Updated: October 2019

Most Common Betting Mistakes – Guide for Beginners

22 July 2019

In sports betting there are many betting terms which are not easy to understand for a person who has never bet before.

It’s very complex and almost impossible for a bettor who has just discovered betting/online betting not to encounter difficulties.

Most Common Betting Mistakes – Guide for Beginners

To make it easier, we have written a guide that will explain betting terms and make them more understandable for the less experienced bettor.

In this article we will explain what the most common betting mistakes are and how to avoid making them, so new bettors can get the most from sports betting.

What are the Most Common Betting Mistakes?

Betting mistakes are something that inexperienced and casual bettors make all the time, often without realising they are actually making a mistake. These mistakes can be extremely costly for the person making them and negatively impact any chance they have of making or sustaining a long term profit from sports betting.

Here is a list of some of the most common mistakes made in sports betting and below this list we will explain in more detail how the mistakes are made and how to avoid making them.

1. Poor money management
2. Emotional and impulse betting
3. Not carrying out proper research and analysis
4. Always betting on the favourite
5. Not keeping a betting record
6. Chasing losses
7. Ignoring the importance of value bets
8. Not shopping around

So, let us explain our points in a little more detail so you do not fall into the same trap as so many new betters before you.

Poor Money Management

Most new bettors start off casually by placing the odd Saturday afternoon soccer accumulator or backing a horse in a big race such as the Grand National. But, bettors who want to bet more regularly and make a profit must have some sort of money management system in place.

So many new bettors ignore this, bet big on the wrong kind of bet and end up losing more money than they can afford. A way to avoid making this mistake is to adopt a money management system and stick to it.

There are several money or bankroll management systems you can choose from but the simplest is to work on a points system. To do this, you must set yourself a budget and a time frame for this. It could be that you give yourself a budget of 100 every month to begin with, if you have other monetary responsibilities, but it can be whatever you can afford to lose.
Once you’ve set this number, you must then work out the value of one point. This is the equivalent of 1% and can be figured out by using the following formula.

• Total Bankroll / 100 = 1 point

We would then recommend you stick to 2-3% for each bet and maintain this. If you win, your total stake will go up but still remain the same amount of points or the same percentage as always. On the other hand, the stake size will decrease if you go on a losing streak.

You must do the above calculation before every bet to work out the stake for each wager you place.

The advantages of proper money management is that you will not go bust after one or two bets and this in turn increases your chances of making a long term profit.

Emotional and impulse betting

You must always avoid using emotions as a way of driving your betting strategy and never bet on impulse.

A lot of people bet after a few alcoholic drinks, they place a bet after an argument with their significant other, or just place a bet out of boredom. These mistakes can ultimately cost you a lot of money and make you feel worse, possibly leading to more bets and a possible long term problem.

Sports betting should be fun and done only by those who can afford to bet and who keep a clear head at all times. You will make this mistake if you fail to keep a clear head, find yourself betting angry, or placing a wager on an unheard of team playing a sport you know nothing about at three o’clock in the morning.

Another form of emotional betting that many casual or inexperienced bettors partake in is that of betting on the team or player they support. This is heart over head betting and is another thing that could lead to losing a lot of money.

Not carrying out proper research and analysis

If you only place a bet once in a blue moon, this isn’t for you. But the fact you are here looking at a guide of the most common betting mistakes probably means you wager more often than that.

So, in order to increase your chances of a long term profit, you must remain analytical at all times.

• Only bet on a sport you have knowledge of
• Carry out full research before an event, including studying facts, stats, and any other useful information
• Analyse all the information you have gained in order to make better and more informed betting decisions

Betting without knowledge of what you’re betting on is a sure-fire way of going broke.

Always betting on the favourite

Perhaps the biggest mistake made by inexperienced and casual bettors is always backing the favourite. Regardless of what sport or what event, backing the favourite just because the bookmaker has implied it has the best chance of winning is something to avoid.
There are many reasons that a certain selection is made betting favourite. It could be a team at the top of the Premier League soccer table playing a team fighting relegation, it could be a horse who has won its last couple of races in what looks a relatively poor handicap, or it could just be that there has been a flurry of bets on a certain selection.

How to bet withpot mistakes

But, the team at the top of the table may have been hit by an injury crisis or are resting key players. The horse on a winning streak may have incurred a weight penalty or an increased handicap rating for those recent wins and may be carrying too much weight to perform as before. And the last point there could be due to a poor tipster, misinformed bettors, or just rich people with nothing better to do than throwing their money away.

Do not throw your money away. Back the favourite, by all means, but only do it if you have concluded it has the best chance of winning following your own research.

