5 Common Mistakes By New Sports Bettors & How To Avoid Them

Written By Dan Holmes on February 28, 2023
Common mistakes by new sports bettors & how to avoid them in Massachusetts, from playma.com

Now that you can legally bet on the Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox, and more in Massachusetts, you’ll want to be a smart bettor.

Or what we call “sharp.”

Even if you only plan to wager occasionally (and especially if you plan to bet that way), you’ll want to avoid these five common mistakes of the new sports bettor.

So, if there’s anyone interested in betting on sports in Massachusetts, study this page.

Mistake #1: Failing to set a budget

Failure to plan is like planning to fail. You’ve probably heard that axiom. How true it is — which is why you must have a plan for your sports betting activity.

No matter which sportsbook or sportsbooks you settle on — FanDuel, Caesars Sportsbook, BetMGM or some other combination — you’ll want to establish a budget for your play.

Decide on a budget you can afford to lose and not jeopardize your financial security.

If it’s $200 a month, settle on that. Stay within it, no matter what. 

A smart way to enhance your budget is to shop for promotional offers and bonus bets or second chance bets. (These used to be called risk-free bets.) In that way, you get betting credits from the sportsbook to fuel your sports betting activity for a period of time. New bettors are wise to leverage the sports betting promo offers to “learn” and educate themselves on how to best place wagers in Massachusetts.

READ MORE: Best Massachusetts Sportsbook Welcome Promos

Mistake #2: Not shopping for odds

Most people have oodles of apps on their mobile phone. You have social media apps, productivity apps, an app to order your favorite sandwich. Even an app to find your next true love. 

So who needs more apps? Well, if you want to get the best results from sports betting in Massachusetts, you’d be well served to seek multiple sportsbook apps.

By consulting different apps, you’ll be able to take advantage of a number on a game that helps your betting strategy. The difference between Massachusetts betting odds of -115 and -110 and +115 and +118 may seem marginal, but that’s real money.

Don’t simply use one sportsbook app, check a few (a good rule of thumb is three). Especially for the games you wish to place a larger stake on.

This mistake is the cousin of another mistake: Betting with your heart. When you bet with your heart, you’re really wagering on the teams and the passion or opinions you have on that contest.

But a smarter sports bettor wagers on the numbers (or the odds). 

Mistake #3: Tilting and chasing

Did you just lose a bet? Maybe you lost two. Or did you lose three in a row? Ouch. That sucks. But, don’t make the mistake of chasing a win by betting even more to make up for your recent losses.

“Tilting” is when a bettor starts to make betting decisions designed to recoup losses. That’s not a good strategy. In fact, it’s reckless. What do you do if your “tilt” bet loses? Bet again for even more? 

Stop the insanity.

Even the best bettors, the ones who make a living off sports gambling (which we do not recommend), only win 52-55% of the time. That means they are big ol’ losers 45-48% of the time. Even sharp bettors can lose several bets in a row. 

Don’t fall for the sunk cost fallacy. That fallacy tricks folks into thinking they need to double down or chase after a result after they’ve sunk money into losing. Sometimes, stopping is the best way to regroup and come back to wager another day. 

If you have a betting plan and budget (you better), you will know what to do following a string of losses: Continue to follow your plan and don’t panic.

Mistake #4: Bandwagon sports betting

Every four years the FIFA World Cup captures the attention of billions of people across the globe. It’s the most widely viewed sporting event on the planet. But just because it exists, doesn’t mean you have to bet wildly on it.

A bandwagon bettor wagers on sports just because everyone else is. Or they may bet on sports they are unfamiliar with.

Are you betting on the NHL but think “icing” is something you lick off your fingers on your birthday? Are you wagering on baseball but don’t watch the sport because it’s boring? Those are signs you may be out of your element.

As a general guideline: Stick with sports you’re familiar with, OK champ?

RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING: Ahead Of MA Launch, BetMGM To Promo Responsible Gambling In Ads

Mistake #5: Betting like a fan

Fan: It’s short for fanatic. But you don’t have to behave like one. That can lead to heartache and financial troubles.

There are two common ways a new bettor can harm his or her efforts by betting like a fan.

No. 1 is betting when you’re carried away in the moment. Say you’re at Banners Kitchen & Tap, one of Boston’s best sports bars. You and your pals are three pints into your Friday evening. You just got paid and the money is burning a hole in your pants pocket. Your best friend is going on and on about how the Bruins penalty-killing unit is the best in hockey.

You get the fever and decide to start scrolling through your sportsbook app — like BetMGM Massachusetts, for instance.

Next thing you know, you’ve dropped $150 on the Bruins, the Celtics, and more.

See what you did? You let the fun times influence your decision making. Maybe the lager even loosened your purse strings. Avoid that type of betting activity. Make your wagers when you’re clearly thinking straight.

The second way a newbie makes mistakes with sports betting is by wagering with their heart. It’s great to support your team. There’s nothing wrong with having a Fathead sticker of your favorite players on your bedroom wall. It’s OK to cheer for your team, do or die. But don’t wager on a team solely because you want them to win.

The smart bettor seeks good odds, whether it supports fan allegiance or not. Or better yet: If you must bet on your team, choose a smaller amount to bet for most games. Save the big stakes for when you really think your team is going to come out on top.

Photo by Image from Shutterstock.com
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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is a Staff Writer for PlayMA with plenty of experience under his belt. Dan has written three books about sports and previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He also has extensive experience covering the launch of sports betting in other states, including Ohio and Maryland. Currently, Dan is residing in Michigan with his family.

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