For many of those who enjoy sports betting, making a living from this pursuit would be the dream! Is it possible to do so, however? The answer is yes – and there are people out there doing just that at this very moment.

It’s not quite that simple, though. As with everything in life, there’s a catch. If you think that perhaps the world of professional sports betting could be for you, then there are some important things to know before embarking on your potential new career. Because however much research you conduct into the sport, and no matter the experience you rack up, the element of risk can’t be removed from sports betting. After all, this is an intrinsic part of the fun for many people who enjoy gambling!

What is Sports Betting?

Sports betting is where a wager is placed on the outcome of a sporting event. The most popular sports to bet on include association football, basketball, baseball, American football, auto racing, boxing, and mixed martial arts. Sports betting can also extend to events involving animals, such as greyhound racing and horse racing.

Despite its name, sports betting takes in non-sporting tournaments, too. Examples of such are the outcomes of political elections, reality game shows, and even entertainment events like the Grammys.

History of Sports Betting

Sports betting has been around for a very long time. In fact, it’s one of the oldest forms of betting in the world, going back centuries when wagers were placed on races and fights. The first recorded incidence of sports betting is from Ancient Greece and is thought to date from around 2,000 BC. From Greece, the activity journeyed to Rome, where it became extremely popular and was eventually legalised. Gladiatorial combat events, particularly, were widely wagered upon.

From Rome, sports betting spread to the rest of the world – hitting some bumps in the road during medieval times when it was banned in England. This didn’t stop the activity, though: it simply moved underground and even expanded as new sporting events were introduced around the world.

Moving forward in history, sports betting became in vogue once more, eventually becoming a fashionable pursuit in England, where it largely centered on horse racing. From here, the fashion found its way across the sea to the USA, where it also became a popular pastime. Whizz forward a few hundred years more, and we arrive in the 1990s, when the advent of online sports betting gave the industry a new boost, introducing sports betting to a wider demographic than ever before.

How Much Money Can You Make from Sports Betting?

Well, it all depends. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be gambling! But there are people who do make a significant amount of money from the activity, and even those who derive their living entirely from sports betting. 

The reason it’s possible to do so is because this type of wagering isn’t just about luck – it also involves deep knowledge and a lot of skill. 

Tips for Successful Sports Betting

For those who are living the dream and earning the majority (or all) of their income from sports betting, here are the tips that got them started.

Learn Everything About the Sport

For those serious about sports betting, learning as much as possible about the sport or sports to be bet on is absolutely crucial to have the best chance of success and up your odds on every single wager. It’s not just the published betting lines and odds, though, that you’ll need to scrutinise.

The professional sports bettor will understand the skills, strengths, weaknesses, and potentialities of every player, team, etc., and understand how all of these things fit together. They’ll think about past patterns, coaching style, and much more to identify the high-reward bets that can turn a modest investment into a huge win.

Typically, professional sports bettors won’t diversify too much. Rather than being a jack-of-all-trades, it’s likely to serve you better to specialise in one or two sports and learn absolutely everything there is to know about them to increase your odds of turning a decent profit.

Research the Different Types of Bet

It’s not just the sport that you’ll need to know, like the back of your hand, if you want to make a living from sports betting. You’ll also need to understand everything there is to know about the different kinds of wagers you can make on the sport.

Betting windows are a good place to start – when do they open and close? Next, learn about, for example, money lines, parlays, spreads, or whatever types of bet are relevant to the sport you’ll be wagering on.

Practice Before Diving In

Plenty of sports betting platforms offer demo versions, so you can try your hand at some wagering without committing any real money. This can be a handy way to get a feel for sports betting and the mechanics of placing a wager.

Getting in some solid ‘mock’ experience is a good means of boosting confidence and means you’ll be less likely to have a stress-panic attack during your first ‘real’ bet and subsequently make a mistake.

Stay Profitable

In general, to make a living from sports betting, you’ll need to win at least 55% of the time. To help achieve this, you should devise a great strategy and also a way of monitoring your betting activity, so you can capitalise on winning streaks when they appear. This will also be largely the result of research and experience, so being mindful of your habits and how often these pay off is vital.

Be Realistic

However much you learn, there will always be a significant element of risk: it’s the nature of gambling. So it’s important to be realistic about your personality type and traits if you’re considering trying to become a major-league sports bettor. You’ll need to be able to keep a cool head, even when it looks like you may sustain a significant loss, and be able to remain objective: including when this means turning down an opportunity to make an extremely tempting bet that’s just too far over the level of risk you’re prepared to accept.

Those who undertake sports betting for a living also need to be able to invest fairly substantially in this activity and must have the sort of lifestyle that can absorb a high level of uncertainty. Unlike with a salary, there are likely to be periods when very little money comes in. A contingency plan and emergency funds are, therefore, vital.

ancient chinese people gambling

Final Thoughts: Sports Betting as Entertainment or Income?

Sports betting is a pursuit enjoyed by millions of people around the world and has been for hundreds of years! While the vast majority of these people enjoy sports betting for its entertainment value and as a chance to win some money, there are those that make a living from this activity.

It is possible to make a living from sports betting. To do so, however, you’ll need to be an expert both on the sport being bet on and the types of bets that can be placed, have a solid strategy in place, a decent initial amount to invest, and a contingency fund. And – of course – plenty of luck!