The world of sports betting is complex and involves more than just placing a bet. There are a wide variety of bet types, including point spreads (which take away or add points to the favorite team to level the playing field) and money lines (which just declare whether a team will win). A good understanding of these and how they work is key to making smart bets.
While most people will bet on their favorite teams, it is the savvy bettors that look beyond their favorite team and bet against them who make the big bucks. Here are 13 ways the pros make money betting on sports.
Betting on a game that you have little knowledge of will be more expensive than betting on one you have studied. This is especially true if you bet against the spread. You can avoid this trap by studying the matchups and focusing on the facts rather than your personal allegiance to a particular team.
Sportsbooks have a number of different types of bets that can be placed on games, including futures bets (which are placed well in advance). In these bets the odds indicate the probability that an event will occur. The higher the odds, the more likely it is that a bet will win. Odds can change as the season progresses, however, so it’s important to check the odds before placing a bet.
Many sportsbooks also offer “win totals” which are bets on how many games a team will win over the course of a year. These are based on a number of factors, including past performance and injuries, and can fluctuate as the season progresses. Generally, the win total will be longer at the beginning of the season and offer greater rewards than bets on individual games.
Professional sports bettors keep near-obsessive records of their bets, both their wins and losses. This allows them to test theories, like the idea that left-handed pitchers always lose to right-handed batters, and helps them find an edge. They also know that a losing streak is not the end of the world and that they should never risk more than 1% to 5% of their bankroll on any one play.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hype and opinions of national TV shows and talk radio hosts when it comes to sports, but these voices can have a profound effect on your betting decisions. The best way to weed out bias is to ignore them and focus on the numbers alone. A good rule of thumb is to cover up the names of the teams when handicapping a game. This will force you to look at the matchup from an objective point of view and avoid talking yourself into or out of a bet.
Another tip is to use data software and trend analysis. This will help you discover edges that the books and other bettors have overlooked. This will save you a lot of time and can lead to major profits.