Winning money over the long haul when betting on sports is notoriously difficult. If people won all of the time, Vegas would have a lot fewer mega hotel/casinos being built. There would be a lot fewer “experts” that would tell you how to bet. You wouldn’t need help from blogs like this.
In short, sports betting is difficult because it is so unpredictable. Sure, some people may get 9 out of 10 picks correct; but I could also flip heads on a coin 9 out of 10 times as well. When it comes to the spread, the sportsbooks have all of the same information that you and the experts are using to make their line.
So, how are you supposed to get an edge? How do you hit that magical 60% winning percentage that will start to make you money over time?
There are a couple of basic tips and some keys to achieving this type of success. Here are some things that you can do to help yourself.
Spread vs Money Line
The spread is more of a 50/50 type of proposition. The money line is more accurately described as risk vs reward. You have to ask yourself what you are looking to do with your bet.
Money Line Bets
The money line can make you money when you pick the easy winner 9 out of 10 times. However, if you bet a lot of money on a heavy favorite, it only takes one bad bet to cripple you. Let’s say that you bet on a team which is -500 ($500 to win $100) on the money line. You may win that bet 5 straight times and lose once.
While it may seem like you break even in these cases, it won’t feel like it psychologically. You will be more inclined to make more risky bets to make up for this unexpected loss.
On the other hand, you may want to bet on an underdog to win straight up. Unless you have some kind of clairvoyance or know something specifically that makes a large upset likely, you should avoid making any kind of significant bet (more than 1% of your bankroll) on a team that is +400 ($100 to win $400) or more.
It might feel good to predict that one upset and win a lot of money; but how often are you going to lose before you get that one? If it is more than 3 times, you should just avoid those types of bets altogether.
You should only be betting on the money line if the favorite is -350 or less or if the underdog is +300 or less. Otherwise, you should bet on the spread or don’t bet at all.
Picking the winners against the spread is more difficult than picking the winner straight up in many cases. However, you don’t stand to lose as much when you get a pick wrong. You can make the losings up easily by getting the next prediction correct.
Any spread bet is more or less a coin flip 4 out of 5 times. There is the occasional game that stands out where the spread does not make sense. More often than not, you can get an edge by finding these matchups. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. You have to take advantage of situations as they arise.
Picking the Correct Team
Statistical matchups, trends, injuries, historical records, weather and good fortune all play a part.
The statistical matchups that you want to look for are one team’s strengths matched up against another team’s weakness. This can be team statistics or individual matchups where there is a clear advantage one way or another. In football, examples would be a team with a good running game vs a team with poor run defense, or a great passing attack against a poor secondary.
Trends would include how the teams have done statistically over the previous sample of games played. Other trends could be how a team has done against comparable teams in the recent past.
The major injuries or inactive players will change the dynamics of the game. Let’s take a look at last week’s game between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers. Calvin Johnson was declared out for the game on Friday. This was a clear sign that Detroit was going to lose on the road, which they did. Usually, injuries aren’t this clear cut; but when teams are decimated on the offensive or defensive lines, this can lead to blowouts when the matchup is right.
Historical trends tend to hold up over time. You can’t use this as the sole indicator of which team will win. But, it can be a big pointer in the right direction if other factors line up.
Bad weather in sports that are played outdoors leads to poor offensive performances. Games that might have been a blowout will be much closer. A TD lead in football can sometimes be insurmountable in games with driving rain, gusting winds, or in the blistering cold.
Some teams receive good fortune throughout the season and some teams will always find a way to lose when the situation presents itself. This is one of the trends that are often overlooked. Since we are picking on the Detroit Lions, lets take a look at how they played last year. They finished 4-12 and lost 8 straight games to end the season. They found a different way to lose all of the close games.
Don’t Get Frustrated When You Lose
It’s easy to get upset when you lose 3 or 4 bets in a row. You just need to accept that no matter how well you research and no matter how confident you are that you will have losing streaks. You just need to make sure that these losing streaks don’t get the best of you.
The easiest way to go broke is to throw good money after bad. This means placing a wager that is way to high in order to make up for your losings. Best case scenario: you win and get back to even, which leads to you placing risky wagers again when you are down. Worst case scenario: you get into a downward spiral until the losings are too much to recover from. You either have to stop or much worse will happen.
Being disciplined is the key to limiting your losses. Stick within your betting limits. If you have $1000, don’t bet more than $50 per game; otherwise a losing streak will wipe you out. If you lose more than $200 in a day, stop wagering for the day and reorganize yourself for another day. Do more research and try again with a clear head.