Sports Betting: How To Avoid Sucker Bets



Individuals who bet for recreational purposes only may do so to make it more appealing when watching their favorite teams play. However, those who enjoy betting as a leisurely activity usually don’t take the time to understand all the factors involved in the outcome of games. While this is completely understandable, the recreational bettor should take the steps necessary in order to avoid sucker bets, so that they can continue betting in the future without the potential of losing large sums of money. In this article, we’ll provide some tips and strategies on how to avoid sucker bets.

What Are Sucker Bets?

Although many people associate sucker bets with bets that typically have a longshot of winning, the definition is not that simple since a longshot can be an extremely valuable bet if the odds presented are in the bettor’s favor. Conversely, sucker bets have no relation to how likely it is that a bet will be won but the value that can be derived from placing a bet. A simple example to illustrate what we mean by a sucker’s bet can be done using a simple coin toss. Since the chances of hitting heads/tails are 50/50, if you placed a $100 bet and called for heads, you should win $100 if the coin indeed falls on head. Where value lies is if you had placed a $100 bet and had a chance of winning $1,000 if the coin landed on heads. A sucker’s bet is the exact opposite – you’d only have a chance of winning $10 if the coin landed on heads.

Common Sucker’s Bet #1 – Parlays

You’ve probably heard the notion that parlays are for suckers. This is true to a great extent. If you’re playing blackjack, starting with $100, and kept winning hand after hand and rolled all your winnings forward to the next hand, you’d make a profit of $6,300 (not including your initial $100) after six winning hands. On the other hand, if you had done the same thing on the point spread with a sportsbook offering odds at -110, you’d only end off with a profit of around $4,740 after six wins – a pretty big difference. Interestingly, six-team parlays using point spreads at -110 odds have far lower payouts – you’d be better off placing individual bets in this instance. While we’d never recommend betting seriously on parlays, a few bettors employ the parlay strategy and are able to do quite well. However, you must keep in mind that these bettors have likely been successful after many years of experience and have already gone through lots of ups, and probably more downs, in the process.

Common Sucker’s Bet #2 – Pleasers

Similar to parlays, pleasers are essentially the same thing with one difference – you get to “buy” points on the spread in order to increase your chances of winning. For example, for a favorite with a spread of -8.0, a pleaser bet might reduce this spread to -3.0, which, on the surface, seems to work in your favor. However, pleaser bets must be placed on a parlay card, which is basically a masked parlay.

Common Sucker’s Bet #3 – Placing A Wager Without Shopping Around

While most recreational bettors stick with only one sportsbook, we recommend changing your habits. By not shopping around with multiple sportsbooks, you’re already placing sucker bets. For example, would you bet on an underdog at +6.0 when another sportsbook is offering the same bet at +7.0? Simple logic says no.