Top 13 Sports Betting Myths, Debunked
You’ve probably heard more than a few misconceptions about sports betting over the years. A lot of folks just don’t understand how the industry works, which leads them to believe a lot of untrue statements about sports betting.
We’ve heard them all before, too. Sports betting myths are regurgitated time and time again like some half-baked conspiracy theories about how all sports have predetermined outcomes and such nonsense.
Below, we’ll debunk 13 sports betting myths, so you can get back to doing what you enjoy—betting on sports online at MA sportsbooks.
Myth No. 1: Profit is impossible over the long term
If you’ve tried your hand at sports betting even a little, it’s clear that you’re going to encounter plenty of losses, no matter how hard you research your wagers. Sports are, after all, unpredictable.
But there are professional bettors, known as “sharps,” who make their living with the sportsbooks. While far less common than the casual bettor, these pros have proven time and again that there are profits to be made over the course of a sports betting career.
Now don’t expect to meet someone who is pulling in wins on 60 percent of their wagers. Most professionals are closer to the 51, 52, and 53 percent of victories out of all of the wagers they place.
It’s also important to keep in mind that these bettors make their living off of sports betting, whereas the more casual bettor isn’t so concerned about a long-term profit. But don’t go saying it can’t be done.
Myth No. 2: You can be due for a win
Listen, we all know that losing sucks—from Little League to the World Series.
In sports betting, losing sometimes feels like it is never going to end. You might feel like you’re on a run of bad luck. Maybe you’ve heard that everyone ends up with a win after a bad stretch and that everyone is eventually due to take home those winnings.
That’s just not true.
That kind of mentality is what leads people to chase bad bets, trying to get that win they think is owed to them in order to offset the losses they have incurred. But losing is a fact of sports betting, and you can’t keep throwing money at a sportsbook following a loss with hopes of making your money back.
Instead, you have to figure losing into your betting strategy and accept that winning comes with intensive research, smart and informed wagers, and a solid betting strategy. Never make a decision based on the internal hope that the next one *just has* to hit.
Myth No. 3: Sportsbooks have inside information
Have you ever heard someone say that professional games are rigged? Those leagues want certain teams to win so they adjust the outcome via the officials?
That’s a popular sentiment; it’s also nonsense.
If professional athletes were being paid to throw games, then why would there be so many who choose to play despite injuries? Or how do you explain those underdogs shocking their opponents? Or that time the New England Patriots decided to stop losing and came back from a massive deficit to defeat the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl?
Sports are unpredictable. Sportsbooks and oddsmakers have to work just as hard as anyone else to create a predictive model, and oftentimes they end up on the wrong side of that prediction.
Sure, sportsbooks seem able to pick winners, but that’s because they employ professionals who sort through massive amounts of data to create their outlooks for every sport, every player, and every game. That’s the benefit of having so much experience in your corner. It makes it look like you’ve got the edge when, in reality, you’re just really good at your job.
Myth No. 4: The public is always wrong
Every sportsbook that had the Chicago Bears vs. the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX in 1986 sure wishes the public was always wrong. The Bears were such favorites in that contest that pretty much everyone wagered on them. In order to offset the clear victory that public betting was about to get, sportsbooks created the now-infamous Super Bowl prop bets.
It’s safe to say that the casual, sports betting hobbyist—and most sports bettors fall into that category—are more likely to lose than to win. That’s why many professional bettors keep an eye on how the public is betting and sometimes wager in the opposite direction … if the odds are enticing enough to risk.
With so many non-professional sports bettors enjoying the hobby, it’s easy to see why folks might think that the public has no clue on how to win bets. But the truth is that the public isn’t always wrong, but it definitely isn’t always right, either.
Myth No. 5: Injuries aren’t factored into lines
Odds shift all the time at sportsbooks following their initial release. Sometimes they start moving right away, and other times the needle hardly twitches until the game or event is fast approaching.
There are two main reasons for a line shift to happen. The first is public betting has caused one side of the wager to get overwhelmed with the number of bets being placed on that outcome. Sportsbooks will shift odds to help reduce their liability and make the opposite side of the bet more attractive.
The second reason in previously unknown news that has come to light, and one of the most popular reasons is injuries. Sports teams report their injuries to the media and the public, and when key players land on that list, it is impossible for that not to influence the final odds.
Do you really think sportsbooks don’t follow the news?
Myth No. 6: Parlays and teasers are for suckers
We won’t be shy in saying that parlays and teasers aren’t our favorite bet types. But to say they are bets only for suckers is definitely way off the mark.
Many sports bettors thrive on parlays and teasers. The risk vs. reward ratio is often quite tempting, even to the most seasoned of sharps. Online and mobile sportsbooks also tend to offer nice promotions on parlays and teasers, such as bonus bet offers for newcomers or if your bet loses.
Now, are parlays and teasers harder to win than other bet types? Most would say “yes,” especially with parlays. You can always tease a line to be very advantageous (although every little tease cuts down potential profits), but parlays (or single-game parlays) just take one little hiccup for all to be lost.
That doesn’t mean only suckers play those bets, however. There have been many bettors who were more than happy with the payday following a successful parlay wager.
