Some advice for bettors on how to increase their chances of finishing ahead with sports betting, including objectivity, breaking news, and using tipsters.
Sports fans are a passionate bunch and it’s not uncommon for them to delve into the world of sports betting. However, if it were easy then no sportsbook could turn a profit. Here are some tips and tricks to improve your sports betting skills.
Head Beats Heart
The very interest in sports that can lead someone to move into betting on it can prove to be a problem. Passionate support for a team, or individual in a sport like tennis, is fine if you’re a fan. But as a bettor, it’s vital to be objective, to be level-headed, and to focus on the numbers game. You win or lose the same amount whether your bet comes off easily or just barely loses. The emotional content of a game does not affect the bet, and the emotional content of the bettor shouldn’t either.
This can be easier said than done and some ardent fans find it easier to simply avoid any market that involves their team. That’s fine and infinitely preferable to the tomfoolery of always backing or always laying (betting against) your own team. The former is straightforward wishful thinking, and the latter is made on the mistaken basis that it either guarantees a profit or your team winning (and thus feeling good). But the sole purpose of betting is to try and win, it does not exist to act as an emotional crutch.
Sometimes bettors even find it easier to keep their favorite sport purely as a supporting, emotional investment, and to branch out into a whole new sport for betting, one in which they remain studiously neutral and objective. Whatever approach you take, don’t let emotions cloud your judgment.
Casino betting is an alternative to sports wagering that might suit those who find it difficult to divorce personal support aside from their betting. Casinos also offer plenty of casino cashback options and other promotions for newcomers and existing players, which can help reduce risk (especially early on when deciding whether it’s for you). And because many casinos now have a sports betting wing you can often enjoy both forms of wagering at the same place. Another thing that you should consider, is looking for a no deposit bonus, that you can claim right after you signup - without making a deposit. This will allow you to play for free without risking real money.
Tipsters come in various forms, from the guy who only posts once in a blue moon but can offer fantastic long shot tips, and specialists who focus on a single sport, through to prolific tipsters that provide betting guidance every week (or even daily). When you find a tipster whose activity and area of interest suits you, don’t be afraid to follow in their footsteps. If you have little knowledge of someone’s track record then play it safe at first and just bet with bottle tops until you have a feel for how good they are (NB tipsters are not infallible. A good tipster is one who usually yields a profit over the long term, so just because a first tip, or first few tips, don’t come good that isn’t necessarily a sign they aren’t worth following).
Tipsters also come in a variety of models, from those who charge for tips to those who offer them for free (and some mix and match the approach). If a tipster’s results are good enough that their fee is dwarfed by profits you can make following their tips, paying makes obvious sense.
Why do some tipsters not charge? This could be due to a lower level of activity, or a mutually beneficial approach from people with different areas of interest, which enables them to copy bets on other sports from other tipsters. However, a problem great bettors face is that sportsbooks can (and do) reduce available stakes for those with the temerity to be successful, and even betting exchanges can increase their slice of commission on profits. This is why many tipsters charge, making money as much from other bettors as from the bets themselves.
Keep your Ear to the Ground
How fast does news travel? How fast can a sportsbook update its odds? The answers are almost instantly and in about five to 10 minutes, respectively. But that little time slot can pave the way to some massive payouts if you’ve got your ear to the ground.
Formula 1 is a very good example of this because drivers compete on an individual basis. Better yet, every single driver competes at every single event, which means that (unlike tennis which takes a knock out tournament approach) a driver at the front either being penalized or forced to sit an event out due to COVID-19 or suchlike affects the odds on every other driver.
Lewis Hamilton is arguably the greatest driver of all time and, for most of his seasons in the sport, has had a car capable of winning not only races but titles. This also means that when he goes missing or gets a penalty there are some bargains to be had. At the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix, he was on pole but ended up at the back of the grid due to a penalty, which allowed Maldonado and Alonso (promoted to 1st and 2nd on the grid) to be backed at around 5/1 each to lead lap 1, a near certainty (which did pay off). When Hamilton got COVID-19 ahead of the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, the winner was 60/1 Perez, while Bottas and Russell (Hamilton’s teammate and stand-in) were both eminently backable and then hedgeable on an exchange (more on this strategy below).
Also pay attention to unexpected driver changes. One of the biggest was Verstappen taking Kvyat’s Red Bull seat and then winning his first race for the team. If you backed that before the bookies could change their odds, then a cool 250/1 winner at the Spanish Grand Prix in 2016 was there for the taking.
Setting up a specific Twitter list for sports journalists and the like can be a great way of checking for relevant news at a glance. Note that this does not happen often but does offer fantastic value when it does.
Take Advantage of Free Bets and Multiple Sportbooks
Something for nothing sounds too good to be true, but most online sportsbooks do offer free bets, either for newcomers signing up or for existing players who regularly bet on sports. These won’t be worth a vast sum of money but it’s certainly better than a kick in the teeth. But if you have accounts at other sportsbooks or a betting exchange, then they can be turned into a guaranteed profit. It’s simple: use your free bet in a binary market (win only in a football match, say). Then back the exact opposite result at a betting exchange or another sportsbook. Do not do this at the same site offering the free bet or you’ll void the bonus for breach of terms and conditions.
This is the most obvious way to get ahead with multiple accounts but far from the only one. Another thing to look out for is ‘the middle’ or arbitrage. Most of the time, sportsbooks have similar odds, with a small degree of variance. This small degree can add up over time (5% does not sound much, but it does stack up if you add it to every profit margin). But when the odds are utterly different there will be occasions when you can back both outcomes at different sites for a guaranteed profit. These are not common occurrences but they can happen and it’s always worth checking for (and you should be checking the odds anyway just to ensure you stand to make the maximum profit if your bet or tip comes off).
Winning at sports betting always requires a dash of luck, but you can cut the odds on finishing ahead with the handy tips outlined above.