There is a saying that you can’t win them all. However, you can certainly win more than half of them if you play smartly and unless the game is rigged, it is highly unlikely that you would have the edge over the sports books. The right time to bet may be when you need the most value for your money. Yet, most people have a misconception about value and that is why they lose.
If you want to win, you should consider four fundamental issues:
- When you have the edge.
- What the players you are betting on do.
- How the public rates the teams.
- How the lines performed in the past few seasons, especially the ones that got “mushy.”
In the first three items, you already have a decided edge. In fact, you may be at even odds with the bookies. They set the lines, but you beat them at their own game. The point is, you may be facing a worse than even chance of winning the bet. At a minimum, you need to bet them some money.
If you want value, you are looking for situations that produce a better than 50% probability of a win. At a minimum, you should bet a team in a situation that would give you 52.4% or more value on the money you risked. For instance, you bet on the NBA without knowing anyone’s opinion on who will win the series. You bet on the NBA All-Star game without hearing anything about the players except their levels of performance. Chances are you will have a 50% probability of winning, but you are going to have the risk of going home early because you did not bet smartly enough.
If a team is expected to lose, the odds-makers will shorten the odds for you to bet on the losing team. That just means you will have a better chance of winning the bet than you would have had with an expected win of 52.4%. In this situation, you would be making a good bet. However, for the books, they don’t make money if you bet at the wrong time, so they compensate for that by making you pay more for the bet. That’s how they make money, and that’s how they stay in business.
- What the public thinks of the team is a good indication of what they think the chances are that they will win. If the public overwhelmingly expects a win by the team, the odds-makers will try to induce a lot of money to bet on the other team. If the public is confused about the team, you might still win if you bet on them, but you are going to have a tough time making the payout.
- The average fan will bet for their favorite team. You should bet against your favorite team if you want to win, but that is a lot of money to lose. Just making the odds match your team’s predictions, you are risking more than you will win.
- If you think a team is going to lose, betting against them is a lot more trouble than betting for them. This has been proven by the fact that most people who bet for their home team win, yet most people who bet against their favorite team lose.
- Do not turn into a fan. When you bet for games, you are betting objectively. If your favorite team is playing a game that you think they will lose, you bet against them. However, if you want to bet for your favorite team to win, you need to feel motivated to make the right bet. If you let your bias towards this team become a hindrance, you will find that you lose bets that you should have won.
The bottom line is that you need to bet objectively and if possible, bet for games that you know nothing about. Thus, using your knowledge as a fan of this team will also help in increasing your chances of winning.
The rule of thumb is that if you are not sure, bet against your favorite team. Just as you do with your favorite team, bet against them. This way, you stand to win extra money. However, if you are unable to bet against your favorite team, this proves that your are incapable of betting objectively.