Myth No. 7: Games can be rigged
We touched on this above, but the concept that unseen powers are rigging games so that one team can beat another is ridiculous, especially in this day and age. Even when the Houston Astros decided to steal pitching signs in the World Series, it didn’t go unnoticed. A partially deflated football? Someone is going to say something.
Refs, coaches, and players don’t have the ability to throw games. There is far too much money at stake at the professional and collegiate levels for sanctioned cheating.
Athletes are there to compete. Coaches are there to win and stay out of the hot seat. Referees have every little decision scrutinized no matter what, so they pretty much have no choice but to call games the way they see them.
Are there mistakes made that sometimes look intentional? Sure. Bad calls? Sure. Questionable plays? Of course. But that’s just sports and the pressure of making split decisions and human error. It happens.
Again, there is far too much attention on every contest to have something nefarious happening under everyone’s noses.
Myth No. 8: Sportsbooks ban you for winning too much
Sportsbooks are in the business of making money, so of course, they would rather be raking in the dough than paying it out. But here’s the thing: sportsbooks are making money. It doesn’t matter how many bettors win or lose. The sportsbook is always going to get its payday and cover operating expenses.
The old saying that any publicity is good publicity is true in this situation. Sportsbooks are thrilled when someone is able to lay claim to a big payday. Why? It drives more bettors to their site. Everyone wants a piece of winning, right? In the long term, someone’s big payday is a drop in the bucket compared to the profits seen from retaining clients and gaining new ones.
Sportsbooks can ban people from their sites, of course. If there is proof of cheating, unscrupulous conduct or any attempt at fraud, they are going to kick that person to the curb. Winning a lot of money is not one of those reasons.
Myth No. 9: The better team is a better bet
Beware this kind of simplistic thinking. It emphasizes crude data that doesn’t tell a full story.
For example, which team is actually better? A 4-0 team with wins over four winless squads or a 1-3 team that has lost close games to the best teams in the league?
What truly matters is the research you are doing. Records are hardly the end-all of a discussion as to which team is the more likely to win a game. Analytics regarding point differential and efficiency ratings are far more important to a bettor than the wins and losses on a team’s record.
Build your betting strategy, include in-depth research and use the data points that have helped you create your predictions successfully in the past. Then, you’ll be able to determine which team is more likely to win.
Myth No. 10: The over is for suckers
A claim this absolutist is easy to debunk. While there is a school of thought that focuses on unders in totals betting, due to the fact that more things usually go wrong than right for any team, that doesn’t mean the over should be ignored.
There are many reasons the over is a good play. It could be due to key injuries for defenses, recent trends showing higher-than-previous scoring for the teams in question, or perhaps even favorable weather conditions likely to help an offense score.
Whatever the reasoning, overs hit often enough that excluding them entirely will be a poor decision for your bankroll.
Again, as we’ve stated before, it doesn’t matter if the over or the under is even the favorite in the sportsbooks or in the eyes of the pundits. What matters is your research, the data you collect and analyze, and that you create a betting strategy that allows you to make confident decisions for each and every wager you make.
Myth No. 11: Picks services win people a lot of money
Picks services and analytics tools are designed to help bettors make more informed decisions, but in no way have they become so dynamic that their customers rake in large amounts of cash.
Instead, use such services as a gauge or comparison point to your own picks. You should always do your own research and gather as much of your own information as possible. That reduces the chances of other people’s errors costing you money.
There are some picks services that swear you will win more than you lose if you pay for their predictions. But that’s marketing, not a guarantee.
Always be mindful before paying any service for their picks or analysis. Check their reputation with other bettors, find their published wins and losses records (and if they don’t have those available, you should immediately just look for another service), and make sure that everything they do is transparently available for every customer to review.
Don’t let your hard-earned money make someone else richer. Use services that are highly reputable, have good relationships with their customers, and are not afraid to let their wins and losses speak for themselves. In other words, be aware of the difference between professional handicappers vs. scamdicappers.
Myth No. 12: It’s you vs. the sportsbooks
The sportsbooks honestly don’t care if you are winning or losing. What they care about is their ability to make money, which is hardly determined by single customers.
Sportsbooks don’t want to stop you from winning. Heck, the less you win, the more likely it is you’ll walk away from the hobby altogether. Instead, they want you to enjoy yourself enough that you keep coming back. The wins keep you on the hook, making more wagers and continuing to use your account.
No business wants to alienate their customer base to the point of exclusion. With the sheer volume of competition for sportsbooks today, none of them can afford to chase their paying customers away with forced losses or a poor user experience.
Myth No. 13: It’s hard to win money betting on favorites
Oddsmakers are experts in the field of breaking down sports data, gathering key information, and using all of it to create predictive models on which teams are going to win or which players are going to stand out among their peers.
Because of how well oddsmakers do their jobs, they set the sports betting odds and create a favorite with impressive accuracy. There will always be upsets in sports, which means that bettors are always going to add to their bankroll thanks to a favorite not living up to their potential. That doesn’t mean you bet against the favorites in order to somehow outsmart the oddsmakers and win money.
Do you have less of a potential profit when wagering on the favorites? Sure, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t money to be made. You can’t always hit a home run with every bet, but a win is a win. And if you walk away with more money than you started with, then you’re doing just fine.
Betting the favorites is a slow way to a large bankroll, but it definitely can be done with patience, smart betting, line shopping, and a solid strategy.