Sports Betting Tips

Betting on sports isn’t just about picking winners.  You also have to manage your money and get the most out of each wager.  Justin Vallone talks about three sports betting tips he offers to every gambler.


When approaching sports betting, one usually thinks of high-risk, low-reward payouts. This is because of the edge that sportsbooks have over us as bettors. This is only partially true, however. The fact that sports books have an edge is something that cannot be avoided. Confronting this issue head on will make you more likely to be a winning sports bettor. In order to beat this edge, it is important that you use various types of bets at multiple sportsbooks.

I recommend a “portfolio” approach to sports betting. By varying the risk factor and placement of your wagers, you have a much more likely chance to be successful than you would if you simply flat-bet the spread for each wager. This means that you should approach different bets in order to get the full value of your investment.

It is important that you have a set proportion of “safe” wagers, such as spreads, totals, and wins—this is much like the “safer” investments that you might make, like an annuity or a mutual fund. This is where the bulk of your winnings will be made if you are a good handicapper. But this does not mean you should limit your bets to safe ones. You will also want to have a certain proportion of “risky” bets, like prop bets or futures. These can be compared to your developing nation stocks, or a high risk tech stock. You will lose these bets more often than not, but when you do win, you will be handsomely rewarded.

Overcoming the Vig

The “vig” is the cut that sports books take out of each and every bet that goes through them. This ensures that the books make a profit regardless of the outcome of the bet. It also makes it much more difficult to be a consistently winning bettor. This is the equivalent of the rake in poker, or the track takeout in horse racing. The sports books need to ensure they make a profit so they take some money right off the top by adjusting the odds that winning wagers will payout.

The vig is usually about 10 percent. In a spread bet that is supposedly a 50/50 shot, this means that payout for betting the spread is only a 10/11 return. In order to beat this pricing structure, you need to be correct when betting the spread about 53 percent of the time, rather than 50.1 percent. This makes it very difficult for the average bettor to win against the sports books in the long run.

In order to beat the vig, you must have an advantage that the sports book has not taken into account. This can be insider information or, as it is most often, it can be finding a better price elsewhere. You should only bet if you do find such an advantage. Betting without an advantage is like playing blackjack at a casino. Sure you might win once in a while, but over the long term, you are going to lose money. Remember, the books make mistakes sometimes. It is our job to find those mistakes and profit off of them.

Line Shopping

Line shopping is almost as important as deciding upon which team to place your money when sports betting. Think about this: would the sports books offer a bet if they thought they were going to lose money? There is a reason why spread bets are given -110 odds rather than even odds. This takes a 50/50 bet, and puts it slightly in favor of the book. So if their line is correct, they will win money over the long run regardless of how people bet.

So how is this overcome? If you are the average sports bettor, you will be right only 50 percent of the time—and thus be a losing sports bettor. By looking at several different sports books and going with the one that offers you the best odds, you will improve your chances of becoming a winning bettor. Even if the differences seem miniscule, this can add up to a lot of money for you over the long run. This means a spread bet of -2.5 on one site versus a -3 on another can be the difference that makes you a winning sports bettor.

Having a good baseline can also help. Whether you calculate the odds yourself or use a reliable sports book as a benchmark, this can greatly increase your odds of winning. By seeing what other sports books are offering and then going with your best choice, you can tilt the odds in your favor. This necessarily implies that you have an account with several online sports books, which will in turn lead to needing a larger bankroll to bet efficiently.

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