1. Sports Handicapping – Doing Your Homework
As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, research is one of the foundations of any betting system.
When you handicap a game, you are looking for a spot that provides you an edge over your sportsbook’s pointspread or odds.
This could be anything from interpreting a stat differently by looking inside the numbers or knowing that teams from the Pacific Time Zone have lost 63.7% of their games played in the Eastern Time Zone since 2006.
You handicapping shouldn’t solely rely on one or two trends. Your plays should be made after thoroughly dissecting a match-up.
Every sports bettor has their own style and method when it comes to handicapping.
2. Limit The Number of Plays
The reason you handicap a game is to narrow down your bets to the teams that you believe are the most probable to win – and win you money.
It is extremely hard to win a 12-team parlay. Hell, even a three-teamer can be difficult.
Sportsbooks know that the odds are against you the more game that you pick. That is why they give such nice odds on parlays.
To increase your odds of winning, you want to narrow your picks between one to five picks per day. Remember, the more games that you bet, the more you have to win to maintain a profitable winning percentage.
3. Setting a Bankroll
Think of a bankroll as an account – your betting account that is.
To eliminate any stress about losing money, the money in your bankroll shouldn’t be associated with any necessary living expense (rent, insurance, mortgage, car payment, etc). This money is strictly for placing bets. Any other money is for your everyday living.
If you can’t afford to have a bankroll, you probably shouldn’t be betting.
4. Use Betting Units
The foundation of bankroll management is the betting unit. While there are different philosophies when it comes to units, I stick with the very basic.
I define a unit as simply a percentage of your bankroll that you place on each bet you make.
By placing the same bet size on each game, you limit your risk of the juice or vig eating away at your winnings and bankroll.
You place three $100 bets and win two, you will be up $90 ($100 + $100 – $110).
It never seems to fail that the game you were most confident in ends up as a loser. If you unloaded on that feeling and lost, it could wipe out the winnings of the other two winning picks on which you bet less money. There is nothing worse than losing after winning 66% or your picks.
5. Shop for the Best Spread & Odds
A sportsbook’s spread and odds for a game are essentially an opinion.
This opinion is designed to split the incoming action from their players equally on both teams. When there is too much action coming in on one side, the sportsbook will adjust the line.
Since each sportsbooks set their own lines and their players might play heavier on one team than another, you can often find lines and odds that that are more valuable to you depending on the bet you are looking to place.
If you have only one sportsbook account, you are locked into their pointspread or odds. If are like me and have accounts at four or five sportsbooks, you might be able to find a line of -4 at one sportsbook when another has the team listed at 4.5 point chalk.
6. Enjoy the Game
Since you aren’t stressing over the possibility of losing your mortgage or car payment, you can actually enjoy the games that you bet.
While it is always better to win, no one wins 100% of their bets. Knowing that you only risked a small percentage of your total bankroll allows you enjoy games and know that you have more money to make other winning picks or battle back after a bad day.
7. Save Your Winnings
If you have a big payday, don’t rush out for a nice dinner or buy a new toy. Hold back any urge to splurge until the season is over.
You want to keep all the money in your bankroll until the season is over. You never know when you are going to run bad. Once the season is over, go ahead and enjoy your new riches. But I would suggest that you keep your original bankroll for next season.