So you want to win at sports betting, right? You aren’t quite sure about how to do it, though. Plenty of people will tell you that you can only win at sports betting if you are using a complicated model to predict the games. This means that you have to be better than the books. Is this really necessary if you want to win at sports betting? The answer is that not every person does it this way. Some people win at sports betting without developing any complicated system and without putting their math degree to use.
Sports betting is all about the final result. It is all about what wins for you. If you can consistently win by picking games based upon feel, then do that. If you can use line movement analysis to win games, then you should use that. If a combination of different techniques leads to the best result, then that is what you have to do. The idea is to come away with more money than when you started, so don’t let anyone over-complicate it for you. The simple approach can win and there are many happy handicappers who have made it happen.
Sports Betting Central: What is modeling?
When most people hear the term “modeling”, they think of blonde women with long legs and too much time on their hands. For a sports bettor, though, modeling is something completely different. There is a new generation of players in the sports betting world and more of them are turning to math to beat the books. Modeling is the process that they use to come up with lines that are, if all goes well, more efficient than those pumped out by the Las Vegas sports books. So what is this process all about?
Modeling is somewhat complicated and it can’t be explained in anything less than a book. The simple version, though, is that modeling is a mathematical process where players put in a number of different input variables in hopes of producing a line. Players have different methods for how they get to the finish line with modeling, but the basic premise is the same. Many sharp players use models to effectively beat the books in a host of sports. The key is to know which things to put into the model and to work with the best data possible. It’s something to consider for any player who wants to be serious.
What is the Kelly Criterion in sports betting?
To sports bettors today, the word “Kelly” comes up quite a bit. Most players see this term in the context of the Kelly Criterion, a mathematical system that tells players the optimal amount to bet on each game in order to maximize their profit while limiting their risk. Kelly is used by many of the professional bettors, though there are some criticisms of it, as well. The system itself is really quite simple. It begins with the premise that a player should only make a bet when the expected value of that bet is greater than zero.
From there, a player should bet a percentage of his bankroll according to how big his perceived “edge” is on a game. The simple version here is that if your sports betting is very successful for certain picks, then you should be betting more. The less successful sports betting picks should get a smaller percentage of your available bankroll. Though one doesn’t have to completely adhere to Kelly when making bankroll decisions, using a model like Kelly is a smart thing for people who want to get the most out of their bankroll.
Sports betting terms: The square
If we were to review all of the most important sports betting terms, then one would undoubtedly want to begin with the word “square.” This word is important because it applies to many people who lay bets down on a daily basis. In the sports betting world, a square is a person who is laying dead money. The square player bets games that look too good to be true. They bet games that will lose over the long run. Though the square player might have a nice sports betting run every now and then, he is a long-term loser.
The sportsbooks love squares because these people keep their finances in the black. Squares always think that they have something figured out and they are likely to play “systems” that will lose over the long term. As a sports bettor, you goal should be to avoid being a square. You should look for games that appear designed for squares. Bet the other side of those games and let the public chumps lose their cash. Squares are out there, but you don’t have to be one. With a little bit of time and effort, some players can escape squaredom.
Sports betting terms: The sharp
In sports betting, there is an opposite side to the square. The square bettor struggles and he makes silly bets. He fails to recognize good betting opportunities and he is a losing player for the long term. The opposite of this is the sharp. The sharp player is one that the books will fear. He is a player who has one way or another of beating the books. Different players accomplish this goal using different measures, but all sharps have one thing in common. That thing is that they can consistently beat the books into the ground.
The interesting thing about sharps is that they often have the ability to move lines. Because they are winning, these people usually have large bankrolls to bet with. When a sharp player makes a bet on one side or another, the books immediately take notice. For some players, the simplest of bets will shift the line a half point. This is the unique power of sharp players, as they sit on the opposite side of the squares. Becoming a sharp is not easy and a very small percentage of players could be classified as sharps.
