Losing Bets Explained

Losing Bets Explained

Losing is an inherent part of betting. Therefore, understanding how to handle losses is essential to become a successful punter.

This article covers everything you need to know about losing bets, focusing on the following main points:

  • How to deal with losses
  • Different bet types and the risks involved
  • Tips to stop losing
  • What not to do about losing, etc.

Dealing with Losing Bets

Losing a well-analyzed wager can be disheartening. However, this is bound to happen because of the unpredictable nature of sports betting.

Many bettors make the mistake of letting emotions drive them to make irrational decisions after losing a bet. Unfortunately, such actions lead to more losses.

Therefore, it is essential to understand how to deal with losses. Knowing how to deal with losing helps you keep a rational mindset. It enables you to carefully analyze and learn from mistakes, refine your strategies, and manage risk.

Losing a Bet and the Different Types of Risks Involved

When you place a wager, you’re essentially predicting one outcome among many possibilities for an event. The likelihood of whether you will win or lose a bet depends on various factors, especially the type of bet you choose. Different markets carry different levels of risk, and bookmakers reflect this through the odds they set for each bet option.

Let’s explore some popular bet types and discuss their associated risk levels.

Moneyline Bets

A moneyline bet involves betting on who will win a game. It’s the most basic and popular bet type. There are only a few possible outcomes: a win, a loss, and sometimes a tie. So, the probability of winning or losing money on a winning bet is one in three. This simplicity makes it less risky when compared to other options.

Point Spread Bets

With this option, you’re betting on the margin of victory. It adds a layer of complexity and risk to your prediction, as it requires a higher degree of accuracy when compared to a traditional win/lose bet.

In a point spread, the bookmaker handicaps the favorite team by deducting points or adding points to the underdog.

Let’s assume you are betting on a Lakers vs. Celtics basketball game with a spread of -4.5 for the Lakers and +4.5 for the Celtics. If you bet on the Lakers and they win by 5 or more points, it’s a winning bet. Conversely, you will bet and lose if they win by less than 5 points or are defeated.

Totals Bets (Over/Under)

The over/under bet is another popular option among punters. It involves predicting the total number of goals both teams will score in a game.

For example, If a sportsbook sets the Over/Under line at 2.5 goals, a bet on the over means you anticipate a final score of 3 goals or more. Conversely, “under” indicates a final combined score of 2 goals or less.

Punters often strategically explore the total bet market, particularly in games that usually yield high-scoring results. For example, even though there is no such thing as a guarantee never to lose a football bet, betting on overs in a match between Burnley and Manchester City seems less risky than some other options. The two sides have accumulated eighteen goals in their last five encounters.

Prop Bets

Also known as a proposition bet, a prop bet is a wager on a specific event within a game. These bets often involve events that don’t directly affect the final score, like predicting the first team or player to score, the possibility of extra time, or even the outcome of a coin toss at the start of a game.

While prop bets add excitement to betting, they come with higher risks due to their focus on predicting highly unlikely outcomes. Many consider them the biggest ever-losing bet types as they are usually narrowly defined.


A bettor combines multiple individual bets into a single wager in a parlay. It could include moneylines, spreads, props, and totals on different games. However, if any prediction is wrong, the entire parlay is lost.

The parlay is popular in sports betting because it can help bettors get higher returns with little stakes. However, the risk is also higher. However, the risk of losing increases as you add more bets due to the compounding nature of probabilities—for example, the chances of losing a 50/50 bet 10x or more as you add more wagers.


Teasers also involve combining multiple bets into one wager. However, they have an extra option that allows you to adjust point spreads and totals.

For example, in a hypothetical American football game like the New England Patriots vs. Dallas Cowboys, a 6-point teaser can change original spreads of -6.5 and +6.5 to -0.5 and +12.5 and totals of over/under 48.5 to over 42.5 and under 54.5.

For this teaser to pay out on a winning bet, the Patriots must win by at least one point, the Cowboys must lose by no more than 12 points, and the total points scored should fall between 42.5 and 54.5. Nothing is paid out on a losing bet if any of these conditions are not met.

