The reason most sports gamblers become sports gamblers in the first place is due to their love of sports. That’s just how it works it seems. No one begins to wager on sports as solely a financial opportunity. It all begins with the fact that they love sports and follow it every day. They have their favorite sport, their favorite leagues, and their favorite teams. One thing leads to another, and these super fans finally say to themselves, “Hey, I can make some money here,” and jump into sports betting headlong. There is nothing wrong with this approach, and it’s the best way to learn the ropes of gambling. After all, no one sits down at a blackjack table in Vegas with no idea how to play and, if they do, they’re about to learn an expensive lesson.
The Truth is…
Knowing this is an important factor in sports gambling as it directly affects the lines and odds. “Sports fan” is short for “sports fanatic” and the sportsbooks and oddsmakers know this better than anyone. Many who bet on sports think that the odds and point spreads are made to handicap a sporting event. There is a favorite and an underdog and the favorite will give a few points and the underdog will receive a few points, and it will all be just about even. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Point spreads are set by oddsmakers to entice you to gamble. They’re not handicapping the match, they’re using the match as a means to a financial end: to get your money. The same applies with moneyline odds. These odds aren’t set to establish just how much better one team is over another. They’re set to provide an incentive to sports bettors. The oddsmakers know that most sports gamblers have this perspective and use to their advantage.
Don’t Take the Bait
All successful sports gamblers will tell you the same thing: You must find the value in a sports wager. “Value” the key word you’ll hear a lot in sports gambling circles. A value bet is one where the financial reward is worth the financial risk on any given point spread or moneyline. Basically, it’s a “good bet.” Of course, for every good bet there is a bad one and learning the difference is what separates successful sports gamblers from broke sports gamblers. Don’t take the bait as all sports bets have the potential to be nothing more than bad bets.
There are many factors to consider when finding value for a good bet. The odds, the point spread, and the line movement all come into play. Then you have the game itself. The matchup, the weather, and the injuries are all factors to consider. This is the type of thinking it takes to be a successful sports gambler. While it sounds like a lot to consider, which it is, it is easy to learn, and the first step is to stop being a fan and start being a gambler.
How to be a Gambler
The first thing you should consider before placing any wager is the payout. This is where all successful sports gamblers start. They spot a matchup that intrigues them for one reason or another and immediately look at the odds. The odds are the best indicator of a good bet or a bad bet.
Let’s say the Pittsburgh Steelers are 10 point favorites against the Cleveland Browns. Historically speaking, this point spread makes sense. However, the payout is not the industry standard on point spread wagers -110. It’s -120 for this particular game. That’s another 10% more juice going to the sportsbook. What does this mean? Well, since we know that lines are created to entice people to bet, it means the oddsmakers know that the 10 points is a good number to bring in betting action and that changing it anymore one way or the other will hurt that incoming action. They also know that the Steelers are the better team and will probably cover those 10 points. So, instead of moving the point spread, they move the odds on the point spread payout, thereby projecting themselves if the Steelers cover the point spread. This makes it a good bet for the sportsbook but a bad bet for the sports gambler. This also means the Browns payout with the 10 points would have moved down to EVEN. The oddsmakers are showing their hand here and, therefore, in this scenario, the Browns plus the 10 points with an even payout is the good bet.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Just like anything else with doing, it takes practice. Fortunately for sports gamblers, you can practice for free every single day by simply opening up your morning paper and checking the odds of every game being played. If you are serious about sports gambling or are looking to be, we encourage you to practice. Don’t lay another bet until you take one week off of putting down any money. Research and make your picks calculating your wins and losses along the way. Consider all of the factors and find the good bets while eliminating the bad bets. If you can do this for a few weeks at a profit, start using your bankroll. If not, practice some more. It will take time but remember, you’re a sports gambler, not a sports fan and you are here to make money. Quit taking the bait on bad bets, find the value, and count your cash.