Researching sports betting strategy on the Internet is akin to dipping a cup into the Atlantic Ocean – millions of words of advice exist for people looking to gain an advantage when placing bets on sporting events. You’re just as likely to read bad advice as you are to find solid sports betting strategy, at least without some kind of guidance. Every gambler with a website or a Twitter account seems to have a unique sports betting system, some which work, some which don’t. How can you dig through the pages and pages of material written about sports gambling and find the nuggets of wisdom that will actually help you turn a profit? What should you look for in a good sports betting strategy? Broken down into its most basic parts, good sports betting strategy is defined as any system that improves your chances of beating the bookmaker.
Of course, there’s a huge difference between the number of strategies that claim to give you an edge against the sportsbooks and the number of systems that actually work. If you know anything about betting on sports, you understand that a 53% win rate is necessary to make any sort of profit, in order to overcome the impact of the bookmaker’s vigorish. Some gamblers will swear by wager manipulation methods, whereby they raise or lower their bets based on their past performance. Others trust Lady Luck, betting their heart with maybe a little analysis and handicapping thrown in.
The truth is the only way to create a profitable sports betting system is to find a way to consistently overcome the odds against the gambler. No amount of gut instinct or even pure sports knowledge is enough to beat the bookmakers, just like no amount of knowledge of the inner-workings of a slot machine will give you an edge against the machine’s theoretical payback percentage and random number generator. Betting on sports based on your emotions or even your extensive knowledge of a team or an athletic event cannot be considered a profitable system. The only way to consistently beat the books is by using a systematic approach to placing sports wagers.
Systematic Approaches & Betting the Ponies
If you want to see systematic betting systems in action, head to your local horse racing venue. “Betting the ponies,” as they call it, requires a strict system of guidelines in order to win money, like any other type of sports gambling. The reason it’s suggested that you head to the horse racing track to watch these systems in action is because the systems used by successful horse racing bettors are much easier to physically see. If you hit the track a few hours before the races start, you’ll see plenty of gamblers watching the ponies and their practice runs, holding stopwatches to time a horse’s performance across different stretches of track, and even talking to racing staff if they can to get an inside edge.
Consider the difference between these types of bettors and those who show up right before race time and bet on the horse with the cutest name, or even pick a winner totally at random. Obviously, the gamblers that spend time researching the animals, timing their practice runs, and becoming familiar with jockeys and track conditions perform better than random gamblers. The same is true for betting on sports of any kind – create a system that gives you an actual advantage and you’re far more likely to succeed than a punter who bets based on his gut or the picks of a free tout service.
How a Systematic Approach Might Work
For starters, any systematic method for placing sports bets requires bankroll discipline and management. Once you’ve got your bankroll established and can stick to a set percentage of your total gambling budget per bet, it’s time to work out your own system for placing sports wagers.
Your system can really be just about anything you want it to be, as long as that system is based on a combination of research and line-shopping. For example, you might look into baseball stats and find out that Team A wins 78% of the time after any away game which included a rain delay. I made that stat up for effect, but it’s the kind of thing that advantage sports gamblers look for when creating their strategy, similar to the stopwatch tracking of horse racing bettors you can see at practice sessions. Combine your research with an ability to shop for the best possible odds and you’ve got yourself a systematic method for wagering on sports.
This system ensures that you bet only on those baseball games that offer you value. If you know that Team A is likely to win under the right circumstances, based on statistics and research, and you’ve been able to find a cheap line, you’re only wagering when the right conditions exist. Rather than firing off a wager on three or four baseball games a night based on your feelings about a team’s performance or the predictions of a free tout service, your system allows you to identify specific games that have a certain level of value. That’s why systematic approaches work; they provide the gambler a way to lay bets only when it is in his best interest to do so.
Realistically, you’re not likely to find a statistic like the example mentioned above; most likely, your margins will be slimmer and your advantage a little less obvious. But like the guys that hit the horse track early every morning to watch practice runs, the smart sports gambler only lays down money when he sees value, and only does so when his overarching bankroll strategy allows. A system-based approach to sports gambling works best because it works with the mathematics behind sports gambling and not against them.