While similar, the potential payout for a teaser bet is usually lower than a standard parlay due to its reduced risk.

Tips to Stop Losing

There is no guaranteed method to avoid losses in sports betting completely. However, a thoughtful strategy enables you to make wise, well-analyzed bets, which limits losses. So, even if it is impossible to bet and not lose, using the right approach continually gives you a good shot at winning.

Below are some tips to stop losing and win in the long term.

Don’t Take the Odds at Whatever Bookmaker

Don’t just take odds at whatever bookmaker. Always research various bookmakers and select the one with favorable odds for your bets. It helps you maximize the potential returns for each wager you make.

Take Advantage of the Bookmaker’s Sign-up Bonuses

Bonuses and promotions give you an extra advantage as a bettor. It can be sign-up bonuses, free bets, or promotions where bookmakers refund losing bets under certain conditions. Therefore, you should explore the offers of different bookmakers and take advantage of valuable ones. It boosts your initial bankroll, providing more opportunities for successful bets.

Understand What Value Is

A value bet is a betting opportunity where you believe the bookmaker’s odds for an outcome are higher than the actual probability. As a bettor, you can spot these bets by analyzing bets based on actual probability rather than solely on odds. If a bettor consistently identifies positive discrepancies and places bets with positive expected value, they have the potential to make a profit over time.

You can also capitalize on an “each way bet,” which allows you to bet on a chosen selection to win or to finish in one of the specified place positions (e.g., top 2, 3, or 4). While the win bet offers a higher payout for outright victory, the place bet provides a return if the chosen outcome finishes within the designated places, offering insurance against a complete loss. It means it’s possible to bet without losing money on each way bet, even if a part of the wager loses.

Have a Separate Bankroll and a Staking Strategy

Always set aside a specific amount for betting and determine how much to stake per bet. It ensures responsible betting and helps prevent significant losses and the risks of addiction.

Research the Teams Playing

Ensure you conduct thorough research before making your bets, study team performance, player statistics, head-to-head records, recent form, etc. It enables you to make more informed betting decisions and show the ways to place bets and not to lose.

Losing Bets Should be Expected

Losses are part of betting, so you should expect them. There is no assurance for placing no-lose football bets or any other sport. So, maintain realistic expectations and learn from unsuccessful bets.

Don’t Ignore Asian Handicaps

Asian handicaps are used to eliminate the possibility of a draw. For example, If a team has a handicap of -1.0, they need to win by at least two goals for the bet to be successful. You can incorporate Asian handicaps into your betting strategy to add flexibility to your wagers and mitigate risks.

Don’t Back a Team because You Support Them

Don’t allow your personal preferences to influence betting decisions. Your bets should be based on analysis rather than emotional attachment.

Resilience of Finance

Manage your bankroll wisely and avoid reckless bets to ensure long-term sustainability. For example, if you lose a baseball game bet, do not place another out of frustration or anger. Stick to your budget and do proper research before placing another wager.

Make Sure You Look into the Team’s Recent Form

Consider a team’s recent results, injuries, and other relevant factors. It helps you properly assess the team’s capabilities, enabling you to make wise bets.

Don’t Bet on Something Because You Are Bored

Maintain discipline and bet only when there’s a well-thought-out reason. It prevents unnecessary losses from casual and unplanned bets.

Don’t Bet when Angry, Drunk, or on Drugs

Always bet with a clear mind. Betting under the influence causes you to make irrational decisions, which brings regret.

Importance of Having a Losing Bet Plan

You will not always win, so planning for losses is essential. Set a limit for losses and have strategies to cope. It will help safeguard your bankroll during less successful periods.

Learn from the Best

Although there are no surefire ways to place bets and not lose, some bettors consistently succeed, usually due to their experience and expertise. Study these successful punters and their strategies to increase your chances of winning.

Use More Than One Sportsbook

Don’t get stuck to one betting site: access competitive odds, bonus offers, and services using multiple sportsbooks.

Physical Resilience

Always maintain good physical well-being. Get adequate rest and manage stress properly. It helps you have a clear and focused mindset during betting.

