Lots of individuals want to know how to become a professional sports bettor, but few are willing to do what it takes to succeed. That’s because most people are essentially lazy, and it’s more convenient to sit back and allow others to do all the work. This often takes the form of buying sports picks, something I would never suggest to a serious bettor.

Why You Should Avoid Sports Picks

Tout services sell winning picks for select games, and many of them make a killing in the process. While some are honest and try their best, the whole industry is built on guesswork that you could just as well be doing on your own. To complicate matters, many of these services aren’t the least bit honest, and they’re far more concerned with marketing and getting your cash than actually predicting the games.

To get a feel for how they operate, take a look at this common tactic. The tout service sells picks for an upcoming Cowboys/Redskins game, and they direct half of their customers to wager on Dallas and the other half to bet on Washington. The group that wins is certain to provide repeat business, while the others are given a free pick the following week as a consolation. These bettors are then split in the same fashion as before, which allows the service to boast that 75% of their customers won in a two-week period.

Become a Bookworm

When you’re starting out in the sports betting game, read as much about the subject as possible. A lot of books are going to cover the same information repeatedly, but there are often some nuggets of wisdom to be found amongst the overlap.

Most sports bettors have their own system for making bets and gathering data. By exposing yourself to as many strategies as possible, you’ll be able to find the one that best suits your personality. Otherwise, you run the risk of locking onto a style that might not agree with you.

In order to get started, I suggest you head over to a site such as Amazon and type in “sports betting.” You’ll get a huge number of results for your search (2,823 books at last count), and then you can begin the process of picking out the ones that look most interesting. A lot of these books are total crap, so be prepared to waste a few bucks along the way. When you find a good one, however, it should more than make up for what you lost on the others.

Learn to Live in the Smallest Percentages

The average person might guess that a professional sports bettor hits on 75% of their wagers. That would be entirely incorrect, as most pros have an overall winning percentage in the 52% to 56% range. That might not sound like a lot, but the difference between 52% and 54% can be staggering.

Become a Vampire

Actually, I take back this recommendation, because even vampires get to sleep during the daylight hours. If you’re serious about becoming a professional sports bettor, you can look forward to a lot of late hours compiling information and scouring the sportsbooks for the most advantageous lines.

I’ve got a buddy who bets on sports for a living, and he averages about four to six hours of sleep per night. Don’t buy into the glitzy Hollywood version of the profession, as that’s about as realistic as a cinematic fistfight.

Develop a Database

All the successful sports bettors I know maintain some form of database. This usually takes the form of an Excel spreadsheet, although I’m familiar with one old school type who does all his work on spiral-bound notebooks.

Keeping a database can be a daunting task, and this is where some of the best sports bettors spend the majority of their time. As soon as they come across a useful piece of statistical information, then plug it into their collection of numbers for future consideration.

This accumulation of information is invaluable over time, as it provides the best possible indication of trends within various sports. Some bettors focus on the most essential stats and info, while others compile data that includes such specifics as the officiating crew.

Be Billy Walters

Okay, you’re not Billy Walters, but I couldn’t write an article on sports gambling without mentioning this legendary bettor. Not only has he bet more money on sports than any other person in the history of the human race, but he’s also won hundreds of millions in the process.

Walters came from a humble background, and his life at one point appeared to be limited to selling cars, getting divorced multiple times, and slowly drinking himself to death. But then he became involved in the infamous ring of bettors known as the Computer Group, and a whole new world opened up to him.

Now he’s the most feared man in the sportsbetting industry, routinely risking millions of dollars through a series of proxies designed to get around limits imposed by the sportsbooks. Five figures may be wagered on a team to move the line one direction before betting a few hundred thousand on the opposing squad. The system works, and it’s backed up by insane amounts of analysis on everything from the field conditions to the tendencies of the referees.


If you want to know how to become a professional sports bettor without buying picks, you may be ready to take the next logical step towards becoming a heavyweight punter. That’s because only suckers buy picks, and anyone who tells you otherwise has probably got a college basketball parlay that they’re looking to unload.

The biggest keys to success in the industry are analysis, line shopping, money management, and discipline. It’s a relentless grind that’s not for everyone, and those expecting a life of glamour are going to be sadly disappointed. While it can lead to a comfortable life, anyone who spends all their time getting drunk with bikini models is going to be too occupied to properly examine that upcoming game between the Spurs and Clippers.

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