Attitudes towards sports betting have changed beyond all recognition in the past few years. As recently as a generation ago, the majority of sports punters were deadly serious about their gambling and about betting to win. Whether it was football, baseball or horse racing, there was no room for sentiment, just hard-boiled analysis of form, conditions and statistics. What’s more, most of the bets were placed using illegal bookies, as that was usually the only show in town.
Compare that to today when thousands of sports fans log on to a legit online sportsbook on a Saturday or Sunday to place a bet on their favorite team. When a Cowboys fan puts $10 on his team to beat the Patriots, it is not because he’s studied the form and concluded that the Cowboys are more likely to win. He places the bet in the same spirit as putting on his Troy Aikman game shirt – as an act of support. The aspect of financial gain if his team wins is almost incidental, and just provides an extra reason to celebrate if it comes off.
It’s a highly laudable attitude and is exactly the right spirit in which to approach gambling. But having said that, it is possible to take things to extremes. Betting what you can afford to lose and without expectation of a win is good sense. But it also makes sense to do anything you can to improve your chances. Here are some inside tips.
Choose a good tipster
If you always back the Cleveland Browns or Manchester United because that’s your team then fair enough, you don’t need a tipster. But if you’re not sure where to place your bet, for example if you’re betting on a horse race, then expert advice is like gold dust. Tipsters do more than tell you who they think will win. They advise how best to bet. For example, if there’s an odds-on favorite in a horse race, they might recommend placing your money on a long shot that has a good chance of placing or showing.
Steer clear of the glory hunters
Popular teams and athletes attract bets even if they are unlikely to win – our Cleveland Browns example demonstrated that. This can lead to bookmakers shortening the odds to protect themselves; the rush of emotional bets placed on Serena Williams when she confirmed her participation at Wimbledon is another case in point. If you have the choice, always back a team or athlete that has a lower profile and a smaller following.
Give live betting a try
With live betting, you can keep placing bets after the game has started and practically until it ends. If you are good at reading the flow of play, it provides some real opportunities to cash in. However, you need to be quick and brave. Most importantly, you need to be ready for the fact that things won’t always go your way. In other words: the golden rule of only betting what you can afford to lose still applies.
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