Not keeping a betting record

Again, this will not mean much to you if you are only betting occasionally. For those of you who want to improve your betting strategy and increase your chance of profit, you must keep a record of your bets.

This record should include:

• Betting selection
• Betting odds
• Stake size
• How the selection performed
• Outcome of the event
• Profit/loss made on that selection

By keeping this record you will be able to look back and find any betting patterns that have emerged which could show you winning/losing streaks, selections that have earned you a healthy profit or dealt you a big loss, and help you improve your chances in future by identifying winning opportunities.

The mistake made by new bettors is that they rarely remember the bets they place. They do not keep a record of previous wagers and therefore fail to identify future opportunities.

Chasing losses

This is a mistake made by bettors all over the world, whether they are brand new to the world of sports betting or if they have only just started out placing wagers.

When someone suffers a tough loss, through a last minute goal, disputed decision, or some other form of “bad luck”, they can sometimes attempt to recover the lost money by placing a bigger bet on a “dead certainty” a few moments later.

This is a form of emotional and impulse betting, which the person is making without a clear head and causes a situation that often escalates.

The person may have lost 100 on a favourite in a horse race which got beaten in a photo finish. That person feels that placing a 200 bet on a shorter priced favourite in the next race may recover that lost 100 and possibly add a small profit. If that bet loses, the person will place an even bigger bet because they are trying to recoup 300 now. Before they know it, they could be several hundreds or even thousands down and may risk personal possessions or their own welfare to try and claw back at least some of what they lost.

The way to avoid making this mistake is to walk away after a loss, no matter how hard it was to take. Remain focused and analytical, as well as sticking to your previously adopted bankroll management system.

Ignoring the importance of value bets

One of the more complex betting mistakes made by new and inexperienced bettors is that they ignore or do not understand value in betting.

It’s not difficult to see why though, as betting on value can sometimes mean betting against a selection your head tells you will win. But, identifying and betting on value bets can increase your potential of making a long term profit.

A value bet is basically where your research and analysis gives a selection a higher probability of winning than the implied probability given in the betting odds.

Every one of the odds given by a bookmaker reflects an implied probability of that selection winning. But, for example, you have worked out the selection has a 45% chance of winning where the odds have only given it a 40% chance. Here, there is a 5% swing in your favour and is classed as positive value.


5.0 rating
5 / 5
4.0 rating
4 / 5
4.0 rating
4 / 5
0.0 rating
0 / 5
0.0 rating
0 / 5

New bettors look at value as something completely alien to them and they will not adopt a value betting strategy when they do not understand it. But it gives the bettor an edge over the bookmaker and it increases the chance of long-term profit.

You can read more about this topic in our guide to value betting odds, where we give you tips on how to identify value in sports betting and how to make the most of it.

Not shopping around

Many new bettors sign up to a certain site or sites based on the promise of a welcome bonus, free bets or something similar. What they do not do is compare betting odds for selections they are sure will win.

This means that they may make a profit if the selection wins, although it will not be a profit as big as it could have been. Therefore, this is a mistake that costs the person making it a potential bigger win.

You should always make a note of selections you have made and look for the best price for each by checking several online betting sites. Obviously there are betting odds compare websites but actively looking through each site may give you the opportunity of finding price boosts as well as better odds in general.

How Does Understanding the Most Common Mistakes Help to Increase Profit?

Understanding the most common mistakes in sports betting will hopefully prevent you making them and will increase your chances of making a profit. It isn’t guaranteed, as nothing is in sports betting, but it increases the potential.

If you are making the above mistakes, you will likely be spending far too much money, betting on selections that have little or no chance of winning, placing wagers without the relevant knowledge, and looking for that one big win instead of several smaller wins.

These mistakes will cost you money, so avoid making them by paying attention to our guide and making a list of all the things you shouldn’t do when betting on sports.


  • Odds quality
  • Market coverage and selection of bets
  • Betting limits on that sport
  • Live streaming
  • Sport specific bonuses and promotions



  • Website quality and usability
  • How easy is to deposit and withdraw funds?
  • How good the customer service is
  • Can you trust this bookmaker?
Other Guide
What is Point Spread Betting

19 July 2019

What is Point Spread Betting – Guide for Beginners

In sports betting there are many betting terms which are not easy to understand for a person who has never bet before. It’s very complex ...

Read More
value odds betting

19 July 2019

Value Odds – Guide for Beginners

In sports betting there are many betting terms which are not easy to understand for a person who has never bet before. It’s very complex ...

Read More
How to research and analyse effectively

19 July 2019

Effective Research and Analysis – Guide for Beginners

In sports betting there are many betting terms which are not easy to understand for a person who has never bet before. It’s very complex ...

Read More