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The 7 Golden Rules of Sports Betting

Rules. Hardly the sexiest or most attractive concept in the world, it must be said. As kids, we are conditioned to hate rules, for the most part. Things like curfews imposed by our parents, not being allowed to eat candy before dinner, and brushing our teeth twice a day seemed unfair and designed to punish us. When we get older, we can understand their value. Well, kind of.

The rebels inside of us as adults get to flaunt these rules whenever we like. Unless, of course, we are married. The less said here about marriage the better, but surely you understand my point? The fact of the matter is, sometimes, rules are necessary for maintaining peace and calm inside a family home or keeping our wives and husbands happy.

When it comes to sports betting, however, rules are necessary. Playing the part of an anarchist with your wallet will soon see you looking around while you scratch your head, wondering where all your money has gone. Whenever there is money involved – and there always is in sports betting – you need guidelines to save you from walking over the edge of a cliff that has a serious, and potentially devastating, drop to the bottom.

Below, you will find what I believe to be the seven most important factors to adhere to when engaging in sports betting. These rules are not designed to prevent you from having fun, but to keep you in a position where you still can bet. The smartest bettors remain in the game, while those who fail to respect the game and throw their money away often end up with empty pockets and a sour look on their face. Don’t be one of those guys.

1. Always Maintain Discipline

Is there a reason why I have chosen to address discipline as the first rule? You bet there is. Discipline and being a successful sports bettor go hand in hand like a pair of loved up school kids. Unlike those youthful couples suffering an acute bout of “puppy love,” once you introduce and maintain discipline into your sports betting behavior, you are unlikely to dump it after a couple of weeks.

Discipline is important in sports betting as it allows a betting enthusiast to operate in a composed and logical manner. With discipline, stupid mistakes that can often work against those who enjoy sports betting are minimized. A plan of action and reasonable, logical thought should always be a fundamental part of why you are choosing to place a bet on a particular event. Simply put: you should be able to explain why you think a bet will win.

There are many common mistakes that those without discipline will make. More often than not, a bad gambler will continue to make the same errors – time after time – leading to frequent bad experiences and losses. Having no discipline, in any walk of life, is a sure way to eliminate any progress that you make. Think about it like this: if you demonstrate blatant disregard for discipline at work, how long will you last?

Anyone with designs on carving out a successful career in sports betting – or even finding frequent success with their infrequent, moderate betting activity – should treat things like a business. When at work, we wouldn’t drink on the job, make important decisions before thinking them out, hope that things just happen our way etc. and we are playing with the company’s money! So, why should we demonstrate such indiscipline when playing with our own?

2. Never Bet on Something You Don’t Understand

We all that have that one buddy who has a scheme when it comes to betting. For instance, a friend of mine once tried to convince me that betting on Korean soccer was the easiest way to make money betting online. Now, I am a big soccer fan – and know a lot about most leagues in the world – but I couldn’t tell you who the best teams in the K League are. Neither could Robert.

Now, as “appealing” as Robert’s idea was, there is absolutely no chance that I would ever place a bet on something I don’t understand. Even though the game, soccer, is still the same, the parameters shift when you don’t have an understanding of the best teams, the weather, the rivalries, and various other aspects of a new league. Robert eventually gave up his idea when his luck ran out. When he lost his first game betting on Pohang Steelers, he moved back to betting on football and boxing.

The same principle applies to any sport, tournament, or league that you are hoping to win money on. If you don’t understand something, betting on it is essentially a game of luck. Now, almost all of us will profit from luck sometimes, but luck is not something that you want to rely on consistently. Doing so will see you lose your money, fast. Be smart and stick to stuff you do understand or learn about a new sport and ease yourself in with smaller bets.

There is sufficient information online for anyone to learn about pretty much any sport on the planet. It does not take long to learn the rules of most sports, but if you have a greater understanding of one particular sport over another, think about making your knowledge work for you when betting. A strategic approach to betting is the way forward. Do you have a strategy when betting? You don’t? OK, let’s take a look at why a strategy is important.

3. Always Have a Gambling Strategy

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” The aphorism above – which has been credited to Benjamin Franklin – is one that you should never forget when betting. Doing so might mean that you will see a lot more of the Founding Fathers of the United States. For those reading this who live outside of America, Franklin’s face is on the $100 bill. Of course, if you listen to Hip Hop music, you probably know this.

Speaking of knowledge, a gambling strategy is something that you seriously need to consider adopting if you want to see long term gains. Especially if profit is top of the agenda, which it is for those of us who don’t have a few hundred million lying around to throw at bets. Let’s face it: that’s not any of us.

A solid betting strategy should be akin to a coach’s playbook in football. A football strategy should be based on your knowledge of the game or sport you are betting on. It should be based on logic and tactics, and an understanding of the interior and exterior factors that can affect a game or match. These things don’t have to be rocket science and vary from knowing that, in the summer when the sun is low, it is more difficult for a catcher to see a ball in baseball, to understanding how different tires affect cars in F1.

In sports betting, your strategy can be as slim or packed as you wish it to be. Providing you keep your ear to the ground, pay attention to the sport – including news, transfer stories, injuries – you can anticipate anything that can play against you on game day. Read previews and predictions by experts of the sport, and shop around for odds with various bookmakers. A strategy is important in more ways than one. This applies to your bankroll management.

4. Bankroll Management & Budget

Two of the biggest mistakes made in gambling are: not setting a budget and failing to manage your bankroll. These two things can be interconnected, as setting a budget should dictate your bankroll, when you start off, at least. The most important thing to remember is that emotions can sometimes get in the way when gambling, especially if you are impulsive, so knowing how to manage your money is crucial.

