If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then you’ve already received numerous tips about how to profit from sports betting. Many of these were tailored to specific sports, although we did cover some general information as well. But with all of this information being thrown at you, it can be hard to keep track. That is why we have decided to write a six-step guide on the basic tips you need to establish yourself as a solid handicapper and begin making a profit.
Note that this guide will not contain all of the information we have previously covered, nor will previously covered information account for all of the steps below. Instead, the main goal is simply to cover six of the most beneficial steps that we have identified, and put them in an order that will allow you to follow them. We will not be covering basic terms (such as the “juice”), and we will not be covering all of the information that we have covered before in our three beginners’ guides on baseball, basketball, and football.
Instead, what follows will serve as more of an outline for success. You should still remember the advice that we have given elsewhere, but you should incorporate it into the strategy below if you wish to truly maximize your chances of winning your plays. By following this outline, you may even find over time that you are able to develop the knowledge and skills possessed by many professional bettors. If you enjoy sports betting, and if you enjoy making a profit (which we believe you probably do), then it is worth taking the time to absorb this knowledge. Bearing that in mind, let’s get started.
Step One – Do Your Research
The first step is something that we actually have covered in our beginners’ guides, and fairly extensively at that. If you want to profit enough to beat the Vegas oddsmakers, then you are going to need to heavily research each game before making your bet. Even if you have not read our previous articles, you can already gain some insight into what type of research might be necessary. It should be fairly intuitive that you would want to know the various stats of each player, as well as each team as a whole.
But there is so much more than this. Our beginners’ guides did a decent job of covering the different types of stats that you are going to want to know for each sport. For instance, if you are betting on baseball, then you are going to want to know if the starting pitcher has gone against the opposing batters before, and how each fared when they were matched up against each other. When betting football, you should know each team’s offensive and defensive style, and how their opposition tends to play against similar styles. This is similar to figuring out player match-ups in basketball, which you are going to need to know for every NBA game you bet.
But there is so much more than that. In our look at professional NBA bettors, we covered the importance of knowing how each team plays away and at home, and we mentioned that some teams perform much better when they have a solid fan base and a reason to be determined. Determination is relatively intangible, so you can’t really find stats for it. It’s the kind of thing that you’re only going to know about if you actually watch the games and follow sports news. Note, however, that this factor tends to play a bigger role in explosive games like basketball and football than it does in baseball.
But that does not mean that there is less research to be done when betting baseball than when betting basketball. After all, basketball is played indoors, while baseball and football are both outdoor sports. This means that you are going to want to know two things. First, you are going to want to know a little bit about the stadium. Some football domes are not as susceptible to weather, and you need to know whether they are open or not. You also need to know the forecast, and how the teams you’re wagering on have performed in similar conditions. Heck, sometimes it doesn’t even come down to temperature or wind conditions; some players might simply do better in day games than in night games. Again, this knowledge is a little easier to come by if you have actually watched their games.
The other important thing to remember during this first step is to be careful where you get your research. When we wrote about pitfalls to avoid when betting the NFL, we mentioned that some bettors tend to hold certain outlets for sports news on a pedestal and assume that they are never wrong. And if you are just looking for stats, then you might be onto something. But you will inevitably see a newscaster or writer for ESPN, Fox Sports, or other outlet who is telling you which team is going to win and why. They might not be factoring in all of the appropriate stats, and they are almost certainly not concerned with the point spreads, so try not to put too much stock into what they are saying. Besides, who cares if they are right? It’s more rewarding to do your own research, anyway.
Step Two – Find a Sportsbook
The second step is also something we have covered at length, but it is going to be a very important part of your process when trying to maximize your profits as a sports bettor. If you read our article on picking the right sportsbook for you, then you already know that where you choose to place your bet can be almost as important as the team on which you choose to wager in the first place. Making the wrong decision can be problematic, to say the least.
As we covered in the aforementioned article, the first thing you want to look for is the numbers. You do not want to pick a sportsbook that places an outrageously high emphasis on making their money back on the juice while offering hardly any cents over 100 when betting the underdog. You also do not want to pick a sportsbook that seems to be gung ho about setting spreads that are next to impossible to beat. If this is the case, then they are likely hoping for their bettors to wager on favored teams while still losing their bets on the impossible spreads that have been set.
We also covered a bit about making sure that the sportsbook operates in a fashion that will benefit you. If you have not read the aforementioned article, then we can boil this concept down into two things. First, you should check to see if they offer decent membership bonuses. Second, you should make sure that it is as easy to withdraw funds as it is to deposit them. It should be stated that the second concern holds a bit more weight than the first. There are some sportsbooks that will gladly offer you extra funds to bet with, because they know that you will not be receiving your withdrawals for weeks on end.
