Best Sports Betting Strategies & Guide

With a mix of basic and advanced sports betting strategies, you'll gain a new perspective on sports betting.

Jon Young
Jon Young

Last Updated: 2024-07-19

A. Tzamantanis

6 minutes read

With some simple sports betting strategy, you can hit the best sports betting sites and come out the other side with a better chance of making profits. Learn to use systems, evaluate the odds yourself, and read the form to make better sports bets every time. Free betting rules can help you understand the specifics of different wagers.

The Importance of Sports Betting Strategy

Sports betting strategy helps you make sensible predictions without resorting to pure guesswork. Sports is never an exact science, and luck can play a huge part in the final score or total points markets. 

However, with the best sports betting strategies, you can make more informed wagers and reduce the bookies’ edge at the same time. Expert betting tips can further improve your decision-making process by providing valuable insights and analysis from seasoned sports betting professionals.

Essential Betting Strategies for Sports 

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Source: 888sport

Here is some basic sports betting strategy if you’re just getting started at online sportsbooks.

Basic Bankroll Management

Never over-reach with the size of your wagers. Start with a static bankroll (say, $200) and set limits on individual stakes. 

For example, you might set bets at 1 unit, or 1% of your roll. In this example, each wager would be priced at $2. You can increase your bet sizes on strong favorites (up to, say, 5 units) or decrease them if backing an underdog (e.g. to 0.5 units). 

Understanding Odds

You must understand how bookmakers calculate odds and display them on their sportsbooks. 

The odds indicate the return for 1 unit stake. So, a price of 5/1 would return $5 for a $1 stake (plus your original $1 stake back). The key skill is calculating whether you think the price is value. Are the real odds of the team winning 1 in 3, or 3/1? If so, the 5/1 price indicates some value. 

Line Shopping

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Source: 888sport

It’s important to compare odds on multiple bookmakers. Prices can vary dramatically across different bookmakers for the same game. It might not make a difference for one game or match, but the money you save adds up over time. 

You can also now use AI services like WinnerOdds that find inefficiencies in 1000s of bookmaker odds. AI also studies games and calculates its own probabilities before sports betting sites have published their prices.

Using the Cash Out/Partial Cash Out

The Cash Out function is a regular feature at many online sportsbooks. It gives you the option to settle some or all of your wager before the end of the game. 

Here’s an example: 

You bet $10 on Argentina to win at 2/1 vs Paraguay. You stand to win $20 but at 1-0 up Paraguay are getting a lot of possession and are threatening the Argentina goal. Rather than risk losing your $10 bet, you accept the sportsbook’s Cash Out offer of $15 to settle the bet then and there. 
Alternatively, Partial Cash Out is a good way to secure some profit while letting the rest of the bet continue as normal. It’s not available at all online sportsbooks so you’ll need to shop around. 

Avoiding Parlay Bets

A parlay is a bet containing multiple wagers, each of which must win for the entire bet to win. The problem with parlays is that you increase the house edge for every individual wager your parlay contains. 

You can negate this somewhat by using a parlay boost. This is an enhancement (usually up to 40-75%) offered by the bookmaker on winning parlays. Plus, some betting sites offer parlay insurance that guarantees a refund if part of your parlay loses. 

Advanced Sports Betting Strategies 

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Source: 888sport

Reading to go advanced with the best strategy for sports betting? Here are some expert tips to enhance your bankroll.

Data Analysis

Sportsbooks offer full stats pages for every sport displaying head-to-head stats and previous form. Choose a sport you’re interested in and use the relevant data to make your bets. Don’t spread yourself too thinly, either: choose 2-3 bets a day and plan your bankroll accordingly.

Fading the Public

Many online bookmakers now display ‘hot bets’ showing where other customers are betting their money. The thing to remember is that most other gamblers, especially casual bettors, have no idea what they’re doing. They will go with gut instinct or bet on their favorite teams, or simply lump on the odds-on favorite. 

Bookmakers adjust their odds based on many factors, none more so than the sheer weight of money wagers on one outcome. It might not even be the most likely outcome out there, but bookies hate leaving themselves exposed. 

The weight of bets on one player or team will mean the other team’s odds get bigger. This is where you can find value in betting the other way.

Hedging Bets/Arbing

Hedging is a top sports betting strategy if you want to cover all outcomes. It’s also a great play if you’ve backed a team in the futures markets. 

Here’s an example:

You bet on France to win the World Cup at 10/1, months before they have qualified for the tournament. France made it to the World Cup final and are 2/5 to win the trophy against Argentina. You can now confidently hedge your bet by backing the other team at 11/8 and securing a profit whatever the result. 

Important Considerations 

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Source: 888sport

Here are one or two things to consider when using sports betting strategy:

Focus on Value

All bookmakers use implied probability to calculate their prices. You can use some basic sports betting strategy to work out your own odds. 
For example, in the night’s football match, we calculate the following probabilities: 

Manchester City 71% (2/5)
Brentford: 20% (4/1)
Draw: 9% (10/1)

Effectively, we think Man City will win 71% of the time. However, Brentford have striker Ivan Toney back from injury and the bookmaker makes Brentford 30% chances with odds of 9/4. That’s slightly higher than our assessment of 4/1 and represents some value.

Manage Your Emotions

Our final sports betting strategy is to always remain disciplined. Mange your emotions and take a step back if things don’t go your way. Don’t forget to use time-outs and session limits if needed, and never bet on markets that you don’t understand and just happen to be available when you log on.

Final Thoughts

Good sports betting strategy is as much about managing your budget as it is making the right bets. Choose a sport you really understand, plan your stakes in advance, and do your own research.