The future of the sports betting industry
Some people wonder what is going to happen to the sports betting industry. They have seen the poker industry get taken down in the United States and they wonder whether online sports betting still has a home. Though it is hard to say with any significantly level of certainty, there are reasons to think that the sports betting world is going to be just fine. One of those reasons has to do with flying below the radar. The poker industry did not fly below the radar and it came back to haunt them when the Department of Justice took action.
While poker companies have been out running commercials and sponsoring large tournaments, sports books remain in the dark. Very few of the premium books advertise and thus they do not draw the watchful eye of the federal government. Though you can bet that the government knows of them, the government has no real incentive to target companies that are mostly anonymous to the general public. If you are worried about the sports betting industry, then you should take heart in this. The industry will most likely be fine, as new alternatives will provide players with options.
How to win at sports betting
If this topic seems generic, then you’ve gotten the point. It truly is and the point of this article is to point out that winning at sports betting is more complicated than it seems. Too many players today think that you can answer complicated sports betting questions like this one with a one sentence answer. They want to know the simple, easy way to beat the books. The truth of the matter is that if sports betting were easy, everyone would do it and retire. It is not easy and you will not beat it without a ton of experience and brainpower.
Sports betting is easier to those people who have the math down. If you truly want to have success and beat the books, then you need to know your numbers. You need to use statistical analysis to find holes in the lines. You need to figure out where the market is undervaluing something so that you can exploit that. This is difficult to do if you refuse to use numbers in your handicapping. In addition, you need to have a working knowledge of the leagues so that you can identify league-wide trends. A smart bettor can combine these things and have a chance at sports betting.
Sports betting: Which sport is easiest?
One of the classic debates between those who do sports betting is about which sport is easiest to beat. Everyone seems to have an opinion on this and that opinion usually reflects the last winning season of whoever is offering the opinion. Some people say that you can spot bad lines easiest in college basketball. Many people point to baseball, noting how easy it is to make a profit over the course of the season. The true answer is that it depends. It depends upon you, your knowledge, your strengths, and a host of different factors.
Generally speaking, baseball is the game that provides the largest number of opportunities to bet. It is the sport where there is perhaps a truer outcome for season-long handicapping. You can get lucky and have a winning college football year. It is hard to get lucky over the course of six months, though. If you are worried about variance and losing despite good handicapping, then perhaps baseball is the sport for you. There are certainly opportunities to make money in sports betting on other sports, though. A wise handicapper will take all opportunities where they present themselves.
Sports betting and sample size
Though you don’t have to be a statistical genius to succeed at sports betting, it helps if you understand some of the staples of statistical analysis. One of those staples is the idea of sample sizes. Too often in the world of sports betting, people think that a few data points represent a meaningful trend. They believe that because a team lost two games in a row, that team has gotten worse. The same can be said for individual players who sometimes struggle. People draw faulty conclusions using these small data points, ignoring the wealth of data that is likely at their disposal.
Understand that data is not meaningful unless you have a large sample. How large that simple needs to be is a question that can’t be answered easily. The necessary size of the sample largely depends upon what kind of data you are analyzing. Be conscious of this, though, as you continue with your sports betting. You don’t want to go out and make assumptions using just a few points of data. Make sure that you have enough to really do some hard analysis if that is your sports betting plan.
Sports betting on your own team
One of the old rules of sports betting is to never bet on your own team to win or lose. If you are a fan of a team, then you are undoubtedly biased when you make a bet on that team, right? This doesn’t necessarily have to be true, though it probably is true for most people. If you are going to do some serious sports betting, though, then perhaps you need to think about betting on your own team. Some people have the supernatural power of putting away their biases and analyzing the games on the merits.
Why might it be a good idea to bet on your own team in some circumstances? Well the obvious reason is that no one knows your team as well as you do. For some people who watch a team play every night, they get a good idea of how that team will play. They get a clear picture of what to expect, especially in a sport like baseball where games are played every night. You can use that familiarity to your advantage in sports betting, but only if you have the ability to put away your biases.