What You Should Not Do

It’s hard to gamble when you lose every bet, so taking precautions is essential. While betting can be a means of making money and having fun, it can also potentially drain you financially and emotionally. So here are some common pitfalls to avoid:

  • Impulsive betting: Betting without proper research increases the likelihood of making uninformed decisions, resulting in more losses.
  • Betting Based on Emotions: Emotional decisions like betting on your favorite team can cloud judgment and lead to losing wagers.
  • Chasing Losses: The “double bet when losing” approach involves increasing bet sizes to recoup losses. It is highly risky and usually results in more considerable losses.
  • Relying Solely on Luck: Relying on luck rather than analysis in the betting world sets you up for failure.

Final Words

Losses are inherent in betting, and you need a strategic approach to handle them effectively. A significant part of this approach is understanding the dynamics of the type of bet you’re playing and the risks attached.

It is almost impossible for bookies paid out on losing bets, but you can minimize losses and manage them appropriately when they occur. To ensure long-term success in your betting journey, research thoroughly, practice responsible gaming, avoid impulsive decisions, and find value bets, among other strategies discussed in this guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What happens if you lose a bet on DraftKings?
    If you lose a bet on DraftKings, like any other sportsbook, the total amount of money you staked on that particular wager will be deducted from your betting account balance. In simpler terms, you will lose the amount of money you staked on that bet.
  • Can you lose money on an each-way bet?
    Yes, it is possible to lose money on an each-way bet. An each-way wager consists of the “win” and the “place.” If the selection wins, both bets succeed. If it places, the place bet wins, providing a partial payout at a fraction of the win odds. However, you’ll lose your entire stake if both predictions are wrong.
  • What happens if you lose a bet on Fanduel?
    Like every other betting site, if you lose a bet on FanDuel, the money you put on that specific wager is taken directly from your betting account balance. The money you placed as a bet is not refunded and goes to the bookmaker.
  • How do you lose a round-robin bet?
    A round-robin bet involves multiple parlay bets with a series of selections, providing coverage and potential returns even if some selections lose. This bet loses if most or all of your selected teams or outcomes do not win their respective matchups. You can also break even if the total winnings in your parlay are equal to your total losses.
  • What happens if you lose a free bet?
    Free bets are promotional offers that sportsbooks usually offer as incentives. Therefore, you do not lose any money from your betting account balance if you lose a free bet. You will not receive any return, but there is no direct financial loss from your funds.
  • How do I win a bet without losing?
    Betting involves risk, meaning there is no guaranteed strategy or approach to ensure 100% success. However, you can improve your chances of winning by conducting in-depth research before betting on any game, practicing disciplined bankroll management, and continuously learning from successful and unsuccessful bets.
  • Why do I always lose bets?
    There are many reasons why we may experience consistent losses. A major one is the lack of in-depth research and analysis of teams, players, and relevant statistics before betting. Recurring losses can also be because you lack sufficient understanding of the sports you’re betting on. Other reasons include emotional decision-making, poor bankroll management, mindlessly following the crowd, etc.
  • How do you bet without losing?
    It is impossible to win without losing in sports betting. Like all forms of gambling, betting involves an element of risk, and there are no guaranteed outcomes. However, you can adopt strategies to enhance your chances of success and minimize losses.
  • Can you lose money on a winning bet?
    You cannot lose money on a winning bet if you avoid unscrupulous sportsbooks. If your bet wins, you’ll get back your initial stake plus the winnings based on the odds and the amount you wager.
  • Can you lose more than you bet?
    No, you cannot lose more than you bet. When you place a standard bet, the most you can lose is the amount you initially wagered. It is the principle of limited liability in betting. It ensures that your financial risk is contained within the scope of your bet.
  • Still have questions?
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Tim E
Betting Guru

Tim is our betting guru. Every gaming site needs one, and Tim’s our guy. He has plenty of experience in betting online and is quite successful at it. Tim’s favorite sports are hockey, baseball, and Esports. Tim believes the latter to be the future of betting.

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