The sports betting industry has grown in great proportions in the past decade. It’s anyone’s guess that people always have, and will continue to, keep spectator sports as one of the top forms of mass entertainment. Naturally, this means sports betting already has a huge demographic to pool from. To give you a better idea: nearly 13% of all American adults engage in sports betting if you only consider the NFL. It is also a diverse demographic. The popular image of gamblers, as we know, is a rather static stereotype. Consequently, the pop culture idea of the ‘gambler’ does not really even begin to cover all of it. It is a crowd of people from different walks of life, who get into sports betting with different goals. And they also go about it in very different ways.
In this article, we will take a look at 7 different types of bettors. If you get into sports betting, chances are that you will have come across all seven of these within a year or so.
These people are the absolute elite when it comes to net worth. Mind you, they did not necessarily get rich off sports betting. In fact, these types are the opposite. They are the Scrooge McDucks who have enough money that they can just gamble at will. Hollywood celebs and ex-sportsters, for example, are known to have a knack for sports betting. Chances are that you also know some of these celebs.
In some cases, they actually do make it big. In a few cases, they make it big because they are good at sports betting. In some cases, they make it big because they just have enough bankroll to put some of the more difficult strategies – like the Martingale system – into actual practice. In the vast majority of cases, though, they fail to break even. Although losing the money does not make enough of a dent in their net worth for them to stop.
These people perhaps make up 90% of all sports bettors worldwide. They are just there to have some extra fun to spice up their sports-watching experience. A form of casual betting used to exist way back in the day. We mean back in the 80’s and before, when organized sports betting was not as easily accessible. One could just lay down, kick back, and put money into a winners-take-all pot with their family while watching the FIFA World Cup. Anyhow, if you do not want to go local, you can just do this in small bets on betway these days. Another great casual passage of betting is Daily Fantasy Sports. While they do not make money, we must acknowledge that recreational bettors keep the betting market alive.
The Diehard Fan
In most cases, fanboys are also just betting for recreation. But a key difference is that they cannot separate sports betting from their loyalty to the team they support. It makes for some fun time with walks of boast/shame when you accentuate your strong sentiments with money on your dream team. But it also seeps into their sports betting practice. It can crystalize into an almost invisible bias when the fan gets serious about betting. So remember to separate your loyalty from your betting choices if you support a team strongly.
These are the brainiacs of the sports betting community. Sharps are basically sports bettors who eke out a living just from their betting gains. Of course, this means that their ability to read a game is on a level far beyond bookmakers. Sharps will place their wagers very early on when the betting market opens. And depending on what their take is, bookmakers will often re-adjust the odds. ‘Sharpbooks’ are sportsbooks that let the sharps actually make profits off their wagers, i.e. they have enough liquidity to still turn a profit. There are, of course, sportsbooks that try to mitigate profits the sharps make. There is usually a limit to how much money you can make off a wager there. Some sportsbooks (read ‘softbooks’) straight up ban users they suspect to be the pros.
Semi-pros technically are not different from the sharps. They are handicappers of great merit. So much so that they make profits consistently. But unlike sharps, they do not take betting to be their full-time job.
Sharps make money by just being smart enough to out-guess the bookmaker daily. Steam chasers also have the potential to make profits when kept unchecked. But they make this through manipulating the betting market economy rather than handicapping. Very early on in the betting phase, steam chasers will initiate the ‘steam’. I.e. they will mass-wager on a certain bet – so much so that the odds shift based on that activity. The whole idea is to target bookmakers who are late in noticing that fast enough. Bookmakers do crack down on such betting syndicates frequently, but steam chasers will sadly always be a thing.
Sports betting, ultimately, is a form of gambling. And like any other form, it has an almost irresistible pull to it. It has many ‘hooks’ that keep you playing – the blood rush from that one win you landed, the sense of entitlement you get after losing a couple of bets in a row. Many people also feel that they are ‘breaking even’ when that is at best a delusion – at worst, a gambling addiction.
Which of these are you? Honestly, perhaps elements from several categories. These are not watertight classifications. They are just a fun and easy way to recognize the different ways you can gamble, and there are actually more than just 7. In the end, all that matters is whether you are turning a profit, and/or having fun without falling into the trap of gambling addiction.