For many sports fans, being able to place a bet on their favourite sport adds an extra layer of excitement to the game. From cricket and boxing to football and horse racing in the UK, you can also use your knowledge of a favourite sport to potentially back the winner. But if you’re new to sports betting, where do you start? Here’s our essential guide on how to bet on your favourite sports.
Do your research
As a fan, you’ll naturally have an insider’s view of your favourite sport. And this means you probably know the big players or racers, their recent form and their potential – or not – to go all the way. If you’re new to sports betting, then using this knowledge to focus on just one sport will give you a head-start. Studying the form of the teams, racehorses or players is going to help you decide where to place your bet, so research past performances and wins, as well as any weaknesses or glitches, to give you a clearer picture of where and how to place your money.
Understand the odds
The odds given by a bookmaker to a racehorse or team indicates their theoretical chances of winning. The lower the odds – 3.1, say – then the greater the chance they have at winning, while the higher the odds, the more of an outsider they become.
The favourite or the outsider
In all horse races and sports matches, there’s always going to be the favourite as well as the underdog and this is where the fun sets in. You may decide to play it safe and go with the favourite and that could be a good strategy, as when it comes to horse racing, roughly a third of the favourites will romp first past the post. But using the knowledge you’ve gained from studying the form, as well as weighing up the odds, means you may identify a higher odds horse or underdog team that could prove an upset on the day. And should they win, then you are set to make a bigger return.
Choose your bet
If you are new to sports betting, start simple with one of the most popular bets – bet to win but depending on your chosen sport, there will be a range of bet types you can choose from. Once you have decided on the bet, how much you want to wager and where you want to place it, there are several ways to do so. You can phone a bookmaker directly or visit the bookmaker shop to place your bet in person. If you are at a horse race meet, you can even place your bet trackside. And one of the most convenient ways to place a bet is online, where you will often find the most competitive odds.
Know your limit
Our final ‘how to’ is to know your budget limit – and stick to it. ‘Never bet money you cannot afford to lose’ are wise words and it is also a good idea to keep tabs on your bet amounts as you go along and when you reach your set limit, stop. It is never a good idea to try to recoup your losses either, so always be prepared to step away. There is always another day to scoop that win.