Professional Sports Betting Strategy

Do you believe you have the ability to go from a novice sports bettor to a professional? Well, there are several different factors that separate the pros from the average Joe. I’m going to cover a few of those factors in this article to show you how the pros go about making a living betting on sports.

Obviously, the pros are betting a lot more than the average Joe. They are almost solely banking on making a living from betting on sports. The average Joe is just betting for the sake of action and having money on the biggest games. You’ll never see a pro just betting for the sake of action.

Money Management

This is the single-most important factor to becoming a pro. Setting aside a specific amount of money, known as your ‘bankroll’, will keep your gambling on a budget. Your bankroll is the amount of money you can afford to lose. You never want to have your bankroll be your life savings.

Once you have your bankroll established, you never want to be more than 5% of your bankroll on a given game. In fact, most pros would only bet up to 2% of their bankroll on one game. As your bankroll steadily increases, the size of your bets will increase, but you should never raise your bets if your bankroll isn’t increasing at the same time.

If your bankroll is only $1,000, then you should not be betting more than $50 on a given game. At 2%, you would only be betting $20 per game. If your bankroll is $10,000, then your max bet would be $500 if you are wagering 5%. At 2%, you would be betting $200 per game.


There is a common expression out there in gambling known as “going on tilt”. This is especially a common phrase in poker, but it also applies to sports betting. It means that after you have suffered a few losses in a row, you go out of your mind and out of your norm and bet more on the next game.

Staying consistent with your bets is very important. You should never chase after your losses, and you should never bet a lot more when you’re winning just because you have more. This goes back to money management, where you only want to bet anywhere from 2% to 5% of your bankroll on a given game. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you.

Line Shopping

This is huge for the pros. They have several different sports books to choose from to make sure they are getting the best lines possible. The average Joe probably uses just one book and doesn’t worry about the lines on a game nearly as much as the pros. Having the best available line at your disposal makes a huge difference.

There are tons of games that are decided by a half a point or one point. So, getting a half-point or a point in your favor over the long-term will certainly be beneficial to your bankroll. I would recommend having a minimum of three different sports books to choose from to maximize your potential profits.

Finding Value

This comes in a variety of different ways. You have to find value in numbers to be a successful sports bettor. One of the biggest ways to find value is to fade the betting public. The public influences the lines more than anything else. They are more likely to want to ride a hot team than to take one that is on an extended losing streak coming in.

If you see a team has covered the spread let’s say four times in a row, then the chances are the public is going to be on that team. This forces oddsmakers to set the line higher than it should be, and there can be value in backing the other team catching more points than they should be.

Handicapping Situations

With the internet today, the entire betting public has all kinds of numbers to sift through. While technical handicapping, which is the handicapping of numbers, is important, it’s not the only thing you should be looking at. The most successful pros will be handicapping situations that the general public doesn’t see.

Situational handicapping is my personal favorite because it has proven to be the best strategy for me over time. There is a human element to every game, and figuring out which team is going to be more motivated is very important. This can be tricky and you can look foolish if it doesn’t play out like you believe it will, but getting a feel for which team will be more motivated is huge.

Let’s say an NFL team is coming off a win over the defending Super Bowl champions. Are they going to come back with the same motivation they played with the next week? The chances are that they are not going to, and as a result they will suffer a ‘letdown’ so to speak.

There are also ‘lookahead’ spots I like to focus in on. We’ll use the last example again. Say a team has won three straight and has the defending Super Bowl champs on deck next week. Well, there’s a very good chance that they’ll be looking ahead to that game rather than focusing on the game at hand.

Another situation to look for is rest. If a team is tired, they likely aren’t to perform at the optimum level. This is huge in NBA as teams sometimes have to play 4 games in 5 days, which is very difficult. If the team they are playing is coming in on at least one day of rest while they are playing a back-to-back, then the team on more rest is likely to give the better effort that night.


These are just a few of the different factors that separate the pros from the average bettor. There are many more out there, and I could go into greater detail, but if you master these five your chances of becoming a pro will greatly increase. Money management, having a clear mindset, and having patience are certainly the three biggest keys. With practice, you’ll be able to find value in games and to avoid jumping on with the public.

Situational handicapping cannot really be taught. It is a learned skill that will come over time simply by studying how games play out in certain situations. Obviously, you’re not in the team’s locker room so you don’t know precisely how they are going to react emotionally to every game. However, you’ll find that more times than not you’ll be right on letdown, lookahead and rest situations once you understand the element of human nature.

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