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Pitfalls of Picking a Bad Sportsbook

NFL Betting: The Pitfalls of Picking a Bad Sportsbook

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper,

There are some bad scams out there, but when dealing with a bad sportsbook--it goes to a whole different level. You have to struggle, handicapping and sweating through the games. To get hosed can pretty much destroy the NFL bettor. Here are some things you might have to deal with if you sign up with a bad book.

Of course not getting paid is the big snafu that could really deflate your spirits. But other stuff goes on that falls squarely into the category of shenanigans. The further you stray from the Grade A books, the more likely you are to incur the wrath of fly-by-night and disreputable bookies.

All different kinds of monkey business goes on. One thing to look for is the rules. Some books have rules that read like a James Michener novel. Who can really read that? But some books actually have clauses in there that entitle them to take your money from you. Look for that. If there is a stipulation in there that in essence says the book can assume control of your account for little cause and no proof--that's a bad sign.

There are all kinds of scams. One is with the juice. The more honest version of this is to just offer awful odds. If both sides of an NFL game are at -120, that's horrible value. Other times, a line is offered, but when you go to bet it, a warning box comes up saying the odds have changed. Naturally, the line move is not in your favor. If that happens all the time--it's a bad sign.

Some books can actually wipe out your account if they suspect you are a "pro." For some books, being a "pro" means that you are winning. You get to a certain point and they decide it's better to concoct a case against you rather than pay you your funds.

A more widespread issue is bonuses. You will be offered an enticing bonus, but once you have an account, you find that fulfilling the conditions of the bonus is a run-around that you haven't bargained for. Or the conditions of the rollover have so many stipulations that no one can possibly be aware of it. If you try to cleverly fulfill the rollover requirements by taking both sides of bets--they might effectively cancel the bonus. Our recommendation is to look for simple bonuses--spelled-out and clear bonuses that don't require you to hire a contract lawyer to decipher it. And the more reputable the book--the easier this whole process will be.

If you're a player that likes to take advantage of weak lines (and you should be), some books will not appreciate it. Even though the fact that they're asleep at the wheel is the reason you were able to pounce on a favorable line, they will cancel your bets! And sometimes, they will wait until after you won to notify you that your line-shopping was not appreciated. It's not bad enough that they run a sloppy book, but if you happen to benefit from their sloppiness, they will just deny you your just desserts.


And that's a good way to determine if the book you have can be trusted. First of all, a good book doesn't lag behind the industry standard when it comes to spreads and lines. And if they do, they don't cancel bets that you were allowed to make. There is always going to be the odd case of a truly bad line--a mistake on the part of the book. Even the good books might strike the bet dead and obviously the timeframe in which they use to notify you will speak volumes. If they tell you after you win the bet, that's not what we're looking for. But as a general rule of thumb--a book should honor bets that they allowed you to make.

Go listen to some horror stories from other players. Beating the NFL is hard enough. If a book has a history of not paying players or using some of these other tactics--steer clear. An NFL bettor should be able to handicap and analyze spreads with a clear head. If getting paid or getting a fair shake is a constant issue--it's really not worth it. Pick a reputable book and then you will not have to worry about it.

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