Sports Betting 101: Lesser-Known Sports are Where Profits Lie
by George Monroy - 5/28/2014
By the time the participants of a recent UFC on Fox event made their way to the octagon, the underdog Matt Brown was receiving nearly +200 odds against his Brazilian foe, Erick Silva. Brown proceeded to blast through his talented opponent in a gutsy performance that catapulted him into title contention in one of the UFC's toughest divisions.
The results, and the fact that an underdog won, weren't all that shocking-that can happen on every card. What was shocking, however, was the fact that Brown came in as an underdog in the first place. Brown was not a well-known fighter to the general public, but any mixed martial arts fan who followed the sport closely knew how highly-regard he was in the MMA community.
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Most fight fans expected Brown to be a heavy favorite that night, and many were shocked and upset that he opened as such a big underdog. But sharp bettors were joyous about the number and likely made a killing.
Is There Value in Betting Lesser-Known Sports?
Those odds beg the question of how the oddsmakers could be so wrong with a line, and that leads to the bigger issue of whether or not there is more value in betting lesser-known sports.
Most sports bettors spend their time gambling on the big-three American sports, football basketball, baseball, and may even dabble wagering on a hockey game or boxing match from time to time. Yet there seems to be hidden value in understanding, becoming an expert, and wagering on niche sports.
Some times we tend to think that the oddsmakers are infallible and never make mistakes, but the truth of the matter is that they can get spreads wrong too. How much attention are the huge sportsbooks really paying to the WNBA or an untelevised preliminary fight for a small UFC card?
The point is that a bettor's bankroll could profit from adding smaller sports to their regular routine of betting-I am not suggesting that gamblers stop wagering on the NBA or NFL, but simply to diversify their sports betting portfolio.
How to wager on a sport you do not know
Returning back to the Brown odds, the hardcore MMA fans knew a +200 line was ridiculous for a fighter who should have been a favorite. The simple truth is that the oddsmakers got the line wrong. But, the savvy sports bettor and hardcore MMA fan is not necessarily the same person, and because of that oddsmakers did not suffer for their mistake.
Yes, the linesmakers know about the stars in every sport yet may not have the time or manpower to follow the up-and-comers in the women's basketball, tennis, or boxing. And that is where a savvy bettor will find his edge. The best way for a bettor to wager on a sport he does not know much about is to simply begin following it. Many betting concepts and tricks of the trade transfer from sport to sport. A home underdog with a positive moneyline or receiving points is always a tantalizing wager in nearly every sport.
The biggest reason to bet these niche sports, however, is to find bad lines. And one way to do that is by looking for underdogs that are receiving too big of a price. Handicapping the good teams or best players in a sport is easy because the media heavily covers those angles. A person who has never seen a watched a minute of golf could tell you about Rory McIlroy of Phil Mickelson.
Even though golf is not the most bet sport in the US, wagering on a Tiger Woods line might not produce the best value. However, knowing when a player like Bubba Watson is playing his best golf or that a young up-and-comer like Jordan Spieth might be ready to step on the big stage and win a major could be huge boon to your bankroll.
The point of all this is that knowing everything about basketball is great, especially for those water cooler moments at the office. However, becoming an expert in niche sports could be a great place to make extra profit in an area that most people are ignoring.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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