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Top 5 Tips for New Sports Bettors, From a Data Analyst

<p>AP Photos</p>

AP Photos

Hi all, my name is Matt Modi and I am a former data analyst turned sports data analyst for OddsJam. I was once a “square” sports bettor who loved sports and thought I could easily make money betting on sports due to my sports knowledge, and, boy, I could have not been more wrong.

Once I discovered OddsJam and started investing in my sports betting education, everything changed.

The above screenshot is taken from my bet tracker, which includes every bet I have ever placed since I started using OddsJam, which was September of 2021. As you can see, I have made a total profit of $15.7K in those 16 months, which includes 13 profitable months and three months in which I was down. 

The last point I’ll make here is that I started with a lower bankroll ($500), and have progressively increased it as my profits have increased. So, with that out of the way, let’s get into my top five tips for new sports bettors.

Tip #1: Bet Responsibly (Bet Within Your Means)

This one sounds obvious, but it is clearly the most important thing. The amount of money that you dedicate towards sports betting should be a number that you are comfortable living without.

Gambling shouldn’t become a stress in your life where you are betting more money than you can’t afford, and you are stressing out over paying bills. It shouldn’t become a financial burden by any means.

So, overall, the first tip of new sports bettors is to make sure that you are responsible with your bet amounts, and that you should bet within your means. Tip No. 2 is related to this one, so I will move on to the next tip now.

Tip #2: Bankroll Management and Unit Sizing

As you are getting into sports betting, you will hear terms like “bankroll” and “units“.

Your bankroll is the amount of money that you are dedicating specifically towards sports betting. As mentioned in the previous tip, your bankroll should be a number that you are comfortable living without. This is going to be the amount of money you are putting away specifically to bet on sports, so you should be able to comfortably live your life/pay your bills with this money set aside.

One unit = 1% of your bankroll, and is a standardized way among the sports betting community to signify confidence in a bet. If I said I was betting $100 on a play, that would be one unit for me with how I have my bankroll set up. For someone with a smaller bankroll, $100 might mean five units.

So, giving out units when betting is an easy way for everybody to understand how much money that is recommended to bet on a certain play.

Tip #3: Line Shopping & Hunting for Best Odds

When it comes to actually placing bets, this is something that is an absolute must, and also means that it is necessary to sign up for every sportsbook that is available in your state.

This screenshot shows exactly what I am talking about. This is a point spread market for a college basketball game. The majority of sportsbooks have this spread at +4 or +4.5, except for one book, which has it at +5.

PointsBet is legitimately the only book here that has this spread priced above +4, which signifies that this is a profitable betting opportunity. Of course, if you weren’t searching for the best odds, or hadn’t signed up for PointsBet, then this betting opportunity wouldn’t exist.

So, the more books you sign up for = more chances of finding a profitable bet and shopping for the best lines is the easiest way to maximize the amount of bets that you win.

Tip #4: Track Your Bets

It is imperative that you track your results as you are sports betting. Let’s pretend that you place 1,000 bets at $110 each, and all of them are at -110 odds, which is standard for a main line. So, you are risking $110 to profit $100 for each individual bet. 

If you win 50% of your 1,000 bets, you would have actually lost $5K from those 1,000 bets. 

  • 500 bets lost * $110 risk = $55,000 lost
  • 500 bets won * $100 profit = $50,000 won

That’s not great! You won half your bets but lost $5K because of the odds. Now let’s pretend that instead of winning 50% of your bets, you won 55%. 

  • 450 bets lost * $110 risk = $49,500 lost
  • 550 bets won * $100 profit = $55,000 won

So, just from winning 5% more bets, you have gone from down $5K to up $5.5K. That 5% difference in winning vs. losing probably doesn’t feel that different from a nightly betting basis, but it is literally almost a $10K swing in terms of profit/loss. 

Luckily, the OddsJam Bet Tracker is completely free. You can even sync your bet tracker with seven sportsbooks so all your bets get added to the OddsJam Bet Tracker automatically, AND the OddsJam Bet Tracker will auto-grade the majority of your bets as won or lost.

Tip #5: Find Your Edge Over the Sportsbooks

An unfortunate reality of sports betting is that the sportsbooks have a built in edge over all sports bettors. Sportsbooks charge “juice” or a vig to all betting opportunities, which is how they make their money. So, gaining the edge back over the sportsbooks is imperative to actually making money.

This is where OddsJam comes in handy. OddsJam offers a wide array of sports betting tools, all in one platform. Looking for risk-free money sports betting, where there is a literal guarantee that you will profit? Check out arbitrage betting! Along with arbitrage, OddsJam also offers middle betting tools, low-holds, a free bet converter, and, most importantly, positive expected value betting.

Positive EV betting is the easiest way to be a profitable sports bettor, so, of all the different sports betting strategies, I definitely recommend positive expected value the most.

Of my $15.7K in total profit, the majority of that comes from positive EV.


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