While for many sports betting – especially online sports betting – is little more than an occasional hobby to pass the time and possibly turn a few bucks into a few more, there are others who have realized that there are ways to consistently make money betting on sports. Unlike other types of gambling though while luck is certainly involved to a certain extent successful sports gambling calls for skill and knowledge as well as a good measure of ‘betting smarts’. 

If you want to become one of those people who actually make money betting on sports there is a lot to learn. To get you started though here are ten of the biggest keys to sports betting success 

1. Open a Dedicated Sports Betting Bank Account

If you really want to make money on online sports betting you need to be on top of your finances at all times. That’s why the most successful sports bettors don’t fund their bets – or transfer their winnings – from their standard bank account, they maintain a separate account that is solely for use when betting on sports. It makes keeping track of your progress far easier and you will be far less likely to be tempted to dip into the rent money to fund a bet on a particularly ‘hot tip’.

The reason for opening a bank account, versus funding from a credit card or PayPal is a matter of convenience and common sense. While there are many ways that an online sports betting account can be funded withdrawals can usually only be made to a traditional bank. And what’s the point in winning if you can’t access your funds? 

2. Create Accounts With Several Sportsbooks

There are a lot of options out there when it comes to online sports betting and a growing number of online sportsbooks to choose from. While you shouldn’t make an account with all of them (which would be hard anyway) you should maintain accounts at least three. By doing so you can compare offerings, and odds, to help you make smarter, possibly more lucrative bets. 

3. Learn Some Smart Sports Betting Basics

There is a lot of advice out there about how to bet smarter online and often the opinions of experts can vary quite a bit. However, there are some basics they all agree on that you should take the time to learn in order to make better sports bets. These include: 

Set a bankroll amount every time you bet and never exceed it, even if you are ahead

Never make a bet that exceeds 4% of your current bankroll

Try to keep your bets at 1-2% of your total bankroll at any given time

Don’t make emotion-based bets. Bet based on form, not because your favorite player is playing or your favorite horse is running. Emotion clouds the judgment, so if making money is your goal stick to the cold, hard facts. 

4. Create a Betting Schedule

No successful online sports bettor bets on every race, or on every game and they rarely bet every day either. Instead, they create a betting schedule and stick to it. Doing so is relatively easy in the online sports betting world as all sportsbooks display their offerings well in advance so that you can plan ahead. Try making your schedule in the simplest way possible, a good Excel sheet is often all you need. 

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away

Planning out bets using a schedule is a good basic idea, but odds change, injuries occur, weather changes can impact things too. If what seemed like a great bet a few days ago is now not looking so good don’t be afraid to change your plans and walk away, even if it’s right before the race or game. Just can’t let go? Cut your bet in half, so at least the risk to your overall bankroll won’t be quite so great. 

6. Don’t Chase Bad Bets

Chasing bad bets is the practice of trying to recoup your losses from a previous bet gone bad by making more, and often bigger bets. It’s a bad idea to do this because after a loss most people are understandably annoyed and upset. So their judgment is often clouded – remember what we said about emotional betting – and more often than not – one bad bet follows another in this scenario and you can end up losing a lot more than you would have even you’d taken the original loss in stride and walked away to come back again another day. 

7. Don’t Bet and Drink

That sounds a bit silly, but it’s true. Have you ever been to a real-life casino? Most of them offer complimentary – or seriously discounted – alcoholic beverages and they don’t do so because they are feeling generous. Alcohol clouds people’s judgment and makes them far more reckless than usual. And while that’s great for the casino- or the sportsbook – it’s very bad for you and your bankroll. So while it’s easy if you are online sports betting to keep a cold six-pack at your side, don’t. Place your bets with a clear head and common sense and you are far more likely to succeed. 

8. Learn the Lingo

Money lines, point spreads, handicaps, parlays – these sports betting terms might mean very little to the brand new sports bettor. But it is very important that you learn what they mean and when they apply. The good news is that most good online sportsbooks offer a wealth of educational resources, so make sure you take the time to read them – or watch, as some offer instructional videos – before you ever part with a dime. 

9. Shop Around

Remember when we advised opening at least three different sportsbook accounts? One of the biggest reasons for that is so you can shop around, looking for the best odds on any given race or match. Don’t do so minutes from race time or kick off though. If you have done the right thing – and created a betting schedule – you should be able to start surfing between your sportsbooks an hour or two before the start of the event and still be able to find the best odds/bonuses without feeling rushed. 

10. Remember to Have Fun

Yes, it takes discipline and concentration to win at online sports betting on a regular basis, but it should still be fun. That means that if occasionally – but only occasionally – you want to make a small bet on a crazy hunch, one that seems to defy all the lines and odds, and you can afford to lose the cash, go for it. Chances are you may walk away a loser, but the chance is also there that your crazy hunch might just be right. And what could be more fun than that?