Picture yourself lounging around your house, watching your favourite sport, and you’re earning a huge amount of money. Sounds like a dream, right? But little do most people know, it is an actual job, and it’s the reality of a professional sports bettor.
Amateur vs. Professional Sports Bettors
Since we’re talking about reality, the truth about sports betting is that there’s a very small percentage of bettors who are actual full-time professionals. There’s also a smaller percentage of them making a great amount of money out of it.
Meanwhile, most people who try to be professional will fail because most of them are amateurs just looking for a good time.
So, if you want to become a professional sports bettor, you have to know the difference between an amateur and a professional.
For starters, amateurs don’t take the serious technical approach that the industry needs to thrive. They bet on hunches or feelings — mostly driven by a favourite player or team. Amateurs will want to bet because of the pleasure and entertainment they get from the act of betting itself.
Professionals, however, take a systematic approach to sports betting. It’s business for them and they treat it that way. Furthermore, they don’t rely on gut feeling — they place bets based on statistics and skills.
Related: Benefits of Using a Betting Spreadsheet
“How Can I Become a Professional Sports Bettor?”
Easy there, eager beaver. You really want to become a professional sports bettor, huh? Well, if you’re dedicated to the craft, are intelligent in your decision-making process and love what you’re doing, there’s no reason you can’t make a good fist of it.
However, there are things to consider before you start your career in this field.
After all, every bet is essentially an investment and can have an impact on whether you’re a success or not, so you need to be wise and strict with yourself.
Think of it as a business
To start with, managing your bankroll is an integral component, as you need to ensure you have a set of principles and follow them fiercely. It’s all good and well to have a plan, but you must implement it at all times and make sure to not veer away from it. Otherwise, this can create poor habits that will hinder your chances of sustaining your professional betting status.
Providing yourself with as much usable information will quickly become a vital element of your analysis of your picks, as you need to be informed before putting any money down.
As a result, treating your betting as a business will make you sharper about where you put your money and what risks come with it. On top of that, you gain the ability to analyse whether or not a risk is worth taking the plunge.
Understanding the value of information
Being extremely knowledgeable about your chosen sport — or sports — is a must to accompany the afore. This subsequently means you’ll have your own information to call upon, which can be very insightful and useful.
Hence, as a professional sports bettor, you take advantage of all the information that you can get your hands on.
Whether news breaks that a certain valuable player gets injured days before his match, or looking at previous match records like, for example, if a team or player having a high standing last season goes up against someone from below the top 5.
Undertaking research using statistics, historical data, news surrounding your selections and by watching games can be beneficial to step up your game.
Confidence is key
You read that right.
Confidence is key to a lot of things, even to sports betting. One of the main reasons why bettors do not win as much as they want is sometimes psychological. When you doubt yourself, you start to lose confidence. Lack of confidence puts sheer pressure which leads to poor decision-making.
And do you know what happens next? You start to lose and it can inevitably turn into an excruciating cycle.
Once you’ve identified a selection you like that represents value and looks a winner, you need to have the confidence to go with it. You need to believe in your skills. Betting with conviction will allow you to take advantage of excellent opportunities to profit.
Recognize your strengths and weaknesses
As you establish yourself and build your confidence, diligently record all your bets — both wins and losses — as this will serve as a wonderful tool for you to spot trends and see what’s working for you and what isn’t.
On top of that, you’ll also be able to analyse how much profit you’re making through shrewd record-keeping. This allows you to have unbiased decision-making whenever you look at information about the best odds range that you succeed in.
Say you have enough data to see whether or not you gain profit from placing bets on handicaps, and see that you’re losing money on it. Hence, you find a weak point where you can choose to improve on or not bet on — both of which can help you decrease risks of losing.
Have the right skillset
Having the right skill set in sports betting means to equip yourself with betting strategies that can help you win more wagers. For now, we’ll run you through some of the most common betting strategies that you can apply to your new career as a professional sports bettor.
- This strategy is best used if you’re still starting as a bettor. One-Team One-Sport is exactly what it is — you pick one sport and one team, and gain a deeper knowledge about its ins and outs. Through this, you get to save time spent on researching teams, matches, or rules, since you only have to focus on one.
- In low-risk betting, you only place 1% or 2% of your bankroll into each match that you wish to bet on. This provides a lower risk of financial ruin that you’re probably not prepared for when you’re still starting as a punter.
- If you have, for example, just £100 in your bankroll, then you might need to bet a little higher than 2% to meet the minimum bet of bookies. However, that will most likely only be around £20, which is still not much of a loss if ever you don’t win a few bets.
- Betting systems are patterns in betting that you follow when you encounter winning or losing streaks. An example of the most common systems is called the Labouchere, which you can read more about by visiting our blog.
- One downside to betting systems, however, is that you need to invest a lot of time researching so that you don’t lose money trying to experiment.
Must Read: Full-time or Half-time Bet? Which One Is Better?
