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Sports Betting Strategy

Sports Betting Strategy: Putting Your Knowledge to Use

By Loot, Sports Handicapper,

A lot of sports-bettors know what they should be doing, but they can’t put it into action. A funny thing happens with a lot of people who bet. They can sit back and tell others what they should be doing. They know the concepts that govern sports wagering. Yet, when it comes time for them to get into the action, they lose sight of all that.

There are a lot of areas in life where you see this--people knowing what they should be doing but failing to do it for whatever reason. When you add the element of gambling into the mix, that can become an even bigger problem. Gambling is renowned for causing people to lose sight of what they should be doing. The line between right and wrong starts getting blurred. And whatever you might think about sports-betting--it is gambling. Sure, it’s more analysis-based than playing a slot machine, but gambling is gambling. And often times--it brings the worst out of people mentally.


Anybody betting on sports knows they should stick to their areas of strength. Then after a run of bets, that feeling starts to erode. A college basketball bettor who specializes in the big conferences is suddenly betting on games from the Big Sky conference. A boxing bettor who specializes in the British scene is making bets on fights from Japan. A college football bettor whose specialty is SEC teams finds himself betting on Sun Belt Conference games. One of the first areas to erode is a bettor’s sense of selectivity.

When we hear about the term “handicapping” we all have some idea what it is. Some people might understand all that goes into proper handicapping better than others, but we all know when we’re not doing it. We look at the betting board and see, for example, that the Utah Jazz are -4 at home against the Chicago Bulls. We figure it’s hard to play in Salt Lake City and the Jazz usually do well at home. We saw the Bulls get beaten badly a few nights ago. So we make a bet on the Jazz.

We’ve all done this, making bets on half-baked observations that simply do not fulfill any definition of the word “handicapping.” Yeah, we know we should handicap the game properly--look at the match-ups, review recent performance, gauge the vibe or attitude of a team, and things like that. But sometimes we don’t do that. And it’s a mistake. A lot of it boils down to laziness or apathy and that isn’t going to get it done in the world of sports-betting.

We also know that relying on overly-obvious information gets us nowhere. The real sharps in this business read between the lines for little nuggets that might tip the result in their favor. The information that jumps out at us is not always helpful. That includes things like betting on a baseball team with an ace on the mound. Or taking a basketball team who has a player that is red-hot and getting a major push on shows like Sportscenter.

Relying on the overly-obvious can also come in other forms. You see a baseball team having to play 14 innings, then go on a road trip and play the next day. You figure they’re too tired and won’t really show up in that next game. But everyone noticed that. Your insight wasn’t terribly original or helpful. And you know that. Still, you make the bet.

For a while, we might have to force ourselves to act properly when betting on sports until we naturally become that person. If the things that make a capable sports-bettor are not easy for you to incorporate into your repertoire, this might not be for you unless you can actually force yourself to act that way until you naturally morph into that person.

We need to remember that gambling has a way of eroding our sensibilities. The casinos bank on it. They build palaces on the idea that gamblers often do not act like how they know they should act. Simply knowing about proper sports wagering is not enough. For every 10 people who understand it, maybe one or two are actually able to put it into practice. Be one of those few people. Having knowledge is good, but it’s rendered useless if we don’t actually use it. If anything, it will just make it more painful when you lose because you allowed other factors to drown out your good sense.

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