Betting Experts Answer: Top 3 Most Common Betting Mistakes? | Part 1

Welcome to the 12th question in our series: “Betting Experts Answer The Industries Biggest Questions.”

No matter what level you are at in your betting, everyone was once a beginner, making really common mistakes. So to save you a bit of time in your learning curve, we asked 14 experts the question:

Q12: What are the top 3 mistakes people make when betting?

Check out Part 2 of our answers here, where we get the opinions of former odds compiler - Matthew Trenhaile, pro esports bettor - Adam Boothe, the Smart Betting Club, Daily 25 & the Business of Betting Podcast.

Check out Part 3 of our answers here, where we get the opinions of Football betting analyst, pro sports bettor - Danshan, Smart Sports Trader - Ryan Bruno & author - True Poker Joe.


  1. Believing they have an edge based on the results they achieve. Almost nobody is good enough to have a true edge at a true bookmaker that won't restrict that ability. This is a consequence of overconfidence bias and a failure to understand the 'law' of small numbers.
  2. Chasing losses and more generally using progressive staking plans that can give the illusion the bettor has achieved an edge. Bettors should NEVER chase losses and never risk what they cannot afford to lose.
  3. Failing to recognise that almost everything that happens in sports betting is chance, even for skilled bettors who have achieved an edge. The vast majority of what happens in sports is noise. The skilled bettor's job is to find what little signal there might be.

Follow @12Xpert on Twitter & check out the 12Xpert website here.


  1. Betting what you think is more likely to happen rather than what is overpriced to happen. If you’re looking at next week’s football matches and see Manchester City are playing Newcastle the novice will likely conclude Manchester City will win. Bravo! But that’s not relevant when it comes to making money from gambling. The question that needs answering is what percentage chance does each team have of winning. If we are confident in the accuracy of our prediction then we need to compare our percentages to those offered by the betting market. And only if there is a discrepancy in our favour do we then consider a bet. Novices tend to describe events with a 51%+ chance of winning as ‘they are going to win’ when in fact they are ‘more likely to win than not’. Would you bet Newcastle at 8/1? No. Would you bet them at 80/1. Yes. Bet prices not teams.
  2. Cashing Out bets. Cash Out is aimed at recreational (i.e. non-shrewd) customers. If you’re a standard run-of-the-mill gambler and place a ten-team accumulator every Saturday, chances are you’re placing a mathematically bad bet. With no edge on the market and simply betting who you think will win a given match the bookmakers’ theoretical margin will eat you alive over time. On the rare occasions your accumulator is looking good with 15 mins to go, so cashing out for a healthy profit might seem like a good idea. But, just as with your random selections pre-match, you’ll also have to pay a premium to cash out of a bet early (usually in the region of 10% of what your bet is actually ‘worth’ at the time). If it’s for a life changing amount who cares about paying a 10% premium right? But in all other instances it’s more prudent to ride the variance wave.
  3. Being Influenced by TV Pundits & Tipsters. Beware the horse racing pundit who writes a heap of columns per week, appears on TV whenever he gets the chance and is available to the highest bidding bookmaker to tout their wares. In general it’s probably a good idea to listen to the opinions of those who derive a significant proportion of their income from gambling rather than our horse racing punter who spends more time making money from generating content than backing winners. Tipsters are also generally best avoided. Those showing profits are usually faking records or betting into such soft markets they can’t make it pay simply by betting themselves. The goose that lays the golden egg usually isn’t for sale.

Get in touch with Anthony via his LinkedIn page.


  1. Betting a high percentage of your bankroll in a single bet. Even if you are in the very fortunate position of having a 10% implied percentage edge on every single bet you make, your risk of ruin in the short-term will be very high if you're betting half your bankroll on each bet.
  2. Involving emotion into the decision-making process. For example, not betting against your favourite player or team, or even worse, blindly backing them no matter whether they are any value or not!
  3. Not doing enough research into your bets. There are people running all sorts of detailed models, those who perform in-depth research or full-time watchers of sports in order to generate an edge. What makes you think that you can beat them if you're just putting bets on without much thought?

Follow @Tennisratings on Twitter & check out Dan’s Tennis Ratings website here.


