GMT -11
GMT -10
GMT -9
GMT -8
GMT -7
GMT -6
GMT -5
GMT -4
GMT -3
GMT -2
GMT -1
GMT +1
GMT +2
GMT +3
GMT +4
GMT +5
GMT +6
GMT +7
GMT +8
GMT +9
GMT +10
GMT +11

How to win at sports betting? Strategy for success

Winning at sports betting requires more than just placing bets; it demands a thoughtful and strategic approach. It begins with understanding the sport you’re betting on, analyzing trends and statistics, and making informed decisions based on these insights. Successful sports bettors don’t rely on luck alone; they leverage their knowledge and apply proven strategies to maximize their chances of winning. Whether you’re betting on soccer, basketball, or any other sport, the key lies in meticulous preparation and disciplined execution of your betting strategy. In this guide, bestsoccertips will help you answer the question “How to win at sports betting?”. This can help you not only participate in sports betting but also excel and achieve consistent success.

How to win at sports betting?
How to win at sports betting?

What is a Sports Betting Strategy?

In simple terms, a sports betting strategy is a structured approach to gambling. By imposing order on how you navigate the betting markets and the amount of money you wager, you can mitigate the unpredictable nature of sporting events and minimize losses over time.

A sports betting strategy also helps you counteract the bookmaker’s edge to some extent. Remember, online betting sites typically apply a minimum 10% commission (or ‘vigorish’) to the odds they set, giving them a nominal advantage across all odds, point spreads, and over/under markets.

To provide some context, let’s say two bettors each wager $11 on opposing sides of an NBA match between the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics (with odds of 11/10). This creates a total risk of $22, while the winner will receive a return of $10 plus their original stake (totaling $21).

In this case, the bookmaker retains $1, and if you divide this profit by the $22 wagered and multiply the remaining value by 100, you can see that the bookmaker maintains a 4.55% edge. Therefore, it’s crucial to recognize this and develop a betting strategy to help counteract it.

Why Use a Betting Strategy?

As mentioned, an informed sports betting strategy will help bring order and logic to wagering on unpredictable events and matches. While the unpredictability of sports like football and rugby makes them popular with viewers, it also makes profitable betting incredibly challenging.

A strategic approach also encourages you to take greater control over various aspects of sports betting, such as your stake amounts, the types of bets you deploy, and the use of free bet incentives. For example, a betting strategy that encourages the use of spread betting can create value when betting on match outcomes. Instead of backing a strong favorite at limited odds, you can use point spread betting to access much longer prices.

Alternatively, you can combine multiple favorites in a multi-game parlay, allowing you to back each game at a single, enhanced price. When used successfully, such strategies can turn the odds in your favor and directly combat the bookmaker’s edge.

Professional sports bettors often use betting strategies like the ones we’ve mentioned to build bankrolls and earn millions of dollars. While you may not yet be at a professional level, betting strategies provide a different perspective on sports betting and can help you not only increase your winnings but also enhance your enjoyment!

Basic Sports Betting Strategies

Let’s start by addressing the ‘basic’ sports betting strategies, which are individual building blocks that allow you to control your bets and choices.

By grasping these, you can simultaneously minimize the risk of losses while accessing improved betting odds. You can also lay the groundwork for more advanced betting strategies, which we’ll touch on shortly.

Bankroll Management

You should always set aside a fixed amount of money for sports betting purposes. This should be an amount you can comfortably afford to lose, often referred to as your ‘bankroll’. Bankroll management involves organizing and deploying your sports betting budget, usually over a predefined period. This is fundamental as you learn to bet smart in sports, as it encourages disciplined thinking and planning for your betting activities in more detail.

How to consistently win at sports betting: Bankroll Management
How to consistently win at sports betting: Bankroll Management

This can be particularly useful when placing multiple bets within a timeframe or specific competition. For instance, suppose you want to wager $2000 for the entire NFL regular season and bet on about five games each week. You can calculate your betting amount as follows:

  1. Take your initial amount of $2000 and earmark or set this aside.
  2. Divide this amount by the number of NFL weeks ($2000 / 18). This sets your weekly sports betting budget at $111.11.
  3. Then divide this total by the number of games you wish to bet on ($111.11 / 5). This establishes a unit bet of $22.22 to be placed on each game.

In general, try to ensure that your individual bet amount never exceeds 5% of your bankroll. This helps you manage losses effectively and gives you some room to increase your bets when necessary!

Understanding Betting Odds

Understanding betting odds is also crucial for any successful sports betting strategy. This is because odds can be used to calculate your potential profit and the implied probability of a specific outcome occurring.

In the US, you often encounter what’s known as ‘American odds.’ These are one of the three main formats of betting odds you’ll encounter online, combining three-digit numbers with either a ‘minus’ or ‘plus’ sign. The initial sign denotes a favorite in the bet, while the accompanying number tells you exactly how much you need to bet to win $100.

