7 Mistakes Sports Bettors Make

Making mistakes is inevitable. However, if you want to be successful in sports betting, you have to minimize your mistakes. These are the 7 most common mistakes sports bettors make when throwing down a wager.
7 Massive Mistakes Sports Bettors Make

Sports betting can be an exciting way to engage with your favorite sports, but it’s also easy to make costly mistakes if you’re not careful. We’ve seen this happen all too often to new sports bettors. Fortunately, if you know what you’re looking for before you get in too deep, you can prevent being embattled with these mistakes.

Whether you’re new to the game or have been betting for years, avoiding these common pitfalls can help you stay ahead and protect your bankroll. After all, keeping that bankroll healthy is what we’re all trying to achieve.

So, with that, here are the seven most common sports betting mistakes.

Betting on Too Many Games

One of the biggest mistakes sports bettors make is spreading their bankroll too thin by betting on too many games. It’s tempting to have a stake in every match, but this approach often leads to poorly researched bets and, ultimately, losses.

We get it. You want in on the action, but that’s how sportsbooks get you. They take advantage of you wanting to bet on sports even if you’re not too familiar with them.

Take, for example, a bettor who places wagers on 10 NFL games every Sunday. With limited time to research each game thoroughly, the quality of their picks diminishes. It would take hours upon hours to thoroughly research each of these games, and most bettors don’t have the dedication to do that much. 

That is perfectly fine.

Instead, focusing on fewer, well-researched bets increases the chances of making informed decisions. Quality over quantity should be the mantra you’re going for when filling up the bet slip. If you have $1,000 to bet, placing $100 on ten games isn’t as effective as placing $250 on four games you have thoroughly analyzed.

Emotional Betting

We hate to see this, but it’s just about as common as betting on too many games. Letting emotions drive your betting decisions is a recipe for disaster. Betting on your favorite team or a sentimental favorite without considering the data often leads to biased and irrational bets.

For this reason, we always recommend staying away from your own teams. Sure, you might know their stats and abilities inside and out, but it’s easy to get tied up with emotions.

Think of it like this. I love the Green Bay Packers, and I want to see them make it to the playoffs and ultimately hoist another Lombardi Trophy. They’re looking great this year, but I won’t bet on them. Of course, I could do a thorough analysis for each week, but there’s the chance that emotions could possibly take over. I eliminate that by simply refusing to bet on the Packers.

Betting Under the Influence

Ever been to the massive sportsbook in the Circa Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas? It’s a sight to see. Waitresses will deliver drinks to you as you enjoy the games and place your bets. However, those drinks work in the favor of the house.

Making bets while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or even fatigue can severely impair your judgment and decision-making abilities. It’s essential to bet with a clear mind to make rational decisions.

Imagine someone hanging out at Circa, having a few drinks while watching the games. Fueled by alcohol and excitement, they place several impulsive bets. These bets are often based on emotions and the heat of the moment rather than careful analysis. Always ensure you are in the right state of mind before placing any bets to avoid making costly mistakes.

Viewing Betting as a Source of Income

This is a little debatable, but for most, sports betting is not an income. It’s a hobby.

Many novice bettors make the mistake of viewing sports betting as a way to make a living. While there are professional bettors who do this, it requires a massive amount of expertise, discipline, and a substantial bankroll. For most people, betting should be seen as entertainment, not a primary income source.

Never, ever, under any circumstances, bet with money you can’t afford to lose. This number will be different for everyone, but go into the game expecting to lose it. Whether you can afford $100 for your initial bankroll or $1000, make sure it doesn’t affect your livelihood.

Absurd Parlays

We can’t stress this enough. These are bets the house wants you to make.

Parlay bets, which involve combining multiple bets into one, can offer high payouts but come with very low odds of winning. Making absurdly large parlay bets is essentially donating money to the sportsbook.

The thing with parlays is they look like excellent bets because the payout is so high. After all, you’re already betting on the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers to win their respective games, so why not place a parlay?

With the parlay, both teams have to win for you to win anything. If you treat each bet individually, if only one team wins, you still win something. The odds are much greater that you can walk away with some cash in your pocket.

Missing Decimal Places

In the online sports betting industry, small errors can lead to big losses. One such mistake is misplacing or missing decimal places when placing bets, especially on things like cryptocurrency odds.

Believe it or not, this happens more often than you’d imagine.

For example, a bettor intending to place a $10 bet accidentally enters $1000 due to a misplaced decimal. This can quickly deplete their bankroll to nothing and lead to significant financial loss. Of course, you could always win and walk away with a big windfall, but that’s not something you want to risk.

Always double-check your bet amounts before confirming to ensure you don’t wager more than intended. There’s a reason every online sportsbook we place bets at asksare you sure you want to place the bet?”  That’s because there’s no going back once the bet is placed.

Rage Betting

Yup, this is a thing as well.

After experiencing a bad beat, some bettors impulsively place bets out of frustration, a practice known as rage betting. This emotional response often leads to irrational bets on random, obscure events.

It’s similar to emotional betting but a bit more aggressive and tied to past negative outcomes.

Imagine a bettor who loses a big bet on a last-second play. In anger, they immediately place a large bet on a late-night obscure soccer match they know nothing about. They haven’t conducted any research and barely know the rules of soccer, yet here they are, placing a bet. They want to win their money back and will stop at nothing to do so.

This knee-jerk reaction typically results in further losses. Taking a break after a bad beat to cool off and regain composure is crucial to avoid making irrational bets driven by emotion.

Do You Make Any of These Mistakes?

Sports betting requires a mix of knowledge, discipline, and a clear mind to be successful, so staying informed is a must.

By avoiding these common mistakes — betting on too many games, emotional betting, betting under the influence, viewing betting as a source of income, making absurd parlays, missing decimal places, and rage betting — you can protect your bankroll and improve your chances of success at whichever sportsbook you play at.

Enjoy the game, live for the hunt of dominant teams, and bet smarter.

Matt Brown


Head of Sports Betting and DFS

Matt’s love for sports betting and daily fantasy sports, coupled with a deep understanding of football, hockey, and baseball, shapes his innovative thoughts on Hello Rookie. He has a B.S. in Aeronautical Computer Science and a M.S. in Project Management.