Many people don’t know where to start when they’re betting on sports for the first time.

Whether it’s your favourite horse race, like the Grand National, or a football game, this article will give you six beginner-level tips for betting that will help you make better decisions.

Getting lost in the jargon and strategies is easy if you’re just starting out. So to keep things as simple as possible, we’re offering practical tips to help you confidently navigate the betting landscape.

This will help you avoid over-the-top promises and focus on enjoying the betting experience.

1. Betting On The Favourite

If you’re new to betting, the first tip is to figure out what type of bet you want to make. Do you want to bet on a favourite or an underdog?

For example, if your team has a 90% chance of winning and playing against another team with a 10% chance of winning, it’s most likely in your best interest to place your money on the favourite.

However, depending on the sport, picking the favourite isn’t easy.

In a horse race with a lot of runners you have to remember that the betting odds reflect how much money has been placed on a horse and do not always reflect the probability of the horse actually winning.

In horse racing, the favourites win about 59% of the time when running in flat races. The figure is broadly the same for football games in top leagues.

So for a race like the Grand National, which will have 34 runners in 2024, the odds will change because of how much money is being wagered.

That’s also why so few favourites actually win it!

2. Overconfidence

The second of our tips for betting is that bettors tend to bet too much after a win.

Overconfidence is a big problem; it can lead to making mistakes, such as increasing the size of wagers after recent success.

A bettor who doesn’t keep track of the amount they have won or lost will be especially vulnerable to overconfidence.

It’s human nature to remember the wins and quickly forget the losses. But you should keep track of all your bets so you know where your money is going.

A good tip is to deposit a specific amount into your online betting account and only spend that amount.

Divide your money up into a range of smaller bets, and if you win, you can either withdraw the money or keep it in the account for your next bet.

Just because you win one bet doesn’t mean you’ll win them all. If that were the case the bookies would be broke!

3. The Gambler’s Fallacy

The gambler’s fallacy occurs when a person believes that a random event is less likely or more likely to happen based on the outcome of a previous event.

A person who believes in a gambler’s fallacy may assume that because they won the last three horse races, they are due to lose.

In reality, each race is a stand-alone event, and your pick has the same chance of winning regardless of any previous outcomes.

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This type of thinking is typically attributed to people overestimating small samples and not understanding statistical probability distributions.

Furthermore, bettors can also have distorted or exaggerated memories, making these types of fallacies more common among them than other groups.

4. Not Understanding Odds

The higher the odds, the more money you could win for a successful bet.

Conversely, low odds mean less money is returned and understanding odds is the first step to understanding betting.

If you are not sure what they mean, it’s best to ask or look up information about them online before making a bet.

Don’t bet on an event just because the odds are big. There are a few exceptions, but generally, big odds mean significant risk.

That is especially true with two-team or two-player sports such as tennis or football.

The upsets are not that common, and while it might seem good to root for the underdog, it doesn’t pay in the long term in terms of a betting strategy.

If you want to back a long-odds horse, pick a race where the bookmaker is paying out extra places.

So even if your long shot doesn’t win, you might get some money back if they place 4th or 5th.

5. Don’t Overestimate Your Own Judgement

It’s a common mistake for beginners to overestimate their judgement. They often think they know what will happen next when, in reality, no one can predict the future.

The internet is full of sports statistics; use this data to make smarter bets and don’t make decisions based on personal feelings or hunches.

You must do your research about a team or horse before betting. Stats can give surprising insights, which could prove profitable to those willing to assess the data.

That said, the Grand National is a difficult race that throws up winners that a lot of pundits didn’t see coming.

It’s as easy to pick a winner because you like it as it is to pick one because, statistically, it has the best chance.

6. Never Gamble When Bored

The last of tips for betting is that gambling when you’re feeling bored is a huge mistake. You will make poor decisions, leading to you losing more than you should.

Instead of gambling when bored, do one of the following activities!

  • Go for a walk
  • Read a book
  • Go see a movie with friends
  • Take up an old hobby again (arts & crafts)
  • Cook a nice meal
  • Phone a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while

It might sound trite, but any of the above options are better than betting when you’re bored.

Betting when you’re bored is a bad decision because it can lead to impulsive and poorly thought-out bets that are not based on research and reasoning. This can increase the likelihood of losses.

It can also easily become a habit, leading to problematic gambling behaviours.

And if that wasn’t enough, it can make you more susceptible to the highs of winning and the lows of losing, exacerbating your emotional responses to the betting outcomes.

Basically, it’s just not a good idea!

Conclusion To Tips For Betting

While they might sound simple—and that is because they are—these six tips for betting are important if you’re a beginner.

Though they sound very practical and are based on common sense, it’s easy to get carried away.

Don’t underestimate how illogical your choices can be if you make them with your heart instead of your head.

And remember that if it were easy to make money from betting, we’d all be doing it.

So take it for what it is—a bit of fun. Don’t gamble more than you can afford to lose, don’t chase your losses, and don’t think that you can win every time.