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Let’s be clear: making money with sports betting is hard.
Most non-professional sports bettors fail to turn a profit, even with years of experience. For example, when betting on the standard lines of -110, you need to win at least 52.38% of bets to break even.
This may not seem that hard, but with how accurate bookmakers are, it’s actually very difficult.
Still, this doesn’t mean that making money on sports betting is impossible. You can always rely on certain sports betting strategies to increase your chances, and we’ll go over a dozen of them below.
12 Ways to Make Money Sports Betting
Here are some sports betting tips you can use to increase the likelihood of making money:
1) Claim Every Intro Promo Available in Your State
There is no limit to how many different betting sites you can use. To maximize the amount of money you make sports betting—at least at the beginning—you should sign up for every available sportsbook and maximize the intro promo.
The most common types of betting offers for new players are risk-free bets and deposit bonuses. You can claim the majority of intro promos once you complete the first deposit. However, some sportsbooks offer no deposit bonuses that can be used as soon as you register an account.
Note that some sportsbooks require promo codes to access the sign-up bonuses. Check out our guide to the Best Sportsbook Promotions & Promo Codes to learn more.
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2) Take Advantage of Odds Boosts
Sportsbooks will sometimes offer odds boosts on specific games and markets, increasing the original odds by 10% to 40%. As a result, you will make more money if the bet hits.
Still, many odds boosts can create a scenario with the positive expected value, as they often completely eliminate the sportsbook’s juice. They are also advantageous when used in combination with arbitrage betting, which we’ll talk about later on.
3) Take Advantage of Ongoing Promotions
Apart from the intro offer, sportsbooks provide many other promotions regularly. For instance, you may use parlay insurance, which is a promo that gives you a partial or full refund if you miss your parlay by a single leg.
Cashback is another common ongoing promo that allows you to get a portion of your losses back after a given period. You may also receive free bets and deposit bonuses on occasion, as well as referral bonuses and promos acquired through loyalty programs.
Each of these promotions allows you to either cut your losses or extend your bankroll, so you should definitely use them every chance you get.
>> Read More: Free Bet Calculator
4) Shop Around for the Best Lines and Odds
Another reason you should register on as many betting sites as possible is to be able to compare their odds and lines.
Not all sportsbooks offer the same odds and lines for every market. By doing a quick comparison of the books you use before placing your bet, you can find the one that offers the best line (such as getting a team at -2.5 instead of -3) and/or the one with the best odds (such as getting a team to win at +150 instead of +130).
5) Look for Arbitrage Opportunities
Arbitrage betting involves taking each side of a market on two different betting sites and profiting regardless of the outcome. For this to happen, the odds must be aligned in the right way, but you also must know how much you need to wager on each outcome.
Finding arbitrage opportunities is very difficult, and calculating the required stake can be even harder. For that purpose, we’ve created an arbitrage betting calculator that will make things at least a bit easier.
6) Be Selective With Your Bets
Not all bets are worth your money, so it’s imperative that you take your time and do proper research in an effort to find markets that provide an edge.
Instead of just focusing on featured events and the main markets, do a little digging around to see if the sportsbook has mispriced any props or markets in lower-level competitions.
It also helps to choose the best sports to bet on, including those with the lowest vig as well as those that you know the best about.
7) Avoid Betting Longshot Parlays
Longshot parlays are fun to bet because of the potentially massive payout. However, any bettor with a little bit of experience will tell you that these are the worst possible bets to make.
Parlays have a very low chance of hitting. The more legs you put down on your slip, the lower the probability gets.
You can look at it this way: even the most successful bettors are satisfied when they win more than 55% of their bets, assuming standard -110 odds. With parlays, you need to win 100% of each individual leg, so the chances of making a long-term profit on them are almost impossible.
8) Don’t Always Bet With the Public
The logic of betting against the public (fading the public) is a sound one. Since casual sports bettors typically lose, it’s logical to side with the sharps and bet on the opposite outcome. However, there is a time and place when this tactic should be applied, so do not use it blindly.
The best thing to do here is follow the reverse line movement. This suggests that you should take note of the line movement relative to the percentage of the bets taken on either side. If the majority of bets are taken on one side but the line moves against it, it means that larger bets made by sharps are going in the opposite direction.
9) Study and Look for Value in Prop Bets
Many sportsbooks offer hundreds of prop bets on certain games. With so many props available, it’s likely that oddsmakers might have mispriced some of them—especially in contrast to moneyline, spread bets, and total bets—allowing you to find value.
10) Manage Your Bankroll
Bankroll management is an essential strategy when sports betting. Instead of just being focused on making money, you should also make sure not to lose a lot of it.
The general approach is to always decide on your bankroll before laying down your first bet and stick to it. From there, you should distribute it relatively evenly, betting between 1% and 5% of your total bankroll on each wager.
11) Follow Up on Injury Reports and Other News
Always stay on top of the news regarding injuries. If you find out that a player is injured early, you may be able to find value in betting on his or her replacement.
Plus, you will have a better notion of what that means for the outcome of the entire game. Of course, you’ll need to be quick, as the lines will move as soon as the information reaches the sportsbook.
Pay attention to forecast reports as well. If there’s going to be bad weather, an NFL or college football game is likely to have more rushing yards and less passing yards.
12) Stay Away From Complete Chance Prop Bets
Some prop bets are completely up to chance, like a coin toss or whether the total number of points in a basketball game is going to be odd or even. These are true 50/50 bets and you can’t take any knowledgeable approach that’ll help you figure out their outcome.
Like with every other bet, sportsbooks charge juice on these props, so even though they are a 50/50 chance, you won’t even get an even-money payout. This means that you are mathematically likely to lose money on these bets in the long run.
Sports Betting Math—How Often You Have to Win to Make Money
Sportsbooks charge vig (sometimes called “juice”) on every bet, helping them make money. The odds are always on their side, so you can’t just win 50% of your bets to break even.
To calculate the exact percentage of bets you must win, we have to find the implied probability. You can learn about reading betting odds here and calculating implied probability here. For standard -110 lines, as an example, you have to win 52.38% to break even.
If the percentage of your winning bets is higher than this number, you will be making a profit. While the added 2.38% doesn’t seem like much, it is a hurdle that most sports bettors fail to cross.