Your number one priority when it comes to sports betting is reaching sustainable profit. Every person who is a fan of both sports and gambling wants to enjoy the process, but whatever route gets you to profit consistently is going to be the one to target.
This can cut into the entertainment aspect at times, but acknowledging that every winning bet won’t always necessarily be one that you like is step one to cutting out biases and enjoying winning more than the sport itself.
That’s the plan, at least. It’s often easier said than done, while it takes years to formulate the right betting strategies: getting the timing down, and knowing a sport front and back to the point where you’re able to truly master (and even appreciate) the grind.
While that’s arguably the case, there are still a number of sports betting strategies you’ll want to consider implementing, whether you’re a veteran grinder or just getting started.
One Sport Master
The number one sports betting strategy is one of restriction. You might know a lot about several different sports, but truly mastering any one sports betting genre takes years of wins and losses.
Instead of spreading all of your bankroll across every sport every night, restrict yourself to one sport at a time. This allows you to really dive into the daily news cycle, which should open the door to value that not everyone else sees.
The idea here is two-fold:
Master the Sport
Master the Wagers
It’s one thing to really have a sport down, front and back. It’s another thing to be able to consistently take your knowledge and insight and apply it to specific wagers and profit from it.
To go blindly into several sports and try to do that on a daily basis HAS to keep you from maximizing your profit. You’re just one person and can only stretch yourself so thin, after all.
Unless sports betting is your full-time job (and possibly even if it is) you won’t have enough time to figure out the appropriate betting strategy for every wager in every betting genre.
Over time you can mix things up as you wish, but if you’re just starting out or finding yourself struggling, simplifying things by mastering one sports genre is a great idea.
Bet Against the Public
There are a number of sports betting strategies to consider, but one of the best is actually using the public mentality in your favor.
This is often done by betting solely on favorites and grinding out a collection of small wins, but if we go against the public then we open ourselves up to loads of upside.
One major caveat here is that the public tends to roll with the favorites and more often than not, favorites win. That being said, it’s up to us as the bettor to figure out how, why and where the betting public is getting a wager wrong.
If the Patriots are massive -450 favorites and we can get the Buccaneers at +1000, we need to turn over every stone and wonder if there is logic that supports taking Tampa Bay.
The betting public is riding the Patriots in this spot, so we need to consider how and why this bet wouldn’t go the way that Vegas is proposing, or the public is betting.
The sportsbooks have to win somehow, right?
They create these massive lines and if the action is super heavy on a big favorite, we get an awesome chance to win.
If the Pats lose and all the action is on them, the books are probably at worst breaking even or winning big. If you’re in on the right bet (against the public) at the right time, you could triumph right along with Vegas.
The big takeaway here is that the American betting public doesn’t know everything. Just because a line is created and stands, doesn’t mean it should be what we end up seeing.
Instead of latching on with the public or blindly betting with/against it, consider all aspects of each matchup and formulate your own lines to get a good idea of where you stand.
Gauge Line Movement
While we always want to be paying attention to how the public looks at bets, we also want to constantly be on top of the oddsmakers and how they’re scoring a game before it starts.
Injuries, rotation changes, weather and an assortment of factors can contribute to sportsbooks adding or shedding points to various matchups.
This is a huge reason why it is often good to only track a handful
of your favorite wagers on any given day or week.
That will give you fewer outs, but it also limits the potential impact of not seeing value increase or decrease on the fly.
In this case, we’re assuming you’re very clued into the way Vegas acts, and that’s to adjust lines in their favor when anything big happens.
Just like how the top sports betting sites will lock a wager until an injury or suspension gets cleared up, they will also adjust it the second they have a good feel for how major news will impact how the public bets.
Reacting to line movement is obviously something we need to do constantly. But that’s just reaction and not really a strategy.
The strategy is predicting or gauging this movement before it even happens and placing your bets accordingly.
A great example is with NBA betting, the lines are released early in the day and once injury news floats out later, the lines can be altered.
If you have a pretty good feeling Stephen Curry won’t be playing due to a sprained ankle he suffered the night before, you can assume the lines will tighten if/when he’s inevitably ruled out for the next game.
If you’re sold on Curry being sidelined, that hurts the Golden State Warriors. If you were previously on the Warriors as a safe grind-it-our bet, you’re probably going to sour on them a bit (although now you might get them at a more palatable price), while the absence of Curry undoubtedly makes their opponent (say, the Nuggets) a much more enticing underdog pick.
The point here is before Curry is ruled out, the Warriors are still going to be huge favorites (something like -300) and when it’s made known he won’t be playing, the line will undoubtedly tighten. The idea is to pounce on the Nuggets before that line moves so you can maximize your betting value.
If you were always planning on betting on the Warriors and still like that wager even with Curry on the bench, you would then wait for the line to move and then bet on the Warriors, as planned.
One way or another, you want to pay attention to which lines could move, how and why. Once you can answer that and start to predict it, you can take hold of your own perceived value and increase your profit based on line movement before it even takes place.
Shop for Value
Value hunting is incredibly key in sports betting. As we’ve discussed, lines will move, and we always want to be on the prowl for this movement and how it can positively impact us.
We also just want to find the best lines from the start, as well as the best sports betting sites that are going to offer us the most bang for our buck. On top of that, wherever we put our money, we want that site to be a reputable, safe and rewarding spot.
The real angle here, of course, is getting as much value as we can, based on site competition.
No matter what sport or bet you’re looking for, you’re going to find a long list of betting sites that showcase the same bet and usually at a similar price.
The key is locating that preferred bet where you’re getting either the most safety you can find, or the most upside. A great example is if you want to take the Pelicans to cover in a game against the Hawks and you’re seeing this spread across a collection of sites:
BetOnline: Pelicans -7
Bovada: Pelicans -7
Which site is the site for your bet? Considering every site is probably paying out the same -110 line, the obvious call is 5Dimes in this specific spot. You already love the Pelicans at -7, but why eat an additional 0.5 in spread for them to cover if you can get that same bet at a cheaper price?
If the Pelicans win by seven points, every other site is providing a push. In this example, you’re getting a win at -6.5, while anyone placing this same bet in favor of the Pelicans to win at other sites may get a push.
This can change depending on what type of bet you’re seeking, but the idea of “shopping” is clear. You’re shopping across a wide range of betting sites and you want the price (spread, money line, total, etc.) that is most advantageous to your betting perspective.
By not restricting yourself to just one betting site, you can hunt for value high and low and secure bets that may not be ideal in some spots, but are absolutely worth targeting in others.
Don’t Ignore Data
How you use any data specifically is going to be up to you and from there could be born a strategy of its own. However, disregarding data, stats and analytics of all kinds completely opens the door to massive gaffes and in turn is usually going to equate to a losing strategy.
Instead of bypassing loads of useless information, stockpile as much as you can and sort through it until the picture gets clearer.
One example of useful data you shouldn’t ignore is numbers against the spread. There is an endless supply of data detailing how teams perform against the spread, whether it be on the road, at home, after rest, during specific months, against specific opponents – and the list goes on.
The numbers themselves aren’t meant to always be trusted blindly. However, reading in between the numbers can show us how competitive and reliable a team can be in various settings. In some cases, the data can be so staggering that we can’t help but rely on it, as well.
This sports betting strategy is more a way of life as a bettor than a mapped-out process.
Incorporate data and analytics with your betting whenever you can, so that you’re not only just “trusting your gut” or research that can often be flawed.
Covering most of the bases gives you a chance for success, while covering all the bases can sometimes ensure it.