Going back to Rule 1: “Always Maintain Discipline,” you will help yourself considerably if you know how to be controlled and unemotional when betting. Look, we have all been guilty of seeing a “sign,” or following the urge to back a horse because it has the same name as a girlfriend or favorite boxer (hopefully there are not too many girls around called Tyson Fury). Not deviating from our respective bankrolls at times like these is important in the long run.

Not everyone is blessed with good money management skills. If you want to go far in sports betting, I would suggest learning how to be. Long term success is based on consistency. If you consistently break the promise to yourself, which is to set a specific budget and stick to it, you will consistently fail. You might get lucky for a while, but as you will soon learn in sports betting, luck is a fleeting thing.

Most seasoned gamblers will set their budget before they bet. This could be anything from $10 to $10,000. It is all up to you and what you can afford to spend.

5. Never Spend Money You Can’t Afford

If you are among the millions and millions of people around the world that live check to check, it can sometimes be a little frustrating to have to wait for payday. Of course, the most annoying part of this is seeing your rent or groceries money in your account, just sitting there, until it is taken or spent. Now, if you look at that money and your brain says, “hey, let’s take that $800 and put it on the Patriots to beat the spread against the Steelers,” you should not be betting. Period.

It is of vital importance to remember the dangers of spending money you can’t afford on betting. There are potentially serious consequences to betting with money that is supposed to be used on other things. If you lose that money, you could potentially end up in a position that no one should be in. It simply is not worth it and is flat out dumb. Only spend money that you won’t miss too much if you lose.

This rule ties into the one above, as it is related to setting your budget. If you think about it, you should know what disposable income you have left once you have paid your mortgage or rent for the month, and have covered bills, groceries, travel, etc. The residual amount, providing you have enough, will be where you can take your money for sports betting purposes.

You will notice that many of these rules tie into one another. It takes discipline to set your budget and manage your money. It also takes a strategy to ensure that you are only spending the money you can afford. Think of all of these aspects of sports betting as your rules, codes, or simple points to adhere to in order to put you in a good position. Oh, and if you’re a bad loser, you also need to remember one thing…

6. Never Chase Losses

Never. It is one of the biggest mistakes you will ever make when gambling. Look, we all want to be winners – all the time – but if this was to happen, there would be no gambling industry. Conversely, if everyone lost all the time, no one would want to place any bets. It can be a real kick in the teeth to consistently lose, but chasing those losses in order to recoup the money that you will never see again is like burning your hand in a fire trying to pick up a hot coal and going back in afterward with your other hand.

Good bankroll management is based on sticking to your budget. If you have lost your $10, $100, or $1000 that you have set aside for gambling that day, you are done. Going to the ATM or transferring the rent money over to gamble and get it back is not just dumb, but potentially very dangerous. It is an emotional response to something that should be very logical. It can be easier said than done, but practice makes perfect. If you want to be a pro, act professionally.

If you are ruled by emotions, it can be difficult to take when that “sure thing” works out as anything but. Additionally, if you are betting on a team or fighter that you have emotional links to, it can be more difficult to accept if they lose. If you lost once and expect to panic bet in order to get that money back, you are playing with fire, just like the guy who burns both hands in the fire. It’s no fun looking for your wallet with no hands…

By gradually increasing your stakes and keeping your bets to a reasonable amount, you will be less likely to be hit hard. As such, chasing losses will not be something that you feel compelled to do. This also applies to betting with money that you don’t have: if you cannot afford to place the bets, and they lose, you might be in a position where you are borrowing to claw that money back. There is no fun in that.

7. Find Your Niche

And exploit it. If you have a great knowledge for NBA and have been successful when betting on basketball, why look elsewhere? For fun, or a little change? OK, well, just remember that you may not be as successful when betting on hockey, soccer, or Australian rules. It can often take someone a lot of time before they find a sport where they have frequent success when betting. If you already have a niche, don’t ignore it.

By some peoples’ natures, they prefer to mix things up. I get that. If you have been consistently winning on a certain sport, it would make more sense to bet lower amounts on another sport that you are only wagering on out of boredom. Those who tend to have a greater understanding of how a sport works – and have a good understanding of money management and a solid strategy – outperform those who don’t. It’s that simple.

While sports betting should be about fun, you still cannot take being skilled at being knowledgeable on one thing for granted. Some gambling enthusiasts will have a lot of success when betting on F1, while their knowledge of soccer or rugby could be non-existent. If you were to wager on what sport they were most likely to win bets on, what would it be?

If you treat sports betting as though it is a business, you will certainly make the best of your skills. There are some bettors out there that have limited knowledge of what affects games or matches, yet still, spend thousands of dollars each year trying to win money on those same sports. Use your skills to your advantage. Use your niche. If you are unsure of what your niche is, find it.

So there you have it, the 7 Golden Rules of Sports Betting. That wasn’t complicated or a drag at all, was it? While no one likes following other people’s rules, you can be comfortable knowing that you can set your own rules as you embark on your journey as a sports betting aficionado. It goes without saying that those rules should be closely linked to the ones above, but, ultimately, it is your decision.

When all is said and done, every bettor will take the credit for the pleasure and distinctive little buzz that comes from winning. As such, betting enthusiasts should also be willing to take the losses – and responsibility for them – without acting emotionally and doing something dumb like blowing $1000 to chase $500.

Sports betting can be an awesome way to have fun, and if done right, pretty profitable to boot. If you do it right, stick to these rules, and avoid the pitfalls waiting for us all, you might surprise yourself in the long run.

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