This all goes back to the article on Vegas oddsmakers that was linked in Step One. Sports betting is an industry, and you have to remember that if you want to make a solid profit. Even in today’s more progressive age, there are some who still maintain a stigmatized view on sports betting because they think every sports bettor is just some schmuck who will be taken in by any offer of free money. But you are better than that, and you know that in order to beat the sportsbooks, you cannot risk putting your money in the hands of a sportsbook that has been designed to be unbeatable.
That is why you should never go in half-cocked. Always read up on the sportsbooks you are considering, and compare them to a fair number of others before making your decision. If you choose the wrong sportsbook, it will not necessarily hurt you. In fact, if you make the right bet, you might even still profit. But how happy will you really be with those winnings if you know that they could have been even greater, or that they could have gotten to your bank account a little faster? A little extra research is worth it to avoid this type of bettor’s remorse.
Step Three – Choose a Wager
Before you can choose a team to put your money on, you need to know what type of wager you are going to be making in the first place. Are you going to be placing a normal bet on the spread? Are you going to be checking the over/under numbers to see if you should try your hand at totals play? Maybe you have a good feeling about this one, and you’re thinking of putting your cash down on the money lines.
These are all fine. Where it gets tricky is when you try to do more than make a straight bet, thinking that you can game the system. If you read our most recent article, then you already know that parlays and teasers can be incredibly difficult to pull off, and even winning at them will not yield as great a return as you might hope. You might think it’s fun to try betting more than one team at a time every once in a while, but don’t try it if you can’t afford a major loss right now.
We’ve also talked a little bit in the past about even more questionable strategies, such as middling and arbitrage. You can learn more about these in the beginners’ guides that have been linked above, but to make a long story short, these are strategies in which you bet twice on the same game (usually at different sportsbooks) to try and nab an assured win. But even if you win, there are some risks here as well.
First of all, the most you’ll generally win on these types of bets is the difference between the lines at each sportsbook. This might be as little as ten cents on the dollar. Second, as we discussed a bit above, you don’t know how quickly you’ll be getting your money back. At least on a straight bet, you usually have quite a bit of money coming to you when you finally receive it. But do you really want to tie your money up in ventures just so you can get a measly ten bucks back? For someone who’s trying to win as much as possible, it seems a little counterintuitive. Third, you have to bear in mind that arbitrageurs are not generally respected in the world of sports betting. If you use these strategies, you risk being banned by any sportsbook who figures out what you’re doing.
In short, whether you are placing a straight bet, engaging in totals play, or even making some prop bets (another type of bet which can be fun but should not be overused), you are probably better off avoiding any complicated and elaborate strategies. Not only are they not as guaranteed as you might think, but picking the wrong strategy can even soil your reputation as a bettor. If you enjoy betting as a hobby and don’t want to ruin it for yourself, then try not to do anything fancy. At least not too often.
Step Four – Decide on a Bankroll
You know how there are some crazy sports fans who will spend all kinds of money on a jersey, just because it happens to have their favorite player’s name and number on the back? Well, sports bettors can be just as crazy. They’ll see their home team playing a game, and they’ll bet way more than they usually would. Whether they’re doing this out of fandom, blind faith, or just plain avarice is irrelevant. Either way, they’re risking a lot of money on a win that just isn’t guaranteed.
You do not want to be like these bettors. And in order to avoid even risking the chance at becoming one of them, you need to have a set amount that you are willing to bet each week before you decide to call it quits. After all, as we have said many times before in previous articles, you might do all of the necessary research and place a reasonable bet at a reputable sportsbook, only to find yourself on the losing side of things. It’s simply the risk that you take.
Also, when you consider that you generally need a success rate of between 52% and 55% to be profitable in the world of sports betting, it becomes clear that you could easily lose multiple bets in a row. Even successful bettors encounter this type of bad luck every once in a while. If it happens to you, then the last thing you want is to be putting down more money than you can afford on each bet. This is why deciding on a bankroll has to be done with care.
When selecting an amount for your bankroll, you want to strike a balance. Obviously, you want it to be high enough that you will make some decent profits when you win. But you also want it to be low enough that you will not wind up in debt if you lose. This means that you need to go through your personal finances and do a little bit of accounting before selecting an amount. Since we would recommend a weekly bankroll, you will need to divide any monthly expenses by about 4 to see what your weekly finances are like. Figure out your weekly paycheck and how much of this goes toward bills, food, gas, and other major expenses. Also make sure to account for entertainment and any other expenditures that you spend money on in the course of an average week.
