This covers most major types of bets, and should certainly get you through the basics of what you need to know. Any information you are looking for that is not covered by the above regarding various types of wagers will likely fall far outside the purview of a beginners guide to sports betting such as this one.
But who are the people setting these lines in the first place? More importantly, just how do they operate? Well, usually, sportsbooks will open their lines fairly early. Things start to change, however, as more and more bettors make their plays. As we have mentioned before, the oddsmakers have to make sure that approximately equal numbers of bettors are betting on each side of the line if they want to make sure that they make a solid profit from the juice.
As bettors make their plays at the sportsbooks, the bookmakers look to see which side is getting more bets and adjust the lines to try and lure more bettors into betting on the side that has been neglected by comparison.
Once the sportsbooks begin to achieve a balance between bets on each sides of the lines, they will likely start to raise the betting limits. Of course, not every sportsbook will follow this exact same strategy. Some sportsbooks might not alter their lines too much, while some may try to influence bets to lean toward one side rather than trying to strike a balance. It all depends upon the goals of the bookmakers and how they think they are likely to make more money.
Some will also engage in a practice called shading, which is basically inflating the value of the team they expect to be more popular with bettors. There are a lot of chalk players out there, bettors who will only wager on teams that are favored by the sportsbooks. These types of bettors make it easy for sportsbooks to shade their lines, because they know that these players will pay the extra juice for the promise of reduced winnings, rather than taking a chance on the underdog.
It should be clear by now that the sportsbooks have it figured out in terms of how they can be most profitable. Your profits may start small, but will grow into something bigger over time. We already told you about chalk players in the section above, and you might notice that the way we described them kind of made them sound like fodder for the sportsbooks. Now, do you think that they would have sounded that way if they were constantly just rolling in the dough?
There is no such thing as a set winner, and you may notice that the decimal lines we gave you when we were looking at no-juice lines in the above sections were much closer than the decimal lines we gave before factoring out the vigorish. Some sites that specialize in giving advice to those with an interest in sports betting have suggested tracking your plays for as much as a full year before deciding whether or not you think you have the edge that it takes to be a profitable sports bettor.
To be a truly profitable sports bettor, you have to check a few things when tracking your picks. First of all, you want to see how your picks fare in comparison to the opening lines set by the sportsbooks, not just the closing lines.
Bear in mind that the lines shift over time, so the opening lines are more indicative of what the sportsbook was actually expecting from each team. When tracking your bets, there are a few more specific stats you will want to note. The first is your ROI, or return on investment. Divide your profits on a bet by the amount you put into it, and you will see about how much you are making on an average play.
You will want to look at your ROI for individual wins, but you also want to see the profit you have made over time compared to how much money you have put forth in general since you began your foray into sports betting. You also want to see how often you are beating the closing line. Do not just look at how often you have beat the closing line, but also figure out the average for how many times you have beaten it compared to how many times you have wagered.
You may not fully understand this as a beginner, but the frequency with which a handicapper is able to beat the closing line is a reflection on their skill level, as it is unlikely that they are beating the closing line often by sheer luck alone. Some will give you other useful stats such as your Z score, which predicts your possible rate of success in the future. You definitely want a service that offers this stat. Another stat that should be offered by the service you choose to utilize is R-squared.
It is a bit difficult to explain mathematically, but basically you are looking at consistency. Consistency in your win rate also allows you some leeway in terms of bankroll management. If you want to make sure that you really have an edge when it comes to sports betting, then your pick tracker should offer this stat.
Do some research and figure out which service you like most, focusing on services with stats such as R-squared and Z scores. We have already written a number of articles on which stats you must heed when betting on various sports, most of which were linked in the intro to this guide. Look around at some of our articles on various sports, and figure out which stats you need to be researching in order to make the best plays you can. And if that sounds like too much work, then ask yourself the following question….
We linked our packages page at the beginning of this guide, but there are things that you need to know about us and really about all handicapping consultants if you are going to bother using our services to begin with. If you can afford the help of consistent winners such as ourselves then we recommend you take advantage of what we have to offer, but you might still want to know a little bit about how we work. Now, while we and many of our competitors may occasionally mention win percentages, we already covered above that these percentages do not have to be too high to be profitable.
You will be working with a low sample size, but it will still be helpful to have these numbers. Of course, another major thing that you will need to look at is the sheer price of the service you are planning to use.
If you have looked at our packages page and have tracked some picks using our free trial , then you already know whether or not we are the service for you. But, in fairness to you, we should suggest that you do not pick a package that costs more than the amount you have in your bankroll. Remember that you will not always get your payouts immediately, so even winning with such numbers can feel a lot like losing in the short term.
Remember that truly successful sports bettors often make profits that are relatively small, but still worth the effort they have put forth. Someone promising to profit from just about every play is trying to sell you lies because they think that you are either irrational, inexperienced, or both. And while we maintain that this is a much less exciting way to bet, there are some benefits to it.
If you want to trust the service you are using, you might want to refrain from watching most games for a while. Your emotions during these games may cloud your judgment. Go by the numbers, not by how you felt when watching the games. This can be true whether your plays are winning or losing.
