The Pinnacle Pulse - Top 10 Gambler's Resolutions
by Simon Noble - 08/17/2006
The beginning of the NFL season is similar to the start of a new year -- providing a perfect opportunity for players to 'wipe the slate clean' and carry out a health-check on their betting, much like the soul-searching on New Year's Day that results in life-enhancing resolutions. With this in mind, Pinnacle Sports has assembled ten Gambler's Resolutions; but don't worry, these don't involve exercising or giving up beer!
While you may already apply some of these golden rules for improved betting; others may be new to you. In either case, carefully applying this set of guidelines, should help you become more successful betting football.
Top 10 Gambler's Resolutions
1. Get the best price
If you make only one NFL resolution this year, promise yourself to ALWAYS obtain the best available price. At PinnacleSports.com, we offer -104 lines on NFL sides saving players up to 60% of the juice other books charge. Holding an account at Pinnacle will, therefore, save you a fortune during the season regardless of whether you're a professional handicapper or a "weekend warrior".
Put another way, a player has to win close to 53% of their bets just to break even at traditional -110 pricing offered by other sportsbooks. At a low juice sports book like Pinnacle Sportsbetting, you only need to win just 51% of your plays to break even.
2. Learn conversions
Serious players know how often a 3-point home-favorite will win by exactly 3. If they see a spread of New England -7.5 quoted at -104, they can also immediately reason what the fair price is for New England to cover a 7 point spread or any other spread for that matter. Knowing these conversions not only helps you find the best bets, but aids in analyzing props and other markets such as teasers. Many players are long term winners despite applying absolutely no handicapping by simply unearthing opportunities by meticulously studying conversions.
3. Understand the Pinnacle Lean
A lot of sharp players use Pinnacle Sports because of our unrivalled pricing, and their plays tell us (as well as indirectly all other players) which side of a game to be on. Time and again we've seen players track "the Pinnacle lean" and win. The concept is simple: compare Pinnacle's line to other sportsbooks. If the lines are different, you can beat the other book. For example, if Pinnacle Sportsbetting has the Arizona Cardinals -7.5 and another book lists them at -7, the value lies in playing at the other sportsbook. (For a more detailed explanation, look at Pinnacle Pulse Issue 08 from last year).
4. Keep good records
Keeping an accurate track record of your plays can reveal areas of weakness you may not have been previously aware of. You might find that you win in most markets, but consistently lose money in one particular area. For example, you may crush the book on NFL sides, but get killed on totals. A bettor may also flourish at a particular point of the season and be unsuccessful at another. PinnacleSports.com offers clients a comprehensive account review facility that highlights these trends, which can then be corrected, maximized or avoided.
5. Use good risk management
Risk management is perhaps the most misunderstood and undervalued concept in sports betting. If you bet for fun, the average cost for a bet is based on the juice or vig. For example, betting $100 on an NFL game using standard -110 pricing at a traditional sportsbook has an average cost of $5 per game. If you do no handicapping and just play for kicks, betting 100 games at $100 each, you should expect to lose $500 in a season.
Winning players must understand this too. It's possible to be a successful handicapper, but still lose long-term by betting more money than your advantage dictates. A sensible tactic for winning players is to never risk more than 3% of bankroll on any given play and to always shop for the best price.
6. Manage Expectations
Many players bet with no idea of what to expect long term. Some are too optimistic in assessing their capabilities, especially novice players, who plan their retirement on the basis of an early winning streak. In major sports very few players can expect to win more than 55%. If you're just playing for fun or excitement, hitting exactly 50% is a realistic expectation.
7. Select your Sportsbook wisely
Many sportsbooks will offer promotions to encourage new players to sign up. At Pinnacle Sports for instance, new players will receive a 10% sign up bonus worth up to $500 just for trying our service.
The general rule of thumb is that if a promotion looks too good to be true, it probably is. There have been some horrific sportsbook failures and nearly all were a result of unsustainable promotions. If a sportsbook gives a large bonus, lets you buy on/off the "3" for 10 cents, or offers a similar promotion that makes it look "easy" to beat, you're risking getting burned.
As a general rule of thumb, stick to solid sports books that have been established for at least five years. A good starting point for new players is to build a sportsbook portfolio that includes at least one reduced-juice book like PinnacleSports.com, which offers up to 60% better odds than traditional sportsbooks. In the long run playing reduced vig lines at Pinnacle Sportsbook is worth much more than any sign-up bonus.
8. Limit your bankroll
Bankroll is traditionally defined as the amount of money a bettor is prepared to lose before they'll stop wagering. Decide what your bankroll is before the season begins and stick to it. If you hit a losing streak (everyone will at some point), reduce the bet size relative to your lower bankroll. If you haven't thought about your bankroll before, now is a good time. By failing to address this fundamental aspect of gambling you could easily lose more than you ever intended.
9. Define your goals
Whether you're a professional or recreational bettor, give yourself clear objectives. If you're a pro, don't just focus on hitting a financial target, think about how you'll reach it. This might include doing statistical analysis on smaller markets, making larger plays where there's an edge, or just protecting your bank until the season ends. In each case, be sure to identify and remain focused on the goal.
10. Understand why you bet
Different people bet for different reasons. A minority are skillful enough to make a living from sports betting, but the motivation for the vast majority of players is less obvious, even to themselves. Some enjoy the intellectual challenge of analyzing a match-up, while others bet to add excitement to watching a live game. Be honest with yourself about what your motivation is, as understanding why you bet will help you make better decisions.
This is the first issue of the second year of "The Pinnacle Pulse". The first series was well received and assisted a lot of players, but we're always open to questions or topic suggestions on sports betting. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.