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Sports betting is a great way to make a bit of money on the side. Some people have even turned it into a full-time job with a great income.

If you are interested in getting into sports betting, be aware that you’ll be going up against people that have dedicated their lives to figuring out how to win your money without letting you win theirs. It’s a challenge, but it can be done.

Here are six great tips to help you as you get started betting online:

1. Know thy sport

If you’re going into sports betting online, you need to know as much as possible about the sport. For example, those betting on soccer matches need to understand the more obscure rules like “off-sides,” as well as the way penalties work when the match ties.

You need to learn about the players you’ll be betting on, the teams that have a chance of winning, the handicaps, and the “X-factors” that could make the wrong team win or lose. You have to know the sport inside and out before you start betting on it.

2. Get your math right

Too many people start betting without really understanding how to do it. It can be hard to know the difference between 5 to 2 versus 10 to 3 odds, and you’ll need to learn about both odds and money multipliers.

Sites like Betting Resource can help you to learn more about how to read the odds and understand them, as well as how to be smart about betting.

3. Don’t overbet

If you’re losing money, don’t do the desperate thing and overbet to recoup your losses. This is something only losers do: they try to “win big” after they’ve consistently lost small amounts of money.

The smart approach is to place only a percentage of your bankroll on each bet; that will guarantee that you don’t “lose big.” A wise amount is between 2 and 5% per bet, even if you think the bet is a “sure thing.”

4. Bet on the right underdog

Everyone loves when the underdog takes the game with a touchdown in the last minute of the game or a string of lucky shots as the clock runs out.

Underdogs can often be expected to win, and you’ll find that betting on them is a good way to increase your chances of success. However, underdogs are usually best to bet on when they’re playing at home, when they have more drive and incentive to win. Betting on an underdog at an away game won’t be your wisest move.

5. Stay away from alcohol

Too many people place a bet after “just one drink” … which has usually turned into a few drinks. Alcohol not only impairs your judgment, but it tends to make people more optimistic than is wise.

Remember, it’s your hard-earned money you’re considering throwing away, so take it seriously and avoid betting while under the influence. You need to have a clear head if you want to be a smart bettor. So say no to those free drinks the casinos or Sports Book brings you.

If you’re betting online at home, don’t have that “one beer” until after your bets are placed.

6. Understand bonuses

Many websites offer bonuses for signing up, but you need to understand how these bonuses work. They are basically enticements to get people to sign up, but they can’t usually be used right away.

Bettors have to wager a certain amount in order to claim the signup bonus, so make sure you understand these bonuses before you count on them for your betting.

If you’re smart with your betting, it could actually be a wise investment that pays off in the long run!