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Golden Rules 1

The intention of this website is to provide you with sound advice to help you achieve the best possible yield from your betting. Each individual sport chapter will contain advice you will hopefully find useful.

Here, though, are some general principles that should stand you in good stead regardless of the sport you are betting on.

BET WHEN YOU WANT TO BET

And not because a betting opportunity is just about to begin. Your best bets will be struck when you come across a proposition that appeals to you. Your worst bets will be struck because you are rushing to get on before it is too late. For example, you should bet on the FA Cup at the third round stage only if a scan at the best available prices throws up a team you consider to be overpriced, not because it is five minutes to three on the first Saturday afternoon in January and you feel you ought to have a punt on the competition simply because you always do.

Spend anything more than a matter of minutes in a betting shop environment and the point will be hammered home to you. The majority of punters are not betting because they have studied the form and have unearthed a horse that fits their selection criteria. They are betting because the next race is about to start and are hastily scampering to the counter to get their slip through the scanner before the stalls open.

They are not making considered rational choices and are unlikely to be successful.

On the flip-side of having a bet for the sake of it, never commit the equally cardinal sin of not backing something you fancy.

We have all done it - watching in horror as something we intended to back wins without a penny piece of ours riding on it.

"Oh no! I was going to back that," is the usual lament. I remember saying that to a punting pal, fishing for sympathy, and was met with the following withering response: "Why didn't you, then? Did the police stop you?"

I felt two feet tall and vowed never to make this stupid error again. Not backing a winner is far worse than backing a loser.

SELECT THE BEST WAY OF MAKING IT PAY

There are now so many ways of backing the same player, team or whatever that it almost seems to require an advanced mathematics degree to be able to work out how your fancy will earn you the maximum profit if successful.

You might, for instance, think Newcastle have a good chance of performing well against Liverpool. In which case you can have a straight win bet on them, side with them on the Asian handicap, back them on the double-result, have one or more correct score bets, lay Liverpool, buy Newcaslte's supremacy, buy their win index, buy their shirt numbers supremacy, buy their performance index, or sell the time of their first goal. And you would still have other options.

Familiarise yourself with the various different types of bet, weigh up the potential upside and downside and, above all, stake sensibly and in a way that accurately reflects your level of confidence in them.