You might think that the money left in your paycheck after subtracting the above numbers is your bankroll, but not so fast. Bear in mind that life sometimes throws you a curveball, and you might wind up with emergency expenses due to auto repairs or (heaven forbid) visits to the ER. Now, you arguably shouldn’t be betting while these things are going on. But you still need to have some padding in your bank account when emergencies arise, and losing your bankroll the week before you hurt yourself or get into a car accident could put you in an unfortunate financial position. That means that after you have figured out what is left of your paycheck minus expenses, you might want to only take anywhere between 10% and 50% of that number and put it toward betting. This is the safest way to formulate a bankroll that you can afford.
Step Five – Divide Your Bankroll
Deciding on a bankroll is a worthless endeavor if you have not put forth any effort in figuring out how to manage it. Think about how much athletes get paid each year. Now think about how much their teams are really worth. Do you think these teams would be able to pay their star players as much as they do if they weren’t managing their money well? In much the same fashion, you cannot wager as much as you might like on bets that you are confident about if you have been throwing your bankroll around like crazy without any regard for upcoming opportunities.
Now, we have a system by which we like to figure out how likely our plays are to yield a profit and then allocate a certain percentage of our bankroll toward the bet in question. If you make use of our handicapping consulting services, then you will notice that even the bankroll suggestions we give for our Diamond Selections (the plays in which we place the most confidence) tend to max out at 10%. You may wonder why we wouldn’t suggest putting your entire bankroll on these plays, and the short answer is that this simply isn’t a responsible way of managing your finances.
Also note that our Diamond Selections are not formulated through gut instinct alone. Not only do we put a lot of effort into handicapping each game and deciding on the best plays, but Diamond Selections are chosen when each of our handicappers has assessed the stats individually, and we have all come to the same conclusion regarding a game’s outcome. Since you are operating on your own, you should not be allocating more than 10% of your bankroll to any game unless you are following the plays we have given you. You might stick to an average of 5%, or even lower.
Now, that does not necessarily mean that you will always be betting between 5% and 10% of the exact same amount. First of all, if you are a winning bettor, you might wind up with some extra money in the bank and find yourself able to increase your overall bankroll a little bit the following week. But you might also adjust your bankroll according to hot and cold streaks. This may or may not be a good idea, depending on a mixture of strategy and fate.
Basically, some bettors will bet more when they have been on a cold streak, hoping that they can make up for their losses. But this is just a terrible idea, and many bettors end up losing money because of it. Conversely, successful bettors might press their bets, factoring their winnings into their bankroll with each subsequent bet with the hope that they can reap more and more. This sometimes works, but do it at your own risk. Worst-case scenario, you will wind up breaking even. So as long as you are betting less than usual after a loss, you should not hurt from betting more than usual after a win. Just be responsible, and never allow fear to get in the way of solid bankroll management.
Step Six – Don’t Go It Alone
In the above section, we provided you with a link to our packages page, as well as a page that will tell you about our handicapping consulting services in a bit more detail. If you followed these links and read the above paragraphs about how our Diamond Selections are formulated, then you already know a little bit about the quality of services that we offer. What you might wonder, however, is why you would need such services if the above steps are already helping you to increase your profit margin as a sports bettor.
This is an excellent question, with more than one answer. The first is simple; you are not going to learn all the skills you need to become a professional sports bettor overnight. Each of the above steps sounds simple, but actually takes quite a bit of practice. When it comes to assessing stats, you are bound to overlook a few key factors in the first few games you try to handicap yourself. And things like choosing the right sportsbook, deciding which team to bet on, and learning how to manage your bankroll—well, these are all skills that require a level of intuition that comes with a great deal of practice.
While you are learning, it wouldn’t hurt you to have a helping hand. You might be the biggest sports fan in the world, but that does not mean you will just naturally know how to call the right plays. If you do happen to have this skill, good for you. But most average bettors will not, so it will be advantageous to have a service like ours to lean on. You do not have to make the plays we suggest, but you will profit in the long run if you do.
Not only do we have handicappers with years of experience, but we also make use of up-to-the-minute information that can be integral when handicapping a game. We are able to make solid and educated guesses about how a team might respond to a potential last-minute injury, and we know what influences the directions in which lines move leading up to game time. We use every resource at our disposal when making our plays, and we use our knowledge of betting and bankroll management to let you know exactly how much you should bet.
If you are at all skeptical about using a service such as ours, then try our week-long free trial and check out some of the promises that our service has to offer. Our handicappers would never recommend you make a play that they would not be willing to make ourselves. And we wouldn’t be able to offer you this service if we were not successful, so our promise is one that you can rely upon when unsure of who to bet on and how much of your bankroll to wager on your team of choice.