It wasn’t too long ago that many folks were patiently waiting for the day when legal sports betting would become a reality. The dream has been realized in a growing number of states, including Massachusetts.
As sports betting continues to surge in popularity, so too do the hopes and dreams of many seeking to go pro … or so they think. Betting on sports for a living sounds great and all, but the chances of actually getting there are incredibly slim.
Sports betting can and should be an incredibly fun and entertaining pastime. It can also quickly turn into a grind that doesn’t generate much in the way of enjoyment. Let’s explore both paths.
The dream of betting on sports for a living
Wouldn’t it be awesome to earn a living while doing something that you love? Of course, the answer to that question is an emphatic “yes.” For some bettors, that question prompts them to wonder if they can take their game to the next level.
From afar, sports betting for a living seems like a dream job. You simply get your skills to the point where you have the magic touch, and all will be right with the world. However, it’s far from that simple.
It takes some doing to find sustained success with sports betting. Is it possible? Sure. But for the vast majority, the dream will go in the opposite direction after hours upon hours of racking their brains.
Reality check on sports betting as a career
So what would it take for you to make sports betting a career? The answer varies, but the natural starting point is your current income level as well as what you can reasonably expect to earn in the coming years.
Now that you have that number in mind, pretend that it has vanished. Your task is now to replace that amount solely from betting on sports. Can you do that? Perhaps, but the odds aren’t exactly stacked in your favor.
To turn a profit, you’ll need to win more than you lose while also beating the vig charged by sportsbooks. The vig is a cost of doing business and part of how books make their money. There’s simply no way to get around it.
While attempting to do that, there’s also the opportunity cost of earnings lost. You could’ve spent the same time devoted to cracking the sports-betting nut on guaranteed income from a job or self-employment venture.
Moreover, sports betting income is speculative. There are simply no guarantees, no matter how finely tuned of a system you may think you have in place. That goes double if you think you can buy nothing but winning picks from professional handicappers (aka, in some cases, as “scamdicappers”).
Meanwhile, the checks that you cash from your employer or customers offer much more consistency for your finances.
Betting on sports as a career may sound like tons of fun. On the other hand, the enjoyment that you feel while pursuing it recreationally can quickly subside. The grind and pressure of generating consistent profits can quickly take a toll and eliminate the enjoyment altogether.
Is it possible to profit from sports betting long term?
As mentioned, profitability with sports betting takes much more than simply winning more than you lose. You also have to account for the vig, which is also known as juice or vigorish. This is what the sportsbook is charging you as a cost for facilitating bets.
It’s built into the sportsbook odds for every matchup. While it may not always be readily apparent, you can rest assured that they’ve factored it into the equation. For spread and total bets at standard odds of -110, the impact of the vig is clear.
It’s the difference between doubling your money and receiving back 90.9%. For a $100 winning bet at -110, you’ll get back $90.90. What happened to the other $9.10? It was kept by the sportsbook as vig.
Now let’s say that you bet on nothing but spreads and totals with odds at -110. How much would you have to win to break even while also covering the vig? The answer is about 52.4%, an achievement level that is easier said than done.
Said another way, you have to win more than 50% of the time to ensure that you’re not losing money. In order to earn profits that are meaningful enough to replace an income, you’ll need to be betting at an incredibly high volume with a big success rate or at massive stakes.
But what if you use proper bankroll management strategy?
There are factors that can help improve your success with sports betting online in Massachusetts. Strong bankroll management is one of them, but it’s not the be-all or end-all. Instead, it’s a very important piece of the puzzle that all bettors should try to master.
At a minimum, bettors should keep track of their deposits and withdrawals from sports betting sites. A quick calculation of the difference between the two—while considering bankroll left on site—can give you some insight into how well you’re doing.
On the advanced end, detailed tracking of your results is in order. Think of this as a full ledger of your sports betting activity, making note of sport, bet type, odds, stakes and more. Along the way, you’ll be tallying up wins, losses and the net impact on your balance.
If you’re a bankroll master and a whiz with budgeting, that’s a huge plus. However, being solid on the administrative front doesn’t always translate into betting success. At the end of the day, the bottom line serves as your report card.
Are there any betting systems that can help you go pro?
If you spend enough time reading up on sports betting theory, you’ll find that there are lots of betting systems out there. While some may provide you with great actionable tips to implement or open your eyes to things you never thought of before, there are none that will guarantee consistent success.
But wait a second. There are professional bettors out there, or at least many who claim to be. Aren’t they using some kind of system? Most likely, but it’s not something that they’re about to share. Just like any other bettor that has found sustained success, they’ve developed a system that works for them.
You can do the same thing, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll be on track to go pro. As opposed to worrying about that, focus your efforts on buttoning up your own system to the point that you’re turning a profit on something that you enjoy. That’s a reasonable goal to shoot for, and the ride to get to that point can be enjoyable to boot.
Can sports betting be a hobby?
Betting on sports can be fun and entertaining—if you allow it to be. Trying to make it into a career can quickly sweep those elements out of the equation. Before too long, something that you once enjoyed can turn into a source of dread.
On the other hand, if you focus on sports betting as a hobby, you’ll have an interesting diversion that can be quite enjoyable. There are plenty of different options to consider all year round, as well as lots of ways to improve your game.
The challenge alone can serve as entertainment, while the potential for earning some money while having fun is always enticing. You’ll still be able to enjoy the rooting aspect that likely brought you to sports in the first place.
To make sports betting a hobby, you’ll need to learn to keep your expectations in check. There’s nothing wrong with hoping for the best, but losses come with the territory.
Hobby vs. career: what’s the right path?
Should you consider taking up sports betting as a career? For nearly everyone that tries their hand at sports betting, the answer is crystal clear: sports betting should be a hobby, and that’s it. The career dream can be fun to think about, but the incredibly minute chances of making it happen can quickly snap you back to reality.
If you love sports in general and enjoy betting, then combining the two can translate into a great hobby that you can enjoy for years on end. You can set your sights on improving every step of the way, and the prize at the end of the rainbow is profits.
It can be a very fun journey to get to that point, but also one that’s filled with ups and downs. If sports betting was a career, then those peaks and valleys would be incredibly tough to manage. In our view, stick with the hobby aspect and enjoy the ride.