One of my degrees is in mathematics so one of the things I enjoy about betting on sports is the statistical angles of handicapping.

But I know successful sports bettors who can’t handle anything beyond basic math.

Here’s a list of my top 6 sports betting tactics and tips for people who’re bad at math. Most of them deal with football because it’s the most popular sport to bet on, but most can be converted for use in other sports as well.

1 – Yards Over Points

A statistic that gets tracked by many sports bettors is points per game. They follow how many points per game the offense scores and also how many points per game the defense gives up.

The nice thing about points per game for people who’re math challenged is many places figure it for you so you just have to look the averages up. The same is true for yards per game gained by the offense or given up by the defense.

When you start handicapping games you’ll see that points are somewhat subjective. What I mean is sometimes a simple fluke is the difference between a touchdown and a field goal or there can be a 14 point swing late in a game based on an interception returned for a touchdown. I’ve seen 14 point swings in games that had been decided long before and the swing had no effect on the game. But if you handicap the teams involved later in the season the points are still changed.

This is why I compare and track yards per game for offenses and defenses. On average, the team gaining more yards per game will score more points and the team giving up fewer yards per game will give up fewer points.

2 – Convert All Percentages To Out Of 100

You may have read you need to win 52.38% of the time with a 10% vig to break even. But if you struggle with percentages here’s a simple trick to help you see them clearly.

I like to convert everything to how many times it happens or needs to happen per 100 tries.

Here’s an example:

I need to win 53% of the time to turn a small profit. (52.38% is break even. I want to win, not break even.) This means I need to win 53 out of every 100 games, or have a record of 53 – 47 or better.

All you do is move the decimal two places to the left (53% becomes .53) and multiply it times 100. (.53 X 100 = 53).

Once you start converting everything to “out of 100” you’ll quickly see how easy it is to look at statistics this way than sticking with decimals and percentages.

3 – Forget About Statistics

Sports betting advice is usually filled with numbers and statistics. You’ll find advice about using spreadsheets and computers to handicap games all over the place.

Do you have to be a stats geek to be a winning sports bettor?

Believe it or not you can find winning sports bettors who don’t depend on statistics. They watch the games and are able to handicap strengths and weaknesses by eye.

While this sounds like a great way to do it, it’s harder than it sounds. Most bettors can learn a great deal by watching games, but they still need to use statistical analysis to turn a profit.

But if you don’t do well with math give it a try. You don’t have to be good at math to be good at sports betting.

4 – Bet Overs and Unders

An over under bet is a wager on the combined final score of both teams. If the over under is 42 when you bet the under you win if the total score is 41 or less. When you bet the over you win if the combined final score is 43 or higher.

Some bettors find this easier than worrying about point spreads, favorites, and underdogs.

Just work on your ability to handicap if the game will be a high or low scoring affair. You can use yards per game discussed in the first section to help.

5 – Time of Possession

Time of possession is another statistic that many services and web sites track so it’s easily found.

Teams with large time of possession advantages tend to control games with running plays and short passes that have a high completion percentage.

These teams don’t always score a bunch of points per game, but they do tend to win often.

The only exception to this is the very best deep threat teams who score quickly and often. They may not have dominant time of possession numbers but they don’t need as much time to score as other teams.

6 – Forget the Bookies, Develop Your Own Network

I’m not talking about starting your own sports book or betting operation. What I’m talking about is developing a group or list of friends, coworkers, and acquaintances that’re willing to place bets.

A good place to start is finding big fans of as many different teams as possible. Start building a list so when you want to bet on the other team you have somebody to bet with.

Even if you stick with the point spreads offered by book makers in these games you eliminate the vig so you only have to win 50% of the time to break even instead of almost 53%.

If you find big enough fans you can usually get them to bet using a better line for you than offered by the books.

When you can bet games at +10 when the line is +7 you’ll improve your chances of winning by a great deal.

If you want to see how powerful this can be start tracking every football game for a couple weeks and see how you’d do by taking either team with an extra 3 points.


The most important thing to take from this post is you don’t have to be great at math to win as a sports bettor. You can work around your mathematical limitations and still find plenty of profitable betting opportunities.

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