avatar Written by Graeme on Thursday, October 17th, 2013

We interact with a lot of the visitors to BetNHL.ca and one thing I’ve noticed is that we have a lot of people who are new to sports betting that are finding our site.

I aim to write a series of articles dedicated to helping people get the most out of sports betting.

Briefly – I bet sports for a living for years. I paid for my wedding with a combination of poker and sports betting, I paid off my mortgage with those, and I lived purely off poker and sports betting for a couple of years. I’ve learned a lot over that time.

Now I have many other additional sources of income, but sports betting is still a big one and I wanted to share some experiences for people new to betting.

1: You Will Lose. Get Used To It.

You will not win every bet. It’s not going to happen. You’re going to lose, and you’re going to lose a lot. The best example for losing is actually not in NHL, but in NBA/NFL. Their point spreads usually result in -110 odds, which are as close to evens as you can get from a bookie.

You know what a winning sports betters ideal win ratio is when betting -110 odds? About 55-60%. Many winners will scrape by with a lesser win ratio, and if you’re floating around the 60% mark it’s generally accepted that you’re missing out on some +EV betting opportunities.

Think about that for a second. That means winning sports betters betting those odds are losing 40-45% of the time! So for every 10 bets you make, you’ll lose 4-5 of them. Even when you’re betting at lower odds such as -150 or 1.65 odds you’ll still be losing bets.

Losing is part of the game. Don’t be fooled by any tips sites that promise big wins etc. Many of them outright lie, while others will try and mislead you. All in the attempt to get you to sign up and pay for their tips.

And get used to losing – it will happen a lot.

2: Bankroll Management is Priority.

Bankroll management is the #1 priority when it comes to betting sports. You can’t just bet random amounts on a whim – you should have a set bankroll amount and betting limit which increases or decreases depending on your bankroll amount.

When you start out, you need to have a conservative bankroll strategy – and one that is very simple to keep track of. Let’s say you want to start out with $500. So $500 is your bankroll amount. You will then wager a fraction of that bankroll on each bet.

You can either do:

(1) unit bets.
(2) percentage bets.

Unit bets would be setting an amount based on the bankroll. You could set a unit as $5. So on each game, you would bet 1 unit. If your bankroll gets up to $600 then your bet changes to $6. If your bankroll lowers to $400 then you switch to $4.

Percentage bets is a percentage of your bankroll. Have $500? Bet $5. Then your balance is $495 so you’d bet $4.95. Always betting a percentage of your bankroll.

The amounts given are at the most conservative. You may wish to bet $10 units for a $500 bankroll, or 5%-10% of your bankroll rather than 1%. But it’s a case of having a system and sticking to it.

I’ll talk more about this, multiple betting units and the Kelly Criterion in a future article.

3: Sign Up At Bet365

One thing professional sports betters do is jump from sportsbook to sportsbook, taking advantage of line shopping AND bonuses.

In the beginning, I’d recommend against that.

Instead, take it slow and start at one sportsbook. I recommend Bet365 because they are without a doubt the best sportsbook out there. They cover every sport, they cover so many things within a sport(each NHL game has at LEAST 19 different betting options), their sportsbook is easy to use, they offer great mobile sports betting and are a fantastic place to get started.

They offer a 100% to $100 bonus for mobile betting, and a 100% to $200 bonus for new sports betters. Plus they usually offer loyalty bonuses at least once a month.

So when getting started, sign up at Bet365. Eventually you’ll get into line shopping and clearing bonuses but to start out you don’t want to over-complicate things.

(Americans: Best option for you is Carbon Sports due to them having similar betting offerings).

4: Track Your Bets.

Too many people bet on a whim, or have no idea what their balance actually is or how much they are winning/losing. Honestly I have quite a few friends who will tell me they “break even” or “mostly win” when it comes to betting sports, when I know that isn’t the case. It’s not that they’re intentionally telling lies; it’s that they are just completely unaware of how they are doing and only remember the wins rather than the losses.

Have a nice spreadsheet going that lists your bets and keep your balance updated with it. I’ll create a spreadsheet in the future that you can use for that. What I like to do is have a “Reasons” column as to why I chose the bet. It’s something you can look over afterwards and learn from.

5: Leave Emotion Out Of It.

The biggest one is not to get emotional. Believe me anyone who has bet sports has been there – you’ve felt very confident about a game, bet more than you should, and saw it blow up in your face. Or you’ve bet on a team to win, and within 2 minutes their star forward is injured. Or you’ve bet the under 5.5 on a game, and in the last 1 minute 2 empty netters or fluke goals have blown away your sure win.

One of the biggest factors for professional sports betters is to leave emotion out of it. Otherwise when you get a bad loss, you will be jumping on the sportsbook immediately and placing random bets completely on “tilt”. Trust me – I’ve been there. I remember one particular soccer game where I had $3,000 on Over 2.5 goals. Within 10 minutes there was 2 goals and I was already counting the money. Then…..nothing. Then in the 90th minute there was a penalty…..and the player missed it.

I ended up taking practically my whole sportsbook balance that night and randomly betting it all on a WNBA Game, back when I had no idea about the WNBA. I was such a mess over that frustrating loss that I had 5 figures bet on some team I had never heard of.

That’s why bankroll management is so important. It will hopefully restrict you and when the frustrating losses DO happen, you will be able to handle it and stick within your limits and betting system.


These are just a few basic tips for new sports betters. I plan on a series of articles on this topic, and if you have any questions leave them in the comments below or on Facebook, and I’ll address them in a follow-up article. I’ll be covering quite a few topics including betting sports for a living, as well as how to make money from bonuses and a ton of other information.

Now head on over to Bet365 and start your sports betting career the right way.

Best America Sportsbooks for NHL
Good deposit bonus, lot of unique bets & props. Excellent mobile & live betting.
Have the best odds the majority of the time
100% to $250 Deposit Bonus, sometimes have really good lines

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