Sports Betting 101: A Beginners Guide to Winning and Losing

Published on: 26 January 2023

Sports betting comes with the risk of losing stake. Some losses hurt more than others depending on the amount of money bet and how the result happened. Betting in the right place online at a secure platform that offers competitive odds is a great place to start. For expert analysis and ratings of bookmakers, visit a relevant analytical site that is available in a variety of countries, including the UK, Germany and Poland. Then as a beginner to sports betting, kick off with some basics:

· Manage Bankroll - Track your money by setting a betting budget per week or month.

· Understand Markets - Whatever sport or competition, ensure that you have a working knowledge of it.

· Keep It Simple - Don’t worry about accumulators, multis and system bets to start with.

· Know what’s at stake! 2/1 (3.00 decimal) is 2 units of profit for every 1 staked. 1/2 (1.50 decimal) is 1 unit of profit for every 2 staked.

A Bigger Picture

Be realistic about sports betting - there will be ups and downs! There will be times when a last-minute goal wins you a big bet, or when one ruins your wager.

You can’t objectively assess your betting from one wager, so think long-term. Write down the odds, stakes and results of every bet. Stay consistent with the amount of stake played, the type of bet and at what odds.

An example would be one £2 bet every round of the Premier League season, totaling 38 wagers. Each bet is on Under 2.5 Goals when the Home team is in the bottom half of the table.

Then study the results. Was the winning percentage high enough at value odds? Read the profit/loss data and learn where future bets could potentially be tweaked.

Not All About Winning

It may be counter-intuitive, but just because a bet doesn’t win doesn’t necessarily make it a bad bet. Simply beating the market is a good mindset.

Maybe you studied racing form and backed a 6/1 runner tackling a new, longer distance. The horse then started at a 4/1 Starting Price. The market action indicates that you made a good bet.

If you are consistently picking selections that start at a shorter Starting Price than your original odds, you are making good bets. On the flip side, if you back a favourite at 1/2 but they then drift out to win at 1/1, how great is that winning bet as you didn’t beat the market and get the best value?


The above examples are just to highlight how subjective sports betting is. You could only back odds-on favourites for the long slow burn of small rewards. But then a couple of losses can eat the small profits you have gained.

Only backing longer-odds picks brings inherently more risk of rarer victories, but for bigger wins when they come. Punters have different approaches. Balance is the key to finding yours.