How to Win at Sports Betting
Ask any two gamblers how to win at sports betting and they will give you completely different theories. Some teams suggest you’ll win betting the home underdogs, while others suggest you should bet on the teams with the momentum. Many smart gamblers try to find the games with key injuries and find ways to exploit this information to find advantage plays, but point spreads on games with key stars injured are often not released until later in the week, when more is known about an injury situation. Unless you have a reliable inside source with a competing team or contestant, the handicapper is likely to know more than you about injuries.
That’s a common theme for those who want to know how to win when gambling on sports: the oddsmakers have more information. The good thing is you don’t have to be better than the sportsbooks. Instead, you have to be smarter than the other gamblers in the casinos and on the phone making wagers. Because pointspreads and moneyline bets change over the course of the week or the day between release of the odds and the start of the game, gamblers who are better than the average gambler at handicapping games can find spreads which are out of balance. This is when a gambler can gamble at an advantage.
Winning Is Not Enough
Winning 51% of the time is not enough in sports betting, though. Because the vigorish is often a little over 4% of the money you’re wagering, you’ll have to win at a little over 52% rate just to break even in sports gambling. That’s a daunting task, so a gambler has to be real smart about how they pick and choose the games every week (or every day) they want to place money on.
Read the Injury News
No factor in sports is more telling than the injury updates. A team without a star pitcher at less than 100% or playing without its star quarterback just isn’t the same team. Injuries in the NBA have to be weighted even more heavily, because players play both offense and defense. Every year in the NFL, a few teams are decimated with injuries, making them a bad bet under any circumstances. Injuries are one reason teams are so up-and-down from one year to the next in the National Football League.
Even in games like tennis, monitoring the players will the bad backs and knee problems is important. In the hardcourt season, tennis players run on asphalt all day long, which is an enormous strain on the human body. You can track the rise of Novak Djokovic through the injury history of Roger Federer (bad back) and Rafael Nadal (bad knee). The same goes for most any sport. Worse even than injuries which put out a player are the ones which they play through, but renders them less effective. This is a more subtle effect, so any serious gambler should find the best injury news and read through it obsessively.
Betting against Teams and Players
Sometimes, you aren’t so much betting for a player or a team so much as you’re betting against their opponent. Treat sports betting like it’s one of those last-man-standing pools in football. In these cases, you don’t just bet on the best team every week. It’s often better to find the worst team in pro football and simply bet against them, because bad teams are more consistent than good ones.
In other words, spend 50% of your time handicapping teams analyzing the underdog. Does this player or team have a reason they have performed so badly to this point? Do they have prospects for improvement? Have they shown subtle signs of improving their play lately? Are they at home or on the road? Find the reasons why things have gone for the favorite in the recent past and results have gone against the underdog. When you start to search deeper, you’ll find patterns that you didn’t see before.
Find the Best Betting Location
Once you have down the technical side of sports gambling, another important aspect presents itself. Success at sports betting often comes down to thin margins. If you find an online sportsbook which take 1% less on the juice, this can make all the difference. If you find a sports betting site which doesn’t charge large transfer fees or uses better electronic transfer services for their deposits and withdrawals, this is important. Finding websites with the most advantageous welcome bonus and VIP rewards helps lower the cost for you. All of these are important, but one aspect of the money game outweighs all others: finding the best betting lines.
Learn which online sites offer the best betting lines. If you can get an extra point or half-point to the pointspread or you can find a moneyline bet which pays +160 instead of +150, this can make all the difference in the world. Once you start betting, notice how often the final score is close to the pointspread. Often, if you were allowed to move the spread 1 point in either direction, this would make the difference between winning and losing. When you know where to find the most general point spreads and moneyline bets, you’ll be making money just by the choice you make in gambling sites.
Be Prepared for Math
If you don’t like doing a little math, don’t try to win at sports betting. Gambling on pro and college sports involves the crunching of a lot of numbers. People who like to research statistics and extract useful information and trends from those stats are at a huge advantage in gambling on games. When you don’t have a firm grounding in mathematics, all you’re really doing is following hunches and going with your gut instinct.
Be rational and don’t assume your intuition is better than everyone else’s. In fact, this is a way to gamble through fallacy. We tend to remember our wins and want to forget our losses. When we win a bet, we like to brag and boast. When we lose, we’re often ashamed to let friends, family, and (especially) spouses know what we lost. The human mind wants to naturally cover up and forget mistakes, so your memory is flawed. If you don’t think that’s the case, keep a record of all bets, so you can track your wins and losses. You’ll find your expenditures are higher than you think and your losses are more frequent than you assumed. Don’t go with your gut; follow the math and you’ll be on much firmer ground.