By Dave Schwab

Betting on sports has never been easier with a wealth of top-notch online sportsbooks to choose from. These offshore betting outlets have raised the bar in the Internet sports betting industry over the past several years and combined they now account for over half of all the sports bets placed around the world.

One of the hardest decisions that you have to make as an online sports bettor could be which online sportsbooks you use to book your action given the sheer number of excellent options to choose from. No matter which books you choose, you need to define a betting strategy that gives you the best chance to earn a positive return on your investment.

Casual sports bettors tend to think of their sports bets as a way to add more excitement to the games they are wagering on. Professional sports bettors think of their wagers as a way to build their overall bankroll by cashing in winners. Nobody bets to lose, but the primary difference between casual bettors and pros is each side’s overall winning percentage. Even the top sports handicappers in the world would be happy with a winning rate of 65 percent or higher and sometimes that is easier said than done. While a casual bettor does not have the tools or the skill to win at this high of a rate, there are certain steps that you can take to drastically raise your current winning percentage if you fall into this category.

Everything starts with a plan. You have to first define your betting goals and then define your betting strategy to reach them. The simplest of goals would be to win more money than you lose. This will keep your overall bankroll in the black, while adding the excitement you are looking for from your actual bets. This goal is easy to define; however the strategy to reach it can be a whole other thing.

The first important element of your betting strategy should be to wager on the sports that you know and follow on a regular basis. Familiarity leads to better predictability of any outcome in any sporting event. Breaking things down even further, you might want to concentrate your efforts on just a handful of teams or individuals in the sports you bet on. If college football is at the top of your list, then becoming somewhat of a subject matter expert on the ACC or Big Ten will serve you well when it comes to actually betting on the games.

The next element of any successful sports betting strategy is proper money management. One highly effective way to place your bets is with the use of a unit system that relies strictly on the confidence level you have in your picks. Your confidence should already be high for any game you actually bet on, but you might want to bump up the units bet on the picks that you absolutely love. There is no such thing as a lock in sports betting, but using a confidence level to dictate the units bet makes all the sense in the world.

Another important element of any successful betting strategy is discipline and proper restraint. Never chase losses with unnecessary bets. Losing is part of sports betting so you have to learn how to take your lumps and move on. Never get sloppy when you are on a winning streak with unnecessary bets. Bank your winnings and get ready for the next round of games. Emotions do play a role in sports betting, but you should never let them guide you. There is no substitution for proper preparation that applies a high level of logic to the games you actually bet on.