Conversely, a plus sign indicates an underdog in the bet and tells you how much you’ll win for every $100 bet. For example, if you successfully back the Chicago Bulls to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA at pre-match odds of +325, a $100 bet unlocks a return of $325.

When using American odds to calculate implied probability, there are two separate equations to consider depending on whether you are backing the underdog or the favorite:

  • For positive odds: (100 / (odds + 100)) * 100
  • For negative odds: ((odds * -1) / ((odds * -1) + 100)) * 100

Using the example of betting on the Cavaliers versus the Bulls, we can see that the Bulls’ +325 odds imply a 23.52% chance of winning (100 / (300 + 100) * 100). Additionally, betting on the Cavaliers at -360 indicates they have a 78.26% chance of winning: ((-360 * -1) / ((-360 * -1) + 100)) * 100).

This knowledge can help you determine the truly valuable betting odds and hopefully place your bets more wisely!

Finding the Best Betting Lines

This may sound obvious, but it takes time and effort to compare markets and find the best betting odds before a specific sporting event. However, this underpins most successful sports betting strategies, as the best odds translate into optimal profits when you place successful bets!

Of course, you can also seek out enhanced or guaranteed odds promotions (if available) to further ensure that you are accessing competitive prices. Shopping for lines throughout the season can lead to increased profits and truly consistent gains in your account.

Early Betting Ensures Early Odds

Early betting can also unlock improved odds and higher potential profits. This is particularly true when dealing with futures markets, often open well before an event concludes and may include multiple potential winners. That’s why it’s important to always check your favorite offshore sportsbooks for early signs of futures betting markets.

For example, if you place a bet in February for the NBA Championship winner, you can choose from a range of major contenders. This translates into much longer odds, often shortening for favorites as the playoffs progress and the number of potential winners decreases.

While the prices of less favored teams can also ‘drift’ over time, creating more attractive odds, this reflects that such teams are less supported and less likely to win. So, if you intend to support favorite teams with the best odds possible (which is an effective global betting strategy), early betting in some cases is highly recommended!

Avoid Expansive Parlay Bets

While it’s acknowledged that parlay bets with information and strategy can create value in match betting, it’s also an inherent risk strategy. After all, each parlay pick or multi-game bet of yours must be successful for the bet to pay off, thus increasing the risk of loss along with your potential profit.

For example, if you plan to bet on the upcoming Premier League match week as a football fan, there are 10 match outcomes you could include in a multi-game parlay. However, successfully picking 10 winners in a single bet is extremely difficult and unlikely, requiring considerable time to research relevant data and team statistics.

How to win at online sports betting: Avoid Expansive Parlay Bets
How to win at online sports betting: Avoid Expansive Parlay Bets

Instead, it’s important to avoid expansive parlay bets when possible by limiting your picks to four to six, depending on the sport or event you choose. Similarly, prioritize stronger teams and lower-priced favorites when you can (such as Manchester City and Liverpool in the EPL), as this increases your chances of success while still allowing you to earn a profit.

Accepting Available Data

“Research the form” might sound like one of the most generic pieces of sports betting advice you can imagine, but accessing and studying data can be the key to a successful betting strategy. The key is identifying the most relevant datasets and statistics, depending on the sport you choose and the outcomes you intend to support.

For example, in the NFL, you can access weekly team rankings online that include a wealth of datasets. One of the most notable statistics is “Against the Spread (ATS) Record,” which indicates how teams perform against the point spread set by sportsbooks.

This is particularly useful when engaging in moneyline or point-spread betting. For instance, the Baltimore Ravens had an impressive ATS record of +7.6 points throughout the 2023 season, covering the spread 63.2% of the time. By tracking this data throughout the season, you can effectively assess team performance and make more informed betting choices.

Remember to identify key datasets for each sport or tournament and short snippets of information to help make decisions.

Advanced Sports Betting Strategies

If you consider yourself more experienced in sports betting, you may feel ready to apply more advanced strategies. These strategies can lead to higher profits and even guarantee nominal profits in some cases, although they are slightly more complex and challenging to execute in sports betting techniques.

Hedging Bets

We all use the term “risk mitigation” informally, in cases where we avoid making a decision because we cannot decide which decision is correct. However, this term takes on a slightly different meaning in sports betting because it relates to strategic decisions aimed at providing optimal insurance coverage for a specific match or event.

Specifically, to “hedge” a bet is to place a counter bet to minimize your net losses or secure a small (but guaranteed) profit. Perhaps the simplest example occurs if your first two picks win in a three-team parlay. To secure a profit, you would hedge the third leg of the parlay with a specific bet amount reflecting your desired profit.

Known as “matched betting,” another strategy allows you to hedge against risk. For instance, when betting on an NBA match between the Orlando Magic and New York Knicks, you can “bet” on Orlando to win while simultaneously hedging all potential match outcomes.

