How to Win at Sports Betting

We should first preface by saying there is no get rich quick scheme or infallible betting system when it comes to beating sports. The oddsmakers are extremely skilled at what they do, and the vast majority of sports bettors are losers.

However, beating the bookmakers certainly isn’t impossible task. In fact, just about anyone should be able to beat the sportsbooks, at least on a smaller scale if they understand and utilize some basic concepts.

This article is by no means an in-depth discussion into each of these topics. It’s more a primer into what makes a winning sports bettor able to achieve profitability. There will be many links throughout the article that delves into each of these topics much more extensively.

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Line Shopping

Line shopping might as well be the “Holy Grail” of sports betting due to its massive importance when it comes to bottom line profits. Searching around for the best odds will not only save you tens of thousands over your career betting sports, but it can also turn breakeven bettors or small losers into winners.

Experienced long-term winners utilize this concept religiously. It’s one that alludes so many who are hung up on trying to outsmart the oddsmakers and beat them at their own game. The best way to take on betting markets is by getting the best price available for each wager you place. This is a surefire way to decrease the edge of the sportsbooks.

This doesn’t just mean taking a side -3 when other sportsbooks have the same side at -3.5. That, of course, is correct and obvious, but line shopping should increase to all of the markets that bettors are wagering.

If you’re betting a lot of teasers, make sure you’re picking a sportsbook with the best teaser odds. If you’re placing a futures wager, use the concept of implied probability to gauge the sportsbook’s edge in each betting market. Live betting? Be sure to shop around and look for live betting odds that offer the lowest vig.

Line shopping also usually entails using sportsbooks that offer reduce juice pricing. Betting with reduced juice regularly is the best way to cut down on the bookmaker’s standard 10% vig on straight wagers.

Bankroll Management

Along with line shopping, bankroll management is paramount to success at sports gambling. Lack of bankroll management is number one reason bettors go broke. Even if they have the skills as a handicapper and line shop effectively, a lack of bankroll management is will almost always doom even the most skilled handicappers.

Establishing a bankroll management plan, a unit system for wagering and keeping accurate records of your wins and losses is of the utmost importance. There are several schools of thought when it comes to bankroll management. We discuss these concepts and much more in depth in our bankroll management article.

Bonuses

Sportsbook bonus offers can be smoke and mirrors in a lot of cases, especially with less than reputable sportsbooks, which offer poor rollover rates and other predatory terms attached to their bonuses. However, bonuses are an excellent way to add a much-needed boost to your bankroll, something that is particularly vital for newer bettors looking to build a bankroll.

Though the US market wasn’t what it was ten years ago in terms of choices, it’s still more than viable in terms of bonus offers. US-facing sportsbooks will offer much larger deposit bonuses than their regulated European counterparts. Bettors can easily clear thousands of dollars in freeplays or cash bonuses by depositing at different sportsbooks and clearing deposit bonuses.

Chasing Steam

Chasing steam is one of the best ways to beat the sportsbook’s closing line. A steam move is a change in the betting market that occurs after heavy betting action. Bettors can accomplish this by watching betting markets and wagering at sportsbooks that are slow to move their lines after a major market move, or simply when sharp sportsbook(s) moves their lines ahead of the betting market.

Follow the market and betting steam moves is something that anyone can do provided they understand the concept. However, it is something that some sportsbooks frown upon and is the easiest way to get your account limited.

We delve deeper into chasing steam here.

Arbitrage

Arbitrage betting is the art of wagering on both sides of an event using differing odds at competing sportsbooks to guarantee a profit regardless of the outcome the event. It’s also known as ‘sure betting’.

Like steam betting, arbing is something that many sportsbooks also frown upon. Although, it’s much easier for a sportsbook to spot someone who is continuously betting steam versus arbing.

The returns for arbitrage betting are rather small, usually between 2-30% per wager, but if you’re betting large amounts of money per wager – this can add up to a massive profits. There are also opportunities for much higher arbitrages, sometimes as high as 20%.

It’s not something we generally recommend for newer bettors due to the smaller size of their bankrolls but it an excellent way to lock in a profit and enjoy the game knowing you’re profiting regardless of the outcome.

Attack Smaller Markets

Ever take a look at the wagering limits for particular sports at your sportsbook? You’ll notice that the betting limits on markets will vary rapidly. For instance, a bookmaker may take up to $20,000 on NFL sides, but will only take up to $2,000 on NCAA Basketball totals. Markets besides major sides and totals, like propositions and alternative lines will be even lower.

The reason a sportsbook will take more money on certain markets compared with others is because of their confidence level when it comes how sharp their lines are. One of the best things bettors can do to increase their profits is focus on these smaller markets, ones where the sportsbooks are a lot less efficient.

Become An Expert

As stated above, it’s possible to beat the sportsbooks at their game across most of their markets, but bettors may be able to increase their advantage provided they focus heavily on specific sports.

The oddsmakers do their best to set accurate lines, but they can’t comb over every piece of information that comes out regarding each game, team or event. Those who choose to focus on specific sports may develop a more in-depth understanding of the market than the oddsmakers. Once again though, this is extremely tough to accomplish.

The dawn of the internet and advanced statistics regarding sports betting has given bettors a lot of tools to try level the field with the bookies. Reading local beat writers takes on each team is now easier than ever, and social media sites, such as Twitter allow bettors to get news and updates the second they happen.

Of our list, this is hardest one to accomplish but can be done by some. The oddsmakers use much of the same information to formulate and move their lines, so it’s tough to tell if the information one is utilizing isn’t already factored into the current price.

Tail A Trusted Handicapper

Paying for picks is something we almost never advise bettors to do for a number of reasons. However, if they do find a handicapper that is worth following (or buying picks from) this can be an excellent way to profit off sports betting without putting in the hours researching.

Finding cappers that you can trust can be difficult, but there’s no harm in reading others opinions. The crucial item to look for is a posted record going back several years and a realistic winning percentage. If you can find a capper who knows his stuff, it can be an outstanding resource.

Choose Reputable Bookmakers

What’s the use of betting sports if you’re not going to get paid? All the above advice is useless if bettors can’t collect their winnings. That’s why choosing a sportsbook that pays players in a timely fashion and one that has a strong reputation in the industry is critical.

We offer an excellent resource for the offshore betting industry here at Sports Betting Sites, including extensive reviews of each sportsbook and which one’s players should avoid.

As far as general guidelines, bettors should trust sportsbooks with a longer history in the industry compared to sites that are just a few years old. Withdrawal speeds are important. There are several sportsbooks which no history of slow-paying a single player throughout their history.