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Best Sports Betting Strategies
If you talk to any bettor at a sportsbook, they will have their own wagering tips that they use to win money. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. The key to betting on sports is to use the strategies below to gain an edge. Our betting experts recommend these strategies because you can use them no matter if you’re a novice bettor or a pro wagerist.
You can’t win every wager you place, but if you follow our betting advice you’ll at least be able to get that coveted betting edge.
If you’re just getting started, try the following strategies:
Don’t Sleep on the moneyline
Moneyline betting is perfect for first-time bettors because you simply have to pick a winner. A moneyline bet would look something like this:
LSU Tigers (-250) vs Auburn Tigers (+210)
The favorite, LSU in this case, is identified by the negative sign (-). The underdog, Auburn, is identified by the plus sign (+). This means that LSU is favored to win the game because of various reasons. They could have a better ranking than Auburn or have a better record in their most recent matchups. Both teams are called the Tigers but yellow and purple tigers do not have more power than blue and orange tigers because neither are real tiger breeds. Would be cool if they were, though!
If you’re new to the betting world, you can start with the moneyline. It’s an easier bet to research and you can pick the favorite if you want to. Moneyline bets are less risky and simpler because if the team you bet on wins, you win your bet.
Some pro bettors think the moneyline is a juvenile bet to make and avoid it. But, that doesn’t mean you have to. Don’t sleep on moneyline bets simply because you think they’re too basic. Moneyline bets can be profitable if you pick the right team to win. This type of bet works for every sport from baseball to football to tennis.
Learning the Point Spread
Point spread betting involves more than picking a winner. Instead, you would bet on whether a team will win by a margin set by the oddsmakers. The favorite would need to win the game by a certain number of points and the underdog would need to win or not lose the game by a set number of points.
A point spread bet for the NFL would be something like this:
Kansas City Chiefs -4.5 (-110) vs Denver Broncos +4.5 (-110)
The Chiefs are the 4.5-point favorite and would need to win the game by five or more points. The Broncos are the 4.5-point underdog and would need to win or not lose by more than four points.
If the Chiefs prevail over the Broncos 20-17, they did not cover the 4.5 points. However, the Broncos did cover the spread since they stayed within 4.5 points. If you had taken the Chiefs, you would’ve lost your bet. On the other hand, if you had picked the Broncos to cover, then you would’ve won your bet.
Knowing exactly how the point spread works is a great betting strategy.
Running on the Runline
The runline is what happens when the baseball point spread and moneyline have a baby. It’s a pretty happy union with both parents doing the best they can to provide for their child. Sure, they work a lot but braces are expensive and they want their little runline baby to have perfect teeth.
Instead of making a moneyline bet on MLB, you can place a runline bet for a better potential return. A runline bet comes with a 1.5-point spread attached to the game. The favorite needs to win by two or more runs and the underdog has to lose by 1 run or win the game.
Let’s use the example of a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Boston Red Sox. Different colored socks aside, Boston is the favorite at -1.5, while Chicago is the underdog at +1.5. In this instance the Red Sox would have to win by two runs or more. The White Sox would have to win or not lose by more than one run. If the Red Sox win 3-2, they did not cover the spread.
If you’re already a seasoned bettor, try the following strategies:
Fading the Public
One of the best strategies for wagering is betting against or fading the public. This strategy is used primarily for spread and totals betting in basketball and football.
Sportsbooks typically know what teams are going to be the most heavily bet from week to week, and they adjust the spreads and totals accordingly to get bettors to bite on their numbers. And when they do, this gives sharp bettors the opportunity to go the other way and take the least popular side.
Handicapping Personnel Moves
This betting strategy covers offseason, preseason and in-season moves, all of which are equally important and should be followed closely so you remain on top of or sometimes even ahead of the latest news.
Did a team lose a star player to free agency? How does a trade or free agency affect a team’s old and new roster like when LeBron James went to the Lakers? Did a team hire a good or bad head coach? Looking at you, Jon Gruden. Was there a key injury that could impact a team’s future, or can they overcome the loss because they are so deep at that position? See Sidney Crosby’s concussion history. Is there a quarterback battle in training camp or pitchers who are killing it in spring training that could make the team stronger or weaker than a year ago? Hello Cleveland Browns in the Hue Jackson head coaching era.
These are all examples of moves that can and will happen over the course of a year in any particular sport, especially MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA. Gaining inside info can help you beat the book if you do your homework on the teams you’re betting on.
Specializing in One Sport
If you’re new to betting, try specializing in one sport. The reason? You won’t spread yourself too thin by trying to bet many sports at the same time. Narrowing your focus can give you a betting edge since you’re not researching every game played and putting money on everything.
Staying on top of hundreds of college football and/or basketball teams in addition to the pros is more than a grind. It’s nearly impossible to win at everything – even oddsmakers know that – so go with what you know best and study every player on every team to make sure you’re not placing bets blindly on sports you don’t know enough about. By becoming a specialist in one sport, your betting confidence will grow along with your bankroll.
Now that you have a betting edge, take these strategies and make a wager at your sportsbook of choice. Who knows, you might win big and come up with some strategies of your own in the process.