Can You Make a Living Gambling on Sports?

Making a Living Betting on Sports

While it is difficult to make a living gambling on sports, it is entirely possible. It’s by no means easy, it will take a lot of time and dedication to even become a profitable sports bettor, let alone making it a full-time business.

However, there are many people out there that do sports gambling for a living. There are even more out there making money with sports betting as a nice “side hustle” or secondary income.

Not a Get-Rich-Quick scheme But Can Be Lucrative

Sports Gambling Living

The truth is, sports betting is far from a get-rich scheme.

Even if you’re a winning sports bettor, there are many pitfalls and issues you may need to overcome, such as being limited at a sportsbook and managing your bankroll correctly.

Still, becoming a successful sports bettor can be quite lucrative. If you’re interested in doing so, there is a blueprint for success, but first, you need to understand what you’re up against.

How Much Money Can You Make Sports Betting?

Well, it depends on your bankroll and your edge against the oddsmakers. First, it’s vital to familiarize yourself with realistic winning percentages and return on investment (ROI).

The breakeven percentage when betting on sports is actually 52.3 percent when we use -110 odds. You won’t always be betting with -110 odds, but winning 52% of your bets is what you need to break even.

Of course, we don’t want to break even. We want to win. Most professional bettors win about 55 percent of their wagers, with elite-level bettors close to 58 percent.

Shoot for prop bets

Winning 60 percent of your bets long-term is highly unlikely on sides and totals, but it may be possible in some markets, such as propositions bets.

I hope this dispels the myth that you need to win the vast majority of your bets to become a profitable or professional sports bettor. 

The truth is that the difference between a professional sports bettor and a perennial loser can only be a few percent.

However, in terms of ROI, things get a little bit tougher.

Realistic ROI When Betting Sports

Return On Investment or ROI is how much you will return on an investment or, in this case, a sports betting wager. This is where it gets tougher to win with sports betting because you need to risk a lot to win a little.

A realistic long-term return on investment in sports betting is around 10-15% ROI. 

Realistic ROI On Sports Betting

For example, on a $100 bet, you would stand to make $15, at best, if you were a profitable sports bettor.

If we scale that up, you’re looking at $10,000 to $15,000 for everyone $100,000 in wagers you place.

As you can see, you will need to bet quite a lot of money to replace your day job. But, the good part is that a decent side income can begin immediately if you’re a winning sports bettor.

Even if you bet $100 a day, that’s an extra $10 or $15 that you didn’t have before.

One thing that sports betting has in its favor compared to other forms of betting is that it is much easier to scale than poker or casino gambling.

You don’t need to move up in stakes or play more tables – you can simply start betting more money as your bankroll grows.

Top Sportsbooks Online We Recommend

You won’t find a winning sports bettor that doesn’t use multiple sportsbooks. Line shopping is a must for everyone who bet sports and the best way to do that is by having access to multiple, reliable sportsbooks.

The sportsbooks we recommend at SBS have been tested by myself and other sports bettors. They offer reliable and fast payouts, large bonuses, and a variety of betting options and markets.

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How to Make a Living Off Sports Betting?

As mentioned above, it is an uphill battle to become a professional sports bettor. However, there are a few areas and tips that will put you far ahead of the rest of the competition.

They will also help you to avoid the same mistakes and pitfalls that new sports bettors make that can derail their foray into sports betting from the start.

Bankroll Management

Managing your bankroll is the most critical thing you need to do if you’re a winning sports bettor.

You need to stake your bets appropriately, so you can manage the variance of sports betting, not only for your physical bankroll and cash but for your mental sanity.

It is vital to adopt bankroll management as soon as possible. It will give you the best chance to succeed in sports betting as you learn your craft and improve.

Placing Profitable Bets – A Must

However, as much as I preach about bankroll management, it is not a magic pill for success.

You can master impulse control and manage your bankroll perfectly, but you will not win as a sports bettor unless you are placing profitable bets.

Take Advantage of All The Bonuses and Promotions

If you’re reading this, I assume you are new to sports betting, but either way, this advice will help you no matter where you are in your sports betting career.

There are so many bonuses and promotions such as free bets, deposit bonuses, reload bonuses, and so on available to new players these days – it is honestly hard to keep track of them all.

Taking Advantage of Bonuses & Promotions

There is no better way to build your bankroll as a beginner at sports betting than by taking advantage of every bonus and promotion available.

Of course, this will also allow you to have money at multiple sportsbooks, making it easier to line shop, so this kills two birds with one stone.

Find The “Low Hanging Fruit”

Betting sides and totals of major sports can be enjoyable, but those markets are by far the sharpest. A few hours before kickoff, you won’t find anything sharper than NFL odds on sides, totals, and moneylines.

Why attack the sportsbooks where they are strongest? It doesn’t make much sense on a practical level, nor does it for your bankroll.

Sportsbooks’ Weak Spots

Smaller market sports, propositions, halftime lines, and live betting are areas where oddsmakers are much weaker than sides and totals on larger market sports, such as the NFL and NBA sides.

It will be a lot harder to beat the oddsmakers in the sports and markets that are the most popular. They need to be as sharp as possible because the betting handle on these events is much larger.

Keep Your Emotions and Loyalties Out of It

If you’re betting sports, you most likely are a fan of sports.

You may have a favorite team or even be a fanatic for your hometown football team or baseball team. You also may have a bias towards other teams or even specific players.

This all needs to be put aside when you’re betting sports.

You can’t bet on your emotions, favoritism, or other biases. You need to solely focus on if you see value in the betting odds.

Many bettors make the mistake of being this stuff into their handicapping process. Beating sports is hard enough in itself.

It sounds easy to avoid this thinking, but I can’t tell you how many times I have seen gamblers make this mistake.

Can You Really Profit from Sports Betting and Live Off It?

Making a Living Off Sports Betting

Yes, making a living off sports betting is entirely possible. However, it’s not a realistic goal if you’re just beginning to bet on sports.

Focus on becoming a profitable bettor first and making a nice side income from sports betting, and then you can reach for larger goals.

From there, you can continue to progress, increase the size of your bankroll, and hopefully, make it your full-time job if you desire.

It’s a challenging goal, but not impossible if you put in the time and effort.

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About the Author

Joseph Falchetti

Joseph Falchetti

Editor-in-Chief, Pro Sports Bettor and Casino Expert

Joe is the author of the majority of sports betting pages on SBS and he serves as a gambling consultant to our content team. He's been mentioned on as a gaming analyst, and his articles have been linked by larger publications, such as the New York Times.

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