting means a bettor has to look beyond moneyline or point spread. It means not following the hype or taking unnecessary risks.