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

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 1 of our answers here, where we get the opinions of sports betting analyst - Joseph Buchdahl, pro gambler - Anthony Kaminskas, Tennis betting analyst - Dan Weston, Nenko from Church of Betting and odds compiler - Jeeve Jeyaratnam.

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.


  1. Not managing your money. Possibly the dullest subject but also one of the most necessary and critical elements to becoming a successful long-term punter is the organisation and implementation of bankroll management and staking strategy.

Chasing your losses or betting big through overconfidence after a win are ever-present dangers. With a consistent bankroll management strategy, the decision of how much to stake on any particular bet is taken out of your hands, removing the risk of reckless betting.

It sounds counterintuitive to many people, but many successful bettors lose most of the time. They profit in the long-term because they are finding value, but in the short term, results can fluctuate. To ensure these fluctuations don’t knock you out of the game, you need to have a properly-sized betting bank, set aside from your daily finances.

  1. Misunderstanding value. No matter what sport or event you’re betting on, price and value are always the most important aspects of your punt. Put simply, we should always be looking to back a selection where the probability of a given outcome is greater than the bookmakers' odds reflect.

Getting the best odds available (and beating the closing price) is pivotal to long-term successful punting. Always take the best price, always review the closing line against your selections to check if you were on the right value lines, and if at all possible, bet early before the markets mature to really make your edge pay.

If you’re not shopping around and taking poor value prices, you simply won’t progress long-term.

  1. Unrealistic expectations. Research suggests that fewer than 5% of the punting population win long-term. You can spend hours researching and trying to formulate the perfect wager, but in the end, absolutely nothing is guaranteed in this game so it’s worth appreciating and respecting the attributes required to be successful.

Be realistic with your expectations, set goals that are achievable, play in moderation, and most importantly, enjoy the thrill that sports betting has to offer. If you’ve mastered a process that is paying dividends, continue to adapt and evolve and remember that slow and steady will almost always win the race. There is no secret door to a lifetime of riches.

Follow @MarkOHaire on Twitter here.


  1. Well, when I think about the three biggest mistakes bettors make, the first thing that comes to mind is the recent game bias. Let’s say Team A is playing Team B, Team A won last week by double digits against another team. Meanwhile, Team B lost by double digits to a different team. Now, they're playing each other. Obviously, this must mean that team A, that won by double digits, is gonna blow out team B that lost by double digits last week. But if you go back and look, you can see that against the spread in their game, it’s 50-50 ATS. The same thing goes for teams that cover the OVER in their last 5 games and their opponent went OVER the last 3 games. If they are playing each other they should go over. In reality, that is not the case. It’s 50-50 ATS. Yesterday’s game means a bit to the overall picture of data, but it’s not the whole picture.
  2. The next huge mistake is alternating bet size on some imaginary confidence level on each game. You either have an edge or you don’t. There is no imaginary confidence index. Now, if you are modeling, you may use Kelly or something that creates a different stake in each game, and if you really have an edge, it might help you. For people that are picking winners off a sheet, however, you should not create some kind of confidence score on bets and alter individual bet sizes. I recommend betting to win 1 unit. This enables you to keep bet size consistent and have more on faves and less on dogs. This alone should help stabilize your bankroll.
  3. The 3rd biggie is an old favorite of mine: I used to say “Patriots -6.5? C’mon! They are gonna win this game by 30.” It’s hard to swallow, but I am saying the entire betting world is wrong and the wisdom of the crowd is wrong. Always doubt yourself and trust the line! If you think it should be 30, dig deeper and figure out why it’s only 6.5, before you pull the trigger on “your sure thing”. Another example: the Yankees are only -160 and they can’t lose, right? We have to remember a -160 favorite only wins 60% of the time. They LOSE 4 out of 10 times when they are -160! You need to know being a big favourite does not guarantee a win and if you think the line is off by 20 pts you are probably wrong!

Follow @Spotonparts on Twitter.


I will go through what I think my biggest three mistakes were/still are.

  1. Expecting too much too soon. I remember the first sports bets I ever made. Three selections on a UFC card that all won. Immediately I thought "I could probably do this for a living."

A few months later, I had lost about a grand following poor tipsters and betting on a hunch .

13 years later and I have made good money from sports betting. Like pretty much everything in order to become proficient at something it takes time and you have to build a deeper understanding of what you are trying to achieve.

  1. Understanding variance. Variance is a huge part of sports betting. It can fool you into thinking you made good bets when they were bad or vice versa.

Understanding that you can make good bets and still go on a losing run is something that I think the majority of recreational sports bettors don't understand.

  1. Emotional betting. Betting because of positive or negative emotion is never a good approach.

A good run of results can lead you to make poor betting decisions just as much as a bad run of results can. I think with betting it is important to try to distance yourself emotionally from the day to day swings that sports betting brings.

Follow @SmSportstrader on Twitter & check out the Smart Sports Trader blog here.


Everyone is betting in their own environment of background, goals and talents. Understand yours.

If your goal is to have fun, which is absolutely legit, then make sure you’re doing exactly that, which probably means never betting so much that you actually really care who wins, but otherwise enjoying each bet for its own sake.

If your goal is to test yourself as a handicapper of a sport you love—and betting is the best test of that—set up a reasonable bankroll and bet by percentage of edge, so that as time goes by, you’ve properly tested yourself. Your biggest mistake will be in thinking that your bets are your gamble. They aren’t. Your bets are the test; your gamble is that you’re a winning handicapper; restrict yourself to that gamble.

If your goal is to grind the small edges found by great attentiveness to the market, be mathy and nothing else; your biggest mistake will be to bet on anything other than your own hard work.

Also: Not line shopping. Betting too much. Not line shopping.

Follow @TruePokerJoe on Twitter & check out his book 'Sharper: A Guide to Modern Sports Betting’.

Check out Part 1 of our answers here, where we get the opinions of sports betting analyst - Joseph Buchdahl, pro gambler - Anthony Kaminskas, Tennis betting analyst - Dan Weston, Nenko from Church of Betting and odds compiler - Jeeve Jeyaratnam.

CCheck 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.

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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