How to Avoid Being a “Mug Punter”
A Mug Punter is something that you wouldn’t want to be associated with, and definitely not the type of bettor you want to be called. These are people who do the opposite of what professional sports bettors do and, hence, have greater chances of losing wagers and/or have mediocre wins.
So, what makes a mug punter? Here are the common mistakes that you should avoid.
Trusting too much
There are tonnes of supportive punters all over the internet that can help you grow as a bettor. So, naturally, it’s good to seek advice from these people, especially if they have a proven track record.
However, one mistake that you can make as a newbie punter is to rely too much on other people’s advice. It can be tempting, especially when people from communities feed you with details about why a match is a “sure-win.” Unfortunately, not every tip you come across is true. Worst comes to worst, you come across a scamdicapper and get persuaded enough to wager every penny you have in your bankroll.
One thing that you should keep in mind is that these people have no control over the games. So, whatever promise of guaranteed wins they give you, there is still a chance that they could be wrong. Moreover, should you choose to take their advice, know that you can’t hold it against them.
Hence, the only person that you can really trust is yourself, so it’s good to develop your confidence first before placing big bets. You can start with reading match previews from trustworthy sources and see how they analyse a match. After that, you can gather more information to see if their recommendations are reasonable or credible.
Trying to be a Jack-of-all-trades, but never a master
One of the biggest mistakes — if not the biggest — that most rookie punters make is trying to master every sport that they can bet on.
Keep in mind that there are numerous sports and betting strategies out there, and you can’t learn them all. A real, professional sports bettor focuses on mastering one sport and learning the best betting strategy that works with their chosen sport.
Trying to learn everything at once can only make you a so-so (at most) in each sport and strategy you are trying to learn. If you want to be a professional, you have to be a master. So, focus and try to apply the “One-Sport One-Team” strategy that we mentioned earlier, and work your way from there.
Not Trusting Value Bets
Value bets are wagers that you place on odds that you believe to be the most feasible win, based on probability, statistics and other supporting information. Therefore, these are the type of bets that you should be making.
Mug punters don’t see the worth of value bets because they think it tedious to conduct thorough research on the details of a match. They put their trust on gut feeling, so it’s either they go with what the crowd sees as a “100% win” or bet on their favourite team.
Since value bets basically mean relying on your knowledge about a specific sport, you have to be unbiased when gathering information about a match, probabilities and odds. One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is having a biased opinion about the outcome of a game, and looking for information to support your bias.
Overreacting to Recent Stats or Trends
We can’t emphasize it enough that you should always gather enough data before placing a bet. Now, where your research can go wrong is when you overreact to recent trends.
Say a particular team has been doing great in the previous season or games, that doesn’t mean that you should instantly place a bet on their win on the next match. Don’t overestimate wins and winning streaks, and don’t underrate teams that come off from a loss.
Mug punters are in perpetual thought that if they get lucky enough, they can get instantly rich when one of their bets turn out to be a win. However, that will lead to nothing but more losses, disappointments, or worse, debts.
The first thing you need to do is to work on strategies to break even. Develop that skill and work your way into getting more wins through smart bets. A realistic figure that you can use as a goal is to win between 52% to 55% of your total bets. Anything above that, and you can now consider yourself as a profitable sports bettor.
Finding the Right Bookmaker
With the growing popularity of sports betting, you can find literally hundreds of thousands of bookmakers online. However, just like succeeding in this field as well as mastering a skill, finding the right bookmaker can be just as hard. It takes time and a great amount of research to find one that suits you.
In finding the right bookmaker, you will have to start asking questions like ‘what markets do these bookies offer?’ ‘what’s so unique about this bookmaker?’ ‘do they have any restrictions?’ and lastly, ‘is this trustworthy and reliable?’
One of the most important aspects of becoming a professional sports bettor is using a bookmaker that consistently offers the best odds.
Furthermore, just like in casinos, there are some bookmakers that block or restrict your account when you get too good and win too often. So, if you want to be successful in betting, you need to find a bookmaker that welcomes winners and won’t restrict or limit anyone that makes money from betting.
Aside from finding a bookmaker that is suitable for you, you can also opt for sportsbooks aggregators. Now, what is a sportsbook aggregator?
A lot of bettors tend to create multiple accounts in various bookmakers in order to compare the best possible odds for their sports bets. With a sportsbooks aggregator, you would not have to register for numerous accounts because they give you a list of the best odds and highest limits from a variety of bookmakers.
Moreover, some aggregators, like the VOdds sports trading platform, allow you to place bets, make withdrawals and deposits, directly from their platform.
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It’s Not a Cakewalk, but It Can Be Rewarding
Before going full time, practising and refining your skills is a great idea to see if you believe turning professional is the right move for you.
While it’s not as straightforward as it looks becoming a pro, if you put in the work and have an unyielding commitment to ensuring you make coherent decisions, for the right person it can be an excellent career choice.