The pluses and minuses of prop betting in sports
Some people make a good living just betting props in various sports. This is one of the really good ways to beat the books if you know what you’re doing. Sports betting can be difficult if you are just playing straight lines on big games. But there are some downsides to sports betting on props. The downside is that these bets are usually heavily juiced. This means that you will have to hit a large percentage of these bets to break even. Raising the break even percentage doesn’t have to be a killer, though. If you are good, they can be profitable.
The profitability comes from the fact that so few people bet these games. Because so few people bet these props, the books spend less time making the lines. Likewise, many people who bet props do so for “fun.” If you are doing it to make cash against the market that is doing it for fun, then you have a distinct advantage. It is highly possible to find a sports betting edge with props if you are betting the right props and if you have a solid handle on prop value.
Betting for profit as opposed to betting for fun
In sports betting, there are two different ways to make bets. The majority of people out there are betting for fun. They handle sports betting like an entertainment avenue and they don’t put enough time into making a profit. If you want to be among the sports bettors who make a profit, then you have to treat sports betting a little bit differently. You have to think of sports betting in terms of value.
The thing that separates the for fun sports bettor from the profit sports bettor is a high degree of skill and a long-term plan. The for fun bettor wants to win every bet because they aren’t in it for long-term profit. Even if a bet might have negative expected value, they might still make it because it will win a majority of the time. This leads to them laying odds that are way too short. The profitable sports bettor understands that he will lose on occasion, but this doesn’t bother him. He knows that winning 55% of his games will lead to a ton of money if he bets for long enough. This is the way sports betting should be done.
Maturity and sports betting
One of the most important things that you can have as a sports bettor is patience. Though many players think they have it, they truly don’t. The patient player is one who doesn’t chase his bets when he loses. He is a player who doesn’t feel the need to sweat every bet. The problem with many sports bettors is that they lack the patience that comes with maturity. As you mature as a sports bettor, you recognize that you have seen it all before. You have seen comebacks and you have seen bad beats. Nothing rattles you, so you feel no need to chase bets and make bad decisions.
A good sports bettor will work hard to take a mature approach. Maturity brings a higher degree of planning and analysis. Every bet has a purpose and no bet is made without contemplation. Make sure that you are putting the right amount of time and thought into bets before you put them in. Don’t bet when you are feeling desperate. If you can do this, then your mature approach will most likely pay off. It will lead to a better winning percentage and more profit over the long haul.
College sports v. pro sports
In sports betting, college sports and pro sports are significantly different. Though football is the same no matter where it’s played, the betting markets for these sports are decidedly different. The same is true of basketball. As a sports bettor, understanding these differences is a key if you want to have long-term success. You need to recognize which sport is better for you, as some people favor one over the other. So why are pro sports so different from college sports in the betting world?
The first reason is emotion. People bet emotionally on college sports because those games are charged. People have biases that come into play. Even if they aren’t betting their own team, they have rivals and they have conferences that they favor. In pro sports, the bettors are more likely to bet without this emotion. This means that there are tighter lines and tougher markets to beat. Likewise, the pro sports slate offers fewer games. This means that there are less chances to bet on games where the books might not have put out the best line. It takes a real pro to beat pro sports, whereas college sports provide more sports betting opportunities for mere mortals.
Betting your biases
One of the most important things to do before you make bets is to get a good understanding of yourself and what drives your thinking. If you don’t know your own biases, then you can’t correctly process information and make responsible decisions. Almost everyone knows when they are biased toward their own team. They know that betting on their alma mater might be a bad idea because they are likely to bet the wrong side. Few people, though, recognize that they are biased toward those teams that have won for them in the past.
This is one of the most dangerous things that can happen in sports betting. When a team consistently wins for you, they become your adopted team in a way. This means that you will make your sports bets on them too often without even knowing it. You end up favoring this team subconsciously based upon the past. The idea in sports betting is to predict the future. Though the past can be helpful for pulling this off, you must never let the past have too much control over your sports betting. Understand your biases toward certain teams and this will help your bottom line.
