With sports betting now legal in dozens of states, millions of sports fans are eager to get involved. The anti-gambling stigma that once plagued sports betting has faded quickly, making way for a massive, multibillion-dollar industry. But the new era of sports betting isn’t without its challenges. 60 Minutes correspondent Jon Wertheim reports this week on some of the issues that could emerge as a result.
Sportsbooks set odds on a number of occurrences, including the outcome of a game, individual player or team performance and other things that have nothing to do with the game itself. These odds are based on the probability that an event will happen, meaning something with a higher chance of happening will pay out less than something with a lower probability. The risk of losing a bet is also greater with lower odds.
Those who are successful at sports betting do so by following a strategy that includes thorough research and disciplined bankroll management. But even the best professional bettors, known as sharps, struggle to turn a profit on a consistent basis.
The first thing that any bettor should do is open a separate bank account for sports betting purposes. This will keep money that could be used for other things away from the bankroll that is dedicated to placing bets. Having the money in a separate account will make it much more difficult to spend more than you can afford to lose, and will help keep your betting habit in check.
Another important step is to create a budget for how much you can afford to bet each week. It is also a good idea to start small, so that when you do lose (which will happen) it won’t be as much of a blow. As you become more confident in your ability to win bets you can slowly increase the amount that you bet each game.
Once you have a budget and some experience, it’s important to be able to recognize when you’re being overbet. Overbets are a common mistake among novice bettors, and can lead to a big loss. This is especially true for bets placed against the spread or on team totals. In these types of bets the sportsbooks charge vig, or a percentage of your bet. The more you bet, the bigger the vig, so it’s important to be aware of the amount of money that you’re spending on each bet.
One final piece of advice is to never bet more than you can afford to lose. Unless you’re very wealthy, this means that you shouldn’t bet more than 10% of your bankroll on any single game. That will ensure that you can cover your losses if necessary, and won’t put yourself at too much of a financial risk.
It’s also important to remember that if you’re gambling, it should be fun. Using money that you need for bills or expenses isn’t the right approach, and can ruin your life if you’re not careful. So have fun, but be smart about it- and only gamble with money that you can afford to lose.