If you win numerous times in a row, you might think that you can push your streak, whereas losing too many times in a row may cause you to become reckless out of desperation.
The last thing we want to talk about in terms of profitability is the sports on which you choose to bet. It is highly unlikely that a bettor would ever manage to beat the closing line on every single game like this, but this will still provide you with an idea of how profitable each sport can be.
As such, these are the sports for which we read the following numbers. In each sport, college bets seemed to offer greater profitability. Bets on college basketball games were also more frequent, with a sample size of compared to the NBA sample size of For college football and the NFL, the sample sizes were and , respectively.
Again, the sample size was much larger for college games. The sample size for NHL bets was , which is again higher than that of pro or college football. However, bear in mind that these numbers were not figured with the assumption that the hypothetical bettor would win every play, merely that they would always bet the home team. So you can potentially expect greater returns, but that does not mean that one sport is not still technically more profitable than another.
This simply gives you an idea of which sports are most popular for bettors, and which ones offer the greatest potential ROI. If your bankroll allows you to bet quite a bit over the course of a month, then you might be able to clean up pretty well by following all of the plays we give you. There are a lot of issues that must be taken into account when trying to decide upon the best sportsbook for you. In fact, there are so many issues to take into account that we recommend you familiarize yourself with more than one book.
Most online sportsbooks also offer various bonuses for signing up with them. Such bonuses may include anything from a free trial to even a few free plays, allowing you the potential to make a bit of money without having to risk anything. This can be incredibly useful if played well, and will allow you to start making returns before you have made any type of investment. You want to do your research when looking at sportsbooks to ensure that you are getting the best bonuses possible.
However, one of the most important bonuses that you will want to look for is reductions on the juice. This may not be the most common feature offered by most sportsbooks, but you can find it offered by some if you look hard enough. Finally, remember when you are researching sportsbooks that you should be doing just that: Do not just look at a few sportsbooks and decide which ones look the best, but actually look around online to see what people are saying about the books in question.
If people are saying that the sportsbooks are great about allowing you to deposit funds but take forever to allow you to withdraw your winnings, then you might want to go ahead and keep looking for better options. You can use them if you want, but you are doing so at your own risk. Also bear in mind that not all user testimonies are real. You may not always be able to tell, but hopefully your instincts will serve you well. And you can be forgiven for this, because the lines offered by various books are often pretty comparable.
The difference seems negligible. But, those seemingly negligible differences can still pay off over time. This is why you benefit from comparing lines and placing your bet at the sportsbook that offers less juice.
Your bank account will be all the better for it. If that describes you, then you want to stick to pretty low percentages of your bankroll on each play. However, if you can crunch certain numbers, then keep reading for a much more commonly accepted strategy in the world of sports betting. The Kelly formula, more commonly known as the Kelly criterion and also known by a few other similar names, is one of the most widely accepted rules in the world of sports betting. At least, as far as bankroll management is concerned.
If you use the Kelly formula often, you will come to understand why the above section on flat betting advised you to keep your bets relatively low in terms of your overall bankroll, even if you were fairly certain that you were going to win.
Well, if you plug those numbers into the Kelly calculator linked here , it will actually tell you not to bet at all.
This should give you an idea regarding just how precise the Kelly formula can be. You may wonder why these numbers are differing so greatly, and the simple answer is that the Kelly formula operates through a relatively complicated equation that figures out your potential payout in terms of your implied win rate.
And the whole thing might be going over your head, which is extremely forgivable considering how much it can complicate your sports betting. Well, you can understand all this a bit better if you take a look at expected value. To get expected value for an underdog bet, you multiply the implied win rate by the number you get if you divide the line by , and then you subtract the inverse of the win rate.
The numbers we gave you for the Rangers would make this equation. You can see the difference by running the favored numbers as well. The equation for expected value is the same, only you switch the with the number at which the line is set. However, the change we made to the implied win rate resulted in.
Expected value is what you might gain from a bet on average if you were to repeat it every time you placed a bet. Expected value is often considered alongside another statistic referred to as expected growth, which is even harder to explain. What, then, should you be learning from all of this?
Point spreads and money lines are used to indicate one team being favored over another. Of the four major North American sports, point spreads are the dominant form of betting on football and basketball, while money lines are the preferred method for baseball and hockey because of the limited scoring in those two sports.
When betting with a point spread you are wagering that a particular team will win or lose by a certain amount of points. This pays out even-money minus the vigorish, or bookmakers take, which we will later explain further.
To better understand how point spreads work let's look at a typical NFL oddsboard:. If the final score happens to end up exactly on the number it's a tie, or 'push,' and you get your money back. These are examples of 'side' betting with a point spread. There are also 'total' wagers that refer to the total amount of points scored by both teams. Reading baseball and hockey lines can be a bit different.
When using a money line you are betting which team will win outright, not by a specific amount of points. The money line system requires more money to be risked on favorites and gives higher payouts to underdog players. To better understand how money lines work let's look at a typical Major League Baseball oddsboard:.