Betting is a naturally risk-ridden way to spend your time or even to try to make some money. However, when done sensibly, it can be a wonderful addition to watching your favourite sports.

But what’s the secret to getting around the tricks used by bookies to pull bettors through their doors?

It all comes down to finding the best value for money. In this guide, we will discuss a few simple strategies you can implement to increase your chances of winning.

Take time to learn the sport

Your research should go beyond which team won their last seven matches. It should also focus on how well they played both offensively and defensively.

Which cricket player is not in good terms with his coach? That tennis player might have won two consecutive trophies, but is he experienced enough to maintain the winning streak?

This is the kind of information you need to know so that you can make an informed decision when placing your bet.

The favourite team/player doesn’t always emerge the winner

This might seem like an obvious point to mention, but many punters find it difficult to ignore the prices offered by bookies

Let’s give an example. At the Barcelona Open in April, Rafael Nadal faced Fabio Fognini, and many bookmarkers had Nadal as the favourite player.

Going by Nadal’s track record in the game, this would make sense because he has won this tournament eight times.

But bookmakers forgot that Fognini had defeated Nadal on clay just a few months before the Tournament in Rio de Janeiro. When you consider this, and the fact that Fognini has a record of knocking out top players, you will realize that Fognini’s chances of winning were high as well.

Fognini won the match in straight sets.

Shop around

The online gambling industry is a very competitive niche, and many sites will try every possible way to convince you to bet with them only.

This could be through loyalty programs, special in-shop offers, and others, but the intention is usually the same. This shouldn’t distract you from shopping around.

Check the various offers on specific bets. One of the most popular bets in soccer is the first goal scorer market, and for this reason, bookies always have their own spin on this one.

Some sites will double the odds if the player scores twice and increase the odds even further when he scores the third goal. Others will double the odds if the player scores within 30 minutes. Most bookies have their own way of trying to lure players into betting with them instead of other sites.

It is vital that you do your research to determine which of these offers will suit you for any particular match. Be flexible and ready to do your homework.

Only select a few games

This might seem like common sense, but many bettors forget it all the time. If you include fewer selections in your bet, you will increase your chances of winning.

If you really want to make money on betting, then you should think small, and not big. Select four matches at most. When you find yourself selecting 20 matches, you are reducing your chances of winning.

Bookies lose a lot of money on single bets. If you do your research well, it should be safe to place a $10 bet on one selection.

Wager on less obvious markets

When you know your sport well enough, you will find better value in the wide range of markets offered by bookies 

This is just a trick that bookies use to provide more ways to lose your money, but you can actually find good prices if you take time to look hard at the various markets.

For instance, you might not feel confident betting on Brighton & Hove Albion to beat Manchester United in your accumulator. The latter is higher than the former in the premier league, but does that mean they are the best team? Well, that’s for football experts to discuss.

But when you research, you will find that Glenn Murray scores in every game. So, you can bet on him to score anytime.

Familiarize yourself with the different markets

As much as we are advising you to bet on less obvious markets, you also need to check the terms of those markets before betting.

One of the most common mistakes people make is the “to win both halves” and “halftime/full time (HT/FT) bet.” If you choose the HT/FT bet, it means that your team must be ahead at half time and win the match after the second half.

If you bet on “to win both halves,” it means your team must win the first and second half separately. You team must score more goes than the other side on the first and second half to win this bet.

It’s a small difference but frustrating for many bettors who think they had won the bet when their team was leading at 3-1 at half time and went ahead to win the match with the same results. In this case, second half results were 0-0, and so you lose.

Bet with your head, not your heart

We all have our favourite teams. You may want it to win so badly, and you may actually start convincing yourself that the team can win. Before you know it, you’ve already put your hard earned money on it.

Bookies make a lot of money from this mistake as home-fans put their money on their soon-to-be relegated team to defeat a team at the top of the table.

You should also avoid derby games. The unpredictable element in these events is exaggerated because so much is at stake.

If you really have to bet on these events, you may want to look at other markets. They may not beat that team at the top of the table, but they can score a goal.