You can execute this on a designated betting exchange, ensuring profit by backing both outcomes with equal bet amounts and using one or more free bet offers.

Creating Your Own Betting Lines

If you’re truly making money from sports betting, you can also create your own betting lines at sportsbooks. One way to achieve this is by buying or selling points, based on your knowledge of the teams or detailed analysis of ATS (Against The Spread) figures and similar statistics.

When you “buy” points in sports betting, you can alter the effectiveness of the odds and access improved betting lines. This certainly comes at a higher stake, but it can also increase your chances of winning and earning profits.

How to win at sports betting book: Creating Your Own Betting Lines
How to win at sports betting book: Creating Your Own Betting Lines

For example, if you support the San Francisco 49ers to win in the NFL with a spread of -7.5, you can buy a point and shift the betting line to -6.5. If you back the 49ers against a weaker team like the Arizona Cardinals, you can also sell points to create higher betting lines and significantly increase profits.

Understanding Hooks in Point Spread Betting

A half-point or “hook” may seem like a small detail in sports betting, but it’s actually a powerful tool in a bettor’s arsenal. Half-points are used in point spread betting to eliminate the potential for a tie result, theoretically increasing your chances of a successful bet.

Using the previous example of supporting the 49ers to beat the Cardinals with a spread of -7.5, the team would need to win by eight points to ensure a payout. When supporting the Cardinals with a spread of +7.5, they would only need to lose by seven points or less to cover the spread.

You can also buy a hook in the spread, once again altering a betting line to receive slightly higher odds. Thus, theoretically, you could support the 49ers at -7 points, potentially creating a more favorable spread in the process.

Contrarian Betting Strategy

The contrarian betting strategy is exactly as its name suggests. Specifically, it involves betting against the public or general sentiment, based on the belief that average bettors are not fully informed and biased towards certain outcomes or markets.

It may also involve betting against emotional attachments to favorite teams, which can skew odds in favor of heavily supported teams at lower odds (especially in popular sports). Therefore, in some cases, going against the trend and betting on alternative, higher-priced outcomes can be valuable.

The focus of this sports betting strategy is analyzing “money flow.” This describes the amount of money that the public has placed on a specific outcome, directly impacting the odds and how they fluctuate over time.

So, if your analysis indicates a result going against the money flow, you can bet with higher odds and potentially open up significantly better profit opportunities.

Early Cash Out

Most sportsbooks allow you to cash out before bets are settled, although the terms and conditions can vary significantly by operator. For instance, some offer early cash out, which can help minimize losses if your bet isn’t going as planned.

Clearly, timing is key when it comes to early cash out, especially in fast-paced, high-scoring sports like basketball. This helps you better manage your active bets and compete more effectively in the unpredictable nature of sports! Conversely, this is why live betting has become increasingly popular among bettors.

For example, suppose you backed the Boston Celtics to beat the LA Lakers with a spread of -4.5 points (at pre-game odds of -110). If you placed a $100 bet, you’d stand to win $90.91 if the Celtics cover the spread. But you quickly realize that Joe Mazzulla’s team is leading by 10 points early in the fourth quarter.

Suddenly, the Celtics’ prospects of winning have diminished, and their chances of winning by five points or more are slim. At this point, your sportsbook may offer an early cash out option allowing you to reclaim a percentage of your bet—likely less than your potential payout if they win, but much better than losing the entire $100.

However, when using certain bonuses and promotions offered by sportsbooks, you may not be eligible for early cash out. Be sure to carefully read the terms and conditions before placing your bet!

Becoming an Expert

Professional sports bettors are simply individuals with deep knowledge of specific sports, teams, and players. They leverage this knowledge to identify and create value in published betting odds, while many such bettors continually refine their skills over time.

So, if you’re a passionate NFL or NBA fan with extensive knowledge of these leagues, you have all the tools needed to become an informed and strategic bettor. The key is to start gradually and increase your efforts alongside success and experience, while identifying the best resources to guide you on your journey.

How to win at sports betting guaranteed: Becoming an Expert
How to win at sports betting guaranteed: Becoming an Expert

For example, at ReadWrite, we provide unbiased information and in-depth insights into various sports. We also publish informational articles to help you grasp the intricacies of sports betting and strategies like bankroll management.

If you’re just starting out, we recommend checking out our comprehensive sports betting glossary to understand some of the most widely used terms.


To truly understand how to win at sports betting, it’s essential to blend knowledge, strategy, and discipline. Winning isn’t about luck; it’s about making informed decisions based on thorough research, analyzing data, managing your bankroll effectively, and continuously learning from both successes and failures. By staying updated with the latest sports news, leveraging various betting markets, and avoiding emotional bets, you can develop a sustainable approach that maximizes your chances of long-term success in sports betting.

See more: How to get into sports betting for beginners