How Does One Become A Good Sports Bettor?
In an industry that revolves around numbers, stats, odds, lines, trends, days of the week and everything in between, gambling requires a handicapper to have just enough luck to take over when the skill part of the equation lets them down. Sports betting is such a complex creature that we are all striving to understand in order to turn a profit. And despite it being around for an extended period of time, not many have mastered the art of gambling.
If you look at sports betting in its absolute purest form, it's rather quite simple. You are trying to determine which team will win and which team will lose. It's literally a 50-50 proposition (except in sports that offer up tie options). Unfortunately, with the way the sports betting industry is set up, and with the endless amount of betting options available, it can become overwhelming to new bettors who just free-wheel and bet on everything and anything without any legitimate reason.
If you asked any handicapper with even the slightest bit of experience, they will tell you that the key to becoming a successful handicapper is believing in the work you put in long before the bet you put in. Whether that be creating power rankings for each sport, creating your own lines and comparing them to the Las Vegas odds, or finding certain trends and situations that you can track and follow in order to determine whether it's a good or bad spot for team X. Sports betting is just like any other hobby out there. The more you work at honing your craft and understanding what works and what doesn't, the better you will become at it and in turn the more you will enjoy it.
Now, before we get into the hundreds of possible ways you can get better at sports betting, I must restate the fact that not many have yet mastered the art of gambling. Each handicapper has their own unique process, and there are no right or wrong methods. Also, it's important to note that every handicapper strives to be consistent. If you hit the 53 percent mark over the course of the NFL season, you will have turned a profit. Sure, there are always going to be hot and cold periods, but you must not deviate from the research you accumulate on a daily basis throughout the season.
You must also have great discipline when it comes to your bankroll . I wrote recently about how having a plan for your bankroll is crucial to sports betting and that is essentially step one in becoming a good sports bettor.
Sports Betting Strategies to Deploy
Specializing in One Sport
It's one thing to be a good handicapper, but it's another thing to be a great one. From my experience in the industry, I've come to find that the great handicappers often devote most of their focus on one or two sports and do the bulk of their winning there. To take it a step further, some handicappers will become experts on the smaller conferences within the college basketball landscape and just hit winner after winner. The reason being is that the college basketball landscape is huge. With hundreds of teams and with a sport that plays on a nightly basis during the season, there is not enough time to handicap every single team/game. Instead, narrowing the focus down to one conference with 10-12 teams will allow you to use up most of your time studying those specific teams and getting to know what makes each team tick.
Winning a bet in the Sun Belt may not be as glamourous as winning a bet between two Top-10 teams, but you're still going to get paid. Specializing in one sport should help you turn a profit over the long run, but it doesn't mean you have to stop betting other sports/conferences completely.
Fading the Public
"Vegas wasn't built on winners". It's a saying as old as time, and it could not be more accurate if it tried. Las Vegas was built on the backs of losing tickets courtesy tourists with no sports betting skills and the rest of the sports betting public who enjoy betting with their heart instead of with their head.
During the NFL season, one of the best betting strategies to employ is called "fading the public". This is a method that involves betting on games where one team is going to be heavily bet on by the betting public and then bet on the opposite team. For example, let's say the Dallas Cowboys are taking on the Detroit Lions. The Cowboys are supposedly "America's Team" and are going to be heavily bet on. The sportsbooks know this well in advance and tend to inflate the point spread all the while knowing that the Cowboys will still be bet.
Instead of following the herd of sheep to the slaughter house, you should steer clear of the Cowboys and take the Lions and bank on the inflated line to come through for you.
This strategy does not guarantee you a win, but it is always better to be on the houses' side because the house generally "always wins" over the long term.
Create Power Rankings or Personal Lines
This strategy requires a handicapper to devote a lot of energy and time to researching a bunch of key factors before putting together their own power rankings or point spread lines. Power rankings is a sports rating system that analyzes the results of sport events to provide a rating for each team. Every handicapper is likely to have a different set of power rankings for each sport since one handicapper might favor something like strength of schedule over recent results. However you determine your power rankings, these rankings will constantly remind you how you really feel about a team when it comes time to pull the trigger and place a bet.
To take it one step further, handicappers also utilize a formula to help create their own personal lines in advance of the sportsbooks releasing their lines. Handicappers feel like this is the best way to determine if they have a similar vision to that of the sportsbook. If they do, then their research and data is paying off and they are one step ahead of the game. If not, they will need to re-evaluate why there is a discrepancy between the two and tweak their research method so that it doesn't happen again. Creating your own lines serves as a starting point in the never-ending journey to find a line that has value in order to turn a profit.
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