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The Art of Sports Betting: A beginners guide

“Is it possible to beat the bookies?” It is a question that the vast majority of those who start betting want to know the answer to. You could search the internet with questions like “How to get rich betting on sports” or “How to make money on bets.” but beware the results are often SPAM and written to deceive. It is possible, but it is not easy, in this article we shall explore experiences and tips from people who have first-hand knowledge.

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First of all, we should say that a beginner at the start should firstly deal with all of the basic concepts, and only once they are mastered worry about “profits”. The short answer though is… YES, you can make money betting on sports. Some people may say you can not, but what they mean by that is “they” can not. It can be done, but the right goals and the right knowledge are necessary. We strongly recommend getting started the right way!

What is Sports Betting?

Sports betting is a battle of wits between punters and the bookmakers. A player makes his prediction for a sporting event and bets money that his prediction will prove correct. The bookmaker assigns odds to this prediction. If the punter is correct he wins his stake amount multiplied by the odds offered.

Bookmaker's odds may change over time due to the number and size of bets being placed. This does not always mean the likelihood of something happening has changed, it is just the bookmaker always wants to have a balanced book if possible.

Can I win with sports betting?

Of course, you can win betting on sports in the short term, you just need to be lucky. Longer-term the only way to do it is by betting on “value” bets, where the payout (bookies odds) are higher than the probability that the bet will win. To help achieve this, it is a good idea to look at the rating of forecasters on Legalbet, which shows the long-run successes or failures of each expert and handicapper on our site.

The statistics are not edited or removed, and therefore the ranking page shows that not everyone is always able to make gambling pay. But some do. And of course, without exception, forecasters are well-versed and knowledgeable in the sport for which they give forecasts. 

Good knowledge of sports does in itself guarantee constant winnings. It is true that nothing guarantees a win every time you place a bet. There are several things which are essential to increasing your chances of coming out ahead.

One: Have the correct perception. Betting should be fun, and whilst that is not essential, but if you care about losing individual bets then you won’t enjoy gambling. Sports bettors can (and you will) lose, and you have to be prepared for that.

Being unemotional about your bets has several significant advantages: 

  • Firstly, it allows you to not lose your mind and risk large sums of money (It is known as chasing losses and it is a terrible thing to see happen);
  • Secondly, it also helps you to develop probability assessment skills and not think of the money involved;
  • Thirdly, it gives you what sports betting should be: A more healthy excitement when watching the match, but not a fear of losing.

Two: Bankroll management (budgeting). For a beginner, the advice could not be simpler: “Never bet more than you can afford to lose”. To double your stake after a successful bet is a bad idea. Trying to win your money back on the next bet after a loss is an even worse idea. 

Experienced players know how the novice brain works: that one large rookie win can make up for many previous and subsequently loses. If you are serious about mastering the art (science?) of sports betting, then start keeping track of all bets made, as well as every win and every loss.   It is the best way to analyse your results and control your staking.

Three: Analysing the data. The ability to work with information, get up-to-date data and analyse it are the basics and at the same time the main thing when choosing a bet. It is not enough to simply believe in the team you want to bet on: it is important to also know what form the team is currently in, whether or not it has a high motivation to win, how optimal the squad is, who will be starting the game, etc. 

To make it easier for fans of soccer or hockey to analyse the data we feature To Perform (in the section betting centre on Legalbet you can choose your game from the list and get up-to-date information on it). In this section, you can see the schedule of all upcoming matches as well.

Beginning punters should remember that the bookmaker always has an under round in the odds and therefore an advantage. Of course, there is a small percentage of players who rate events even better than the bookmaker; however, this comes only with experience, and even with experience, is not true everyone can do it.

Learning to bet on sports

Before you bet it is helpful to familiarise yourself with the basic concepts and terms by which a bookmaker operates. The bookmaker’s offer a huge number of other bets where there can be various pitfalls lurking around the corner for novice players. If you decide to experiment without the necessary knowledge, it can lead to trouble.

For example, bookmakers also offer customers different types of handicaps to bet on (Asian or European) and each is calculated differently. You need to know which your bookie is offering in advance. It is rare but possible for different bookmakers to settle bets according to different sources, and for a beginner, it does not always end favourably. In order to not have to learn from your mistakes, we recommend you allocate time for training, carefully study the rules of betting and all the possible nuances that may arise. 

It is better to understand the topic of sports betting with the help of Legalbet: 

  • General information - is the section that every beginner should read first.
  • Types of sports – we have separate articles describing the main features of betting on different sports. 
  • Need to know - a lot of applied information for the player.
  • Strategies - material about popular betting strategies, the pros and cons of each.

Sports betting: how it works

We recommend that you determine for yourself how much money you are willing to allocate for betting, and you stick to it. Even if you think that you have found the bet of a lifetime, you still must not do not bet with more than you planned for. It will hurt you if the bet ends up winning, but you should not regret that you did not bet more. In the process of learning sports betting, in the long run, the ups and downs of individual bets and one of the decisions are not important. You must have a plan and stick to it. This understanding only comes with time.

It is best to start with the sports, tournaments and types of bets you are interested in. Selecting where to place the bets, ie which bookmaker to chose is the next step.  It is worth noting that the market is so competitive now that the bookmaking odds are getting better and richer. Therefore, the main emphasis we look for is the odds and margins. For the same events at different bookies, the difference can be a few %, and in the long run, this can be of great importance.

Selecting bets by odds

Most people start their “career” in betting with bets on their favourite team or athlete. And this is a mistake that haunts many experienced players throughout the game. This is because to profit from betting analytics is more important than emotions. Letting emotions influence decisions is a noticeable problem in the game.

Emotions and bets for a professional player should never intertwine, and all beginners should learn this truth as quickly as possible. If you care too much for a few losses, the desire to win money back will have you betting on the third division of Maltese curling simply because there are no other events to choose at that time. Do this, and you will be destined to fail.

So, if you have already decided to try your hand in sports betting, we hope that our material can help to make this an enjoyable and successful endeavour. Good luck!