When one first approaches either an online sportsbook or one in in a Las Vegas casino, it can be a bit overwhelming. First things first, we suggest that you become familiar with sports betting terms so you can understand our lingo/jargon in this article as there is sure to be some that will have you wondering "what!"
Ok, now that your familiar with some of the terms you may encounter, lets move on!
Before we get down and dirty with tips and advice, we'd like you to go into this with the frame of mind that sports betting is a marathon, not a sprint. If your looking to get rich quick you've come to the wrong place. It isn't going to happen betting on games. Believe it.
So you wanna bet some games. Are you going to make your selections blindly based on what you read in the newspapers or hear on ESPN? Initially, this is probably how most bettors start. This is also how most bettors lose. If your going to bet on sports and break even or even get a sniff of winning, your going to have to handicap the games. This is sort of like stock picking. You wouldn't blindly buy a shares in a company without looking at their past statistics and performance, right?
Sports handicapping consists of many different variables. There is no real right way or wrong way to 'cap games either. What works for one guy may now work for the rest. However, there is some common ground that we must all consider if we want to be successful in picking more winners than losers.
For starters, you will need to be patient. While the bookie puts out every game on the board as a "bettable" game, there are very few games that offer value. You only want to be on a game in which you feel that you have an overlay. (information and odds in your favor).
You must be very well disciplined. Avoid playing games in which your favorite team or favorite player is playing. These factors and can will skew your vision and created a biased opinion which will end up costing you.
Check out stats on how both teams have played lately. See who is hot and who is cold. Break it down even further by figuring out what players are hot and which are cold. Do this for approximately the last 5 games in baseball, 3 games in basketball/football. Also know how teams do on the home vs. the road.
Other factors to be heads up for include checking lineups before the game starts to make sure key players aren't sitting, injury reports, weather and more. You will see lots of trends and angles on the web, but don't make a play based solely on that info. What happened years ago really has no bearing on what happens today. It's very rare in professional team sports that one team "owns" another as well, so beware of those type of stats.
To read more on this issue, check out our sports handicapping section.
Bet on bad teams! Yes, you read that correctly! Good teams win, bad teams cover. It's all part of the public perception game that the bookie plays when he puts out the days/week's lines. Beat him at his own game.
Avoid betting on too many games. The sportsbooks are forced to put out lines on each and every game, you however have the advantage over them because you aren't forced to bet on every game! While it's fun to do so for "action" reasons, it's murder to your bankroll.
Avoid sucker bets. You wouldn't bet the big 6 or big 8 at the craps table because they don't give you odds. Well why would you bet a sucker bet where the odds are stacked against you in sports betting? Namely, we're talking about avoiding gambling on teasers and parlays. Their fun but hard to beat.
Watch for line moves. If there is significant movement in odds or point spread, there is a reason. Often times it's a lineup issue but other times it may be that one side of the game (one team) is getting pounded with action so the odds makers are moving their lines accordingly to try to make the other side attractive to bettors to jump on and bet. Find out the reason why the line moved and if it's got good reasoning behind it, consider betting it yourself, but not if it's moved too much.
Your a one man gang. You can only hunt and read through so much crap in a day. Wouldn't it be great if you could get together with a group of guys each day and compare notes? Well you can and for every sport! Check out our sports betting forums which are filled with sports wagering enthusiasts just like yourself sharing info and picks with each other!
Lastly and most importantly, you will need to know how to manage your bankroll. Don't bet the whole thing on one game unless your a thrill seeking action junkie who is ok with losing it all. Don't bet it all chasing losses you have incurred either.
Your average bet should be no more than 2-3% of your current bankroll. This means that if your bankroll is $1000, you shouldn't be betting more than 20-30 dollars on any one game. You are going to hit highs and lows while gambling. You need to be able to sustain the bad times and stay afloat, hence the importance of managing your loot correctly. You wouldn't get your paycheck and go blow it all on the first day would you?
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