Sometimes people have a tendency to gloss over anything labeled “the basics”. They assume that they already know all of “the basics” and that all of the information must be below them.
The problem, though, is that when we say basics, we don’t mean like baby steps basic. A more apt title could be important fundamentals or the building blocks of an effective and profitable betting strategy.
What are we trying to say? We’re urging you to take a few minutes and read through this section regardless of how seasoned of a sports bettor you are.
In our experience, we find a lot of very successful bettors that are missing big fundamentals that could make them that much more profitable.
If at the end of this “basic” strategy guide, you’ve learned nothing new or haven’t at least solidified the fundamentals you already know a bit more, then you can take us off your holiday card list. We are pretty confident, though, that you will get some if not a lot of benefit out of reading through this and taking it to heart.
Do Not Over-Complicate Betting
We wish we knew who was responsible for creating this issue so we could quickly correct them and get them to start spreading the correct information. For some reason, sports bettors and basketball bettors feel that the only way to make a profit and be successful is by using the most complicated of bets.
They feel like the simple bets must have worse odds and are only there for the recreational bettors.
This. Is. Not. True.
The odds for EVERY bet are set according to the likelihood that the sportsbook thinks they are going to happen. You get no special “pro” odds or anything like that from using the more complex type of bets.
Whether you believe it or not, there are tons of professional basketball bettors that only use the most simple type of bets available and make a killing doing it. Betting is not about proving that you can bet the most confusing bets that sound the coolest to tell your friends about. Betting is about making correct picks and finding value.
Does this mean you should never use the more complex bets? No, it doesn’t. They do have their time and place if you need to make some sort of a strange bet where you see value. The takeaway is that you should never bet on things that you don’t understand 100%.
The second takeaway is that you really never need to dive into the more complex bets if you’re good at finding value and making correct picks with the simple bets. There are no special or better odds no matter what anyone tries to tell you.
Don’t Let the Betting Public Control You
If you’ve ever turned on ESPN or read any newspaper, you know there are thousands of analysts who have their strong predictions and can guarantee that they are right about every game.
The thing is this. If they were that big of experts about how games would go, wouldn’t they quit being an analyst and just bet basketball games all day every day and be rich and happy?
The point is that analysts are paid to speak like voices of authority. They’re not paid to be wishy washy or just give some basic thoughts. They’re paid to convince you of their points and picks, much like a lawyer trying to win a case or debate.
They also are extremely prone to “stories that sell”. The underdog story or the comeback story will always be pushed hard and will cloud the judgment because it makes for better TV. All of this will permeate into the betting public, and the uneducated bettors will latch onto these stories and opinions like they are gold.
Because of all this, you need to be skeptical about the media and the betting public. Who do we mean by the betting public? We mean family, friends, people at the bar, people at the sportsbook…anyone that has an opinion about who is going to win a game or how the game is going to go can be considered the betting public.
We’re not saying that you should ignore them, but what we are saying is that you need to make your own picks and predictions and only use their information and opinions when it is completely necessary.
There is a reason that sportsbook managers laugh at the betting public. It’s because the majority of people are losing bettors and a few sharp big money bettors make all of the profits.
Group think is your enemy when it comes to sports betting and betting on basketball.
Bet What You Know
Let’s say you are an expert on Golden State Warriors basketball. You know everything about the team, and you can expertly predict how all of their games are going to go. You’re a Warriors betting savant. When it comes to the rest of the NBA, though, you’re just a mere mortal.
Why on Earth would you EVER bet on anything other than Warrior’s games? If you’re just a recreational bettor that is only betting for fun, then disregard this. You can make all the silly and fun bets you want; just don’t expect to be profitable long term. For some bettors just looking for fun, this is ok.
If you’re looking to be profitable, though, you need to stick to what you know. If you need more action, bet more on the games that you’re sure of. It can be tempting to branch out but only do it if you can be profitable without sacrificing your current profitability.
This also goes for the types of bets that you are making. Let’s say you’re really good at predicting the winners of games, but not the best at over/unders and prop bets. Why would you make any sort of bet other than picking winners?
Stick to what you know if you want to be profitable.
ALWAYS Double Check Your Betting Slips
This is one that we like to include as much as possible in as many spots as we possibly can. Why? Because it can be the costliest mistake you make and the most painful to deal with. Imagine this scenario with us for a second…
You place a bet on the Orlando Magic to win by six points. The game comes down to the wire, and the Magic are up by 5. They hit a last second shot to go up by 7, and you win your bet! You go to the casino cage to cash in your ticket, and the agent says,
“Sorry, this ticket is not a winner.”
What?!!! You look closer and realize that the ticket was punched in wrong by the agent who took your bet.
Thankfully the casino will refund this for you, right?
Wrong. You are out of luck.
If you had caught this at the counter and said something right away, they would have corrected it. But now that you have walked away, you are at the mercy of whatever is on your ticket. If you take one thing from this article, take this; check your tickets every time you make a bet.
This is one of the reasons that we advocate placing your basketball bets online. YOU are the one who gets to key in your bets, and you can review them right away to make sure they are correct. If there is an issue or you accidentally make a mistake, you don’t have to get back in a line to get it sorted out. You can pull up live chat right away and get it taken care of.
A good user interface will make your betting much easier online and help to prevent you from making any incorrect bets or mistakes.
Still, no matter where you bet, always check your betting slip right after it gets confirmed.