Sports betting bankroll management: How big is too big?
One question that I am regularly asked by sports bettors has to do with bankroll management. People who want to do flat betting will ask me what percentage of their bankroll they should be laying on each game. They want a nice, tidy number so that they can consistently make that bet for the entire season. The answer is that you should bet based upon your own needs and your own risk aversion. Still, there is a suggested number that you should use in guiding your decision on how much to bet.
The smart bettor will not bet more than 3% on any one game. That is a very high number, as well, since many people suggest not betting more than 1% or 2%. The answer largely depends upon how big your bankroll is. If you are working with a $100,000 bankroll, then 3% is a large bet. For someone with a $500 bankroll, it’s not such a big bet. Some people settle on 2%, as this is a standard in the sports betting world. Anything in the 1% to 3% range can work depending upon how good you are and what your bankroll needs may be.
When flat betting makes sense
For many people today, the focus is on efficiency. They want the most efficient result, so they set out to find it and to bet that amount. They want growth and they want to do it while minimizing risk. This is all well and good and it makes sense from a sports betting perspective. For some people, though, flat betting is still a very good idea. These people include those individuals who have a hard time quantifying their edge. Unless you know exactly what your edge is on a given game, it can be hard to use the Kelly Criterion. If you flat bet, you have more consistency.
Another good thing about flat betting the same amount for each game is that you can go on cruise control. It takes the discretion and the decision making out of the equation. For people who have emotional issues in their betting, this can be helpful. It can help them to not chase their bets and it can make sports betting easy. If you have these sorts of holes in your sports betting, then you might try flat betting as a way to keep things on an even keel.
Upside and downside to playing futures
Many individuals like to make bets on futures bets in the sports betting world. There are some reasons why this is good and some why this is bad. The reasons for betting futures are pretty simple to understand. Futures are nice because there is often a lot of value in the early lines. People can make these bets and enjoy a season’s worth of fun without having to constantly put in bets. Likewise, future bets have potentially large payoffs, so people like them from a sports betting perspective.
The downside, of course, is that your money is tied up for a very long time. You have to essentially invest that capital for a certain period of time before you get it back, so this an take away from your ability to profit over the long run. If you could have used that bankroll to go out and make much more, then it is a bad bet. Likewise, there are lots of sucker bets that people get trapped with when playing futures. The downside is enough that many people like to stay away, opting instead for a sports betting approach that maximizes their bankroll’s use.
Should you fade the public?
In the world of sports betting, there is this feeling that if you fade the public, you will always come out ahead. This is not always true, though. Fading the public is a good strategy for the long term, but you should understand that there are some definite pitfalls to this kind of strategy. The most obvious is that the public wins every now and then. If you are going to use this strategy, then you should use it in conjunction with some other approach. You should have a handicapping approach and then look at what the public is doing. It is not good to be with an overwhelming public favorite, so avoid those games.
Fading the public on big, televised games can be a good approach, too. When the game is on ESPN and there is a lot of money being wagered, chances are good that the sports book is putting a lot of emphasis on that game. They don’t want to lose, so chances are that they put out a good line. In those games, fading the public can be a very profitable sports betting strategy that you absolutely must give a look to.
Developing your sports betting identity
As a sports bettor, you need to develop your own identity. In sports betting, people have different styles and different ways of doing things. There are many ways to get to the goal, which is winning money at the end of the year. You need to come up with your own way of getting to that goal. In order to do this, you might use the approaches of a number of different people and you might combine them to provide the best possible result.
Some people are good with stats. Some people are good at understanding line movements. Other people have solid, inside information and put that to use. The smartest handicappers are those that develop an identity that combines these things in some way. Whatever you choose, it is important to get familiar with your methods. Get familiar with the process and become an expert. If you can do this, you will find a lot of success in sports betting. You will learn what to look for and you will learn how it impacts your ability to win. A person who doesn’t take this approach is bound to win less money over the long haul.