Sports Betting Hints
by Trevor Whenham - 08/23/2008
Whether you are a new sports bettor or a seasoned one, chances are pretty good that you're getting excited about football season. For many people, baseball season is too long ad monotonous to keep their attention, so they keep their betting money mostly in their wallets until football season rolls around. That leads right into college basketball and the heart of the NBA season, and before you know it it's summer again. If you are one of those people who needs to get themselves into, or back into, betting shape again, here are eight sports betting hints you will want to keep in mind; they could be the difference between a winning season and an expensive one:
1. Don't drink and bet - It's not as bad as drinking and driving, but it's close. There is nothing better than sitting down with a beer or three to watch a game, but make sure that you have made your bets before you imbibe. Drinking will make you think you are way smarter than you are, and it could lead you to make bets you'll eventually regret.
2. Don't over-react - How many times have you automatically written a team off because one of their star players got hurt? And how often have they won anyway? There is nothing more costly than making a knee-jerk decision based on big news. The oddsmakers see the news, too, and they will often set up the lines to trap people just like you. Don't let them - think about everything that is involved in a game, not just the big story in the news.
3. Ignore the experts - Terry Bradshaw was a great player. So was Howie Long. Tony Kornheiser is fun to watch. Their jobs, though, are to entertain, not to make betting decisions. They will have opinions, and they might be right, but you won't be a successful bettor if you try to let them do your work for you. If you are going to let talking heads do your homework for you then you might as well just burn your money in your fireplace.
4. Don't forget the spread - It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the most favored teams will normally win a high percentage of their games during a given season. Winning is meaningless in the world of sports betting, though. It's covering the spread that matters. The Patriots, in 2007, only covered two of their last eight games even though they didn't lose a game all season until the Super Bowl. That's because the public blindly threw their money at them without looking at who they were playing and what the spread was. Sportsbooks laughed all the way to the bank. Don't make the same mistake.
5. Shop around - Football betting is so popular that the lines are often tight. That means that they are pretty much where they should be, and there is no advantage to one side or the other. In order to make money over the long term, then, you need to shop around among different sportsbooks to find the most advantageous line possible. Lines can vary by as much as a couple of points from book to book for a given game, and those couple of points could be what you need to win.
6. Manage your money - You can't win if you have no money. Even more important than picking winners is managing your money. There are all sorts of approaches to money management, and I won't get into the best and worst here. Just make sure that you are using some sort of approach, that you are following it when things are going well and when they are going poorly, that you are only betting a small portion of your bankroll on each game, and that you are betting money that you can afford to lose.
7. Look where the crowds aren't looking - The more money that is bet on a game, the harder it will be to win on that game. The extra attention to the game means that the line will be accurate, and it will be harder to find value. Instead of jumping on the Monday Night game like everyone else, then, try looking for better opportunities in games that the public will ignore. Try betting on an early Sunday game between two bottom-feeders, or look towards college football and a lesser conference to provide a game that will be mostly ignored. If a game isn't televised, or is only covered regionally, then it won't be bet as heavily. If you stay off the beaten path and do your homework you'll find you have an easier time of winning.
8. Understand your biases - I am a huge Michigan fan. I know that I'm completely incapable of having an objective opinion about the Wolverines. Instead of fighting that, or throwing my money away, I just don't bet on their games. Period. I don't need to bet on them to be interested in them, and my fandom will blind me to the things I need to see to make a good betting decision. There are still lots of games out there to choose from. If you have similar situations then recognize them and deal with them.