  1. Placing negative value wagers. If the wagers you are placing have a negative expected value then your long-term betting aspirations are going to require a constant stream of one-way funding! In previous posts we discussed the importance of beating the closing line. This is universally accepted to represent the sharpest, and therefore, most accurate estimation of the true price of a soccer match. Also, in previous posts, I spoke about the difficulty in measuring the true price of player prop markets. Currently this is a much harder task, though as the niche continues to evolve, I’m sure provider prices will sharpen and exchange liquidity may increase to the point of being a worthy pricing barometer.
  2. Scattergun approach to staking/bankroll management. Staking plans are vital if you want to maximise your profits. It is also one of the hardest elements to grasp for a novice. It is too easy to be guided by potential returns and not the size of an edge. Establishing a bankroll and understanding how to avoid over or under staking is a crucial part of a punter’s armour. There are many staking plans, so it is advisable to do some research and see which method best fits your bet type. The Kelly Criterion is perhaps the best known, though there are several modifications of that plan, as pure Kelly is often considered to be rather risky.
  3. Being too slow to realise your edge has gone. It is too easy to fail to maximise your edge when you first establish one, and then overstake it when it has gone. Remember bookmaker algorithms are not constant, they also evolve and improve with time. A legitimate edge can vanish overnight but it may take an individual punter much longer to realise, meaning a slew of negative value wagers have followed, denting any profit garnered from the original edge. This effect is one of the reasons that very small edges can often be dangerous paths to follow.

Follow @JeevesOdds on Twitter.


  1. Obsessing over results. Betting is all about the process. Just check out the name of Rufus Peabody’s podcast – “Bet the Process''. You often need extremely long data records to be able to reliably evaluate the profitability of your bets. Therefore you often operate in the dark and need to be sure you have done the necessary work to squeeze out any edge possible, before having any evidence for it yet. This is easier said than done, since we all need assurance that we are doing a good job, but in betting you don’t always get one. I think this is an important skill to master in order to become a good sports bettor.
  2. Spending too much time on analysis, ignoring execution: Spanky certainly has already mentioned this one! Sometimes a bit of line shopping and making sure you have access to all the possible outlets will give you more advantage than hours and hours of staring at spreadsheets or watching games. I think most people underestimate or even completely ignore that.
  3. Finally, it is important not to get addicted. Many people falsely think betting addiction is only a threat for recreational punters, but I think some sharp punters also tend to suffer from it. Regardless of how good you are, it is a good idea to take a break occasionally and not to neglect other areas of your life due to betting, as it tends to suck you in.

Follow @ChurchOfBetting on Twitter & check out The Church of Betting website here.

Check out Part 2 of our answers here, where we get the opinions of former odds compiler - Matthew Trenhaile, pro esports bettor - Adam Boothe, the Smart Betting Club, Daily 25 & the Business of Betting Podcast.

Check out Part 3 of our answers here, where we get the opinions of Football betting analyst, pro sports bettor - Danshan, Smart Sports Trader - Ryan Bruno & author - True Poker Joe.

Love getting the opinions from experts in the betting industry? Then subscribe to the Trademate Sports Podcast, where we interview the most important people in the sports betting industry.

Here are the other questions we have got our industry experts to answer so far:

  • Q1: Top 3 tips for betting beginners? Part 1 & Part 2.
  • Q2: How do you define “finding value” in betting markets? Part 1 & Part 2.
  • Q3: How do you determine whether your betting results are based on luck or skill? Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3.
  • Q4: Kelly criterion or flat staking: Which stake sizing strategy do you consider to be the best and why? Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3.
  • Q5: What is the best method to use to make money from sports betting? Part 1 & Part 2.
  • Q6: How difficult is it to beat the sports betting markets? How efficient are the odds? Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3.
  • Q7: How to manage risk when betting? Part 1 & Part 2.
  • Q8: Is there a best sport to bet on? If so, what is it? Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3.
  • Q9: Assuming you have an edge, at what point can you start accurately evaluating your results and say that variance has played out? Part 1 & Part 2.
  • Q10: What is the one thing you would like to see change in the gambling industry? Part 1 & Part 2.
  • Q11: How to overcome emotions in sports betting? Part 1 & Part 2.

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