7 Steps to Winning at Sports Betting
1. Patience and Discipline
Before getting into things like money management and the ability to pick winners, you must decide if this is something you really want to put a lot of time into. If you're getting entertainment value out of it, going through the ups and downs, and all the time spent behind a computer studying new information, trying to get it right, might get in the way of the entertainment value you once had. For example, three times a year I like to stay at the casino and play black jack. I have no intentions of learning systems, or counting cards. I'm there because I get to be social, meet new people, and have free cocktails delivered in large quantities, by hot waitresses in skimpy outfits. Of course part of the rush is knowing there's a chance I might get it all for free, but the thought of staying sober, zoning everyone out, to make a profit, would completely destroy the enjoyment I get out of it. If being entertained isn't your main concern when it comes to sports betting, then you're ready for step two.
2. Money Management
Money management is probably one of the most important things to learn first. Some will say money management is useless if you can't pick winners and not the most important thing. I do agree with that, but before you can learn to win correctly, you must learn to lose correctly. Minimizing losses is imperative while learning, or trying new systems. There's no shame in betting ten or even five dollars a game while on your journey figuring out how to pick winners. I do think it is important to have something on it though. Being able to get the best number, and pretending to get the best number can be two different things. So what's good money management? For beginners I suggest betting 1% flat bets while using a small bank roll. Learning to pick winners could take years, and its best to lose the least possible, all the while saving a separate amount of cash for the big bank roll you will need once you can pick winners. Once you get to the promise land and have a large sample size to look at, you can decide whether going full-Kelly, or using variation unit sizes that best fit your abilities to maximize profits. One misstep is over valuing your bet size with variations. Make sure your sample size is big enough to justify your variations.
3. Picking Winners
While some people have the natural ability to look at the board and pick winners, most of us will need to take a mathematical approach of some kind. Some will use trends and stats, I suggest that before coming up with a good mathematical approach you must first come up with a way to make your own power rankings. Be creative, try to think of things when doing your power rankings that most might not be considering. For instance basing your power rankings, on pitching in baseball may not be the way to go.
Once you find a power ranking system that gets you close or a little over breaking even its time to use some filters. Again be creative, try to find connections between your winners and losers, and back track it. Maybe you noticed that plays that are juiced above -150 are costing you, or maybe its super huge dogs, what ever it is, get rid of those plays. Look at the public, know who they're on, maybe there's a correlation with your losers or winners that can be used as a filter. Dissect your large sample with a fine microscope, leave no stone unturned.
B: Regression to the mean
Another thing to consider when trying to find a system or filter that works. Not saying that some teams are due to win or lose, but like the stock market buying low and selling high are important things to consider. Bad teams may have value, while good teams will be juiced to a flaw.
Educate yourself! Read anything you can get your eyes on, pertaining to sports betting. While 99% of it will be junk, there's always that 1%, that diamond in the rough, that will change the way you do things for the better, and make you money.
B: Associate with winners
When I was in the Marine Corps, my commanding officer told me something I will never forget.
"No matter what situation you're in, no matter how bad, someone else has been there before, there really are no unique situations anymore. Even if most failed under the same circumstances, you'll always find someone that has succeeded against all odds. Find out how he did it and emulate him."
While this was pertaining to the battle field it can also be applied to anything in life. There are plenty of great sports bettors on this site, many of them have already been through it. They know how to win. Guys like Mike McClain, Takeo, Horsburg, CashMagician, The Contrarian, Custom ect.. Pick their brains. They've made all the mistakes they've done the trial and error. Sure they may not give up their most sacred secrets, but they may point you in the right direction. Remember a little bit of flattery goes a long way.
Never stop learning. The moment you stop learning, things become tedious and boring. Who wants a boring job?
5. Line movement
Just how important is understanding line movement? Very important! For example take two winning betters that have the exact same picks. One has ten outs for line shopping but zero understanding of line movement, the other has one out but has line movement mastered. The guy who has line movement mastered will get the best line that the one book offers, the guy with ten outs, but strikes at the wrong times, will more times than not get a worse line than the guy with one out.
Line movement can be a tricky thing to understand, and really takes a lot of dedication to fully get it. Different things can cause line movement. Injuries, syndicates, sharp money, public money, and Big money. Finding the right time to strike on a play can make you ton more money! An easy beginners way to do this is to find a sharp book, and follow their movements. Have your plays ready. As soon as this book moves against you it's time to strike. If this sharp book never moves against your play, it may be a good idea to pass on your play. (Hint this could make a great filter)
6. Have multiple outs
While understanding line movement is more important, it's still important to have multiple outs. Once you've found the perfect time to strike, having multiple outs and getting the best line available at that time will make you even more money. Getting -120 instead of -125 is so important. Imagine you have 500 winning plays betting a dime in a year. Missing out on that 5 extra points just cost you $16,500. Would you throw that kind of money away?
7. Beating the closing line
What is beating the closing line? Click on your profile, view a pick. Look at the odds you got, then click on it and look at the closing line. Is the number you got a bigger payout? Did you miss out on a better number? If you're missing out more often than not, you have work to do. Even if you're raking it in, if you're not beating the closing number, you're leaving money on the table and may want to consider a new striking method.
1. Patience and Discipline
2. Money Management
3. Picking Winners
5. Line Movement
6. Having Multiple Outs
Odds are, if you're doing all these things correctly you're also doing number 7, beating the closing line.
Beating the closing line = Winning
Good Luck everyone, and get some winners,
Edited 2/11/14 at 5:19PM by Patrick - Removed "for Line.com" reference.