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Sports-Betting: It's Not All About Picking Winners

By Loot, Sports Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

It's not about picking winners? What? For the outsider looking in, it might seem like that's all it's about. And don't take us wrong--that is a big part of it. But unless we balance that with the concept of "value," we are missing the boat. For example, picking a 4-1 favorite correctly qualifies as picking a winner. But if those 4-1 favorites you are betting should be more in the 3-1 range, you will get killed over the long-haul.

It's not enough in sports betting to pick a winner if we're doing it with the absence of proper value. It's not all about picking a winner, but it's about doing it at the right price. We're not making straight-up bets with our classmate in junior high. The bookie is using a numbers game--where odds rule the day.

The amateur sports bettor looks at odds, but it is a secondary consideration. If they like a side, they're going to take it. What speaks loudest to them is their opinion on who will win, rather than whether or not that adds up from a value point-of-view. It could a be a boxing match where the favorite is too big of a favorite or a baseball game where the favored team has an inflated number. In cases like this, your opinion is not accompanied with good value. And that's what it is all about.

In a sense, we are less interested in picking winners. That might sound crazy, but it isn't. We want to find wagers where we determine the chances of what we need to happen are better than what the bookie is forecasting. That's what should drive our betting. A sure way to lose in any form of sports-betting is to over-emphasize our opinions without making accommodations for the all-important odds.

Value is what it's all about. If we generally make wagers where the true odds of something are better than what the bookie is offering, we will have a chance to be successful over the long-haul. If we don't do that--we will lose. It's as simple as that. For example, expert football bettors don't just sit there and say "Oh, the Patriots are gonna kill the Bills this week" and then just thoughtlessly make a bet on New England. They might feel they will win, but they determine at what threshold. They don't just blindly accept what the point-spread is without question.

An expert who bets on boxing or MMA has his opinions. He just doesn't allow them to be the singular driving force. He sees a fight and makes an opinion. That's just the first part. If the favorite is -300 and he feels it should only be -200, that's something he would not wager. But if he likes a guy to win a fight and determines he should be -200, but he's only -140--then now things are beginning to line up to make a wager.

To illustrate how being able to pick winners is only part of the equation, there should be times where you bet on something you think will lose. You might be asking yourself if you actually read that right. Pick things you think will lose? Yes, that's correct. If you see a boxer, for example, who you think will lose the fight, but he's a +600 underdog when he should be in the +300 range--that is profitable move over the long-run.

Let's say you see a baseball team that you think will lose the game. If that team is like +280 and you think it has a significantly better chance than that--you should bet it. Betting on baseball teams that should be +180 or +200 at a price of +280 over the long-run will prove to be a successful move. So we see it's not exactly all about picking winners, is it?

We need to refine our handicapping to get the best value. That means we should move away from the simplistic dynamic of just merely forming an opinion along the lines of who will win. We need to use our handicapping to determine who will win, but more importantly, we need to calculate value. That means we are more concerned with the price. If we can consistently find wagers where the price is right, then we have a fighting chance. Looking for a great place to bet on games? Check out http://sports.williamhill.com which is one of the oldest and most trusted names on the net!

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