You can learn any skill if you work closely with an expert, someone with lots of real-world experience in the field. Read this article, learn why professional sports bettors are able to win on such a consistent basis, and then apply what you learn to your own betting style.

They May Be Awesome Handicappers

One of the things that set professional sports bettors apart from others is the personalized systems they develop for handicapping and finding value.

Most amateur bettors watch a few games or an hour of Sportscenter on the weekend and use that information to pick a winner. Professional sports handicappers combine dedicated game viewership with advanced statistical and prediction models that help them pick winners.

The world’s best number crunching handicappers look for trends and use statistical models to analyze that trend. Their life’s work is their ability to use the trend and models to develop a consistent winning strategy for sports betting.

They Work Really (Really) Hard

What separates losers from winners in sports betting? The amount of work they’re willing to dedicate to the hobby.

Life as a professional sports bettor requires a great deal of work. Professional sports betting is much closer to a job than it is to traditional fan-hood.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking “It’ll be fun to study sports all the time.” As the name implies, professional sports betting is a job. Imagine the grind of constantly watching baseball for six months – and that’s without considering additional research and team-tracking in the offseason. Other sports may have shorter seasons, but the work load is pretty much the same.

I’m not a professional bettor, but I imagine that if I was, I’d lose the ability to sit down and enjoy a game like I do now. If that’s not a concern of yours, you should emulate the sheer amount of sports homework these bettors dedicate to their work.

They Are Often Perfectionists

While the systems professional sports bettors develop discussed in the first section are important, they’re always testing their current systems and trying to improve them.

If a professional sports bettor can improve the reliability and winning percentage of a system by a single percentage point, that one point may represent a ton of cash over the long haul.

Once you have winning systems in place continue working on them and testing them to develop new and improved ways to win.

They May Have Access to Inside Information

It’s difficult to find inside information on any of the major sports before the sportsbooks do, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done or that you shouldn’t try to take advantage of this angle.

Some pro sports bettors have networks of contacts to use as a source of inside information. The right piece of information at the right time can easily be the difference between losing and winning.

Start thinking about ways you can develop your own sources of possible inside information. Do you know anyone who works for a team you might bet on or any current players? What other ways can you think of that might lead to inside information?

Remember there isn’t a step by step guide on becoming a winning sports bettor that includes all of the secrets. You’re going to heave to develop some of your own secrets along the way.

They Look for Reduced Vig Opportunities

The normal sports bettor pays 10% vig, or juice, on their losses.

This means bettors pay $110 for a shot at winning $100. When you win you get back your $110 plus the $100 in winnings – but if you lose, you’ve lost the entire $110 stake. Believe it or not, that $10 is where the book makes its money.

Imagine if you could get away with betting $105 for a shot at $100? That $5-per-bet savings lowers your cost of doing business as well as the winning percentage required to turn a profit.

Some professional sports bettors look for reduced vig and other ways of reducing their overhead as a money-making tactic, and it’s a smart thing to do because it costs you nothing more than the time it takes to research.

If you’re willing to place bets online you can shop lines and vig by using more than one sportsbook. You may also be able to place bets that don’t have vig if you have a circle of friends who like to wager or you have access to a betting exchange.

They May Start Their Own Sportsbooks

In much of the world, opening your own sportsbook is illegal. In places where you’re allowed to open a book or exchange, you’ll need a huge amount of money to obtain the proper licenses and permits.

If you’re able to open your own sportsbook you’ll also need enough capital to survive short term fluctuations. Owning a sports book isn’t all smiling faces and roses, but the average sportsbook makes hundreds of times more money than the average sports bettor.

If you think about it, the sportsbook is the most profitable sports bettor of all time.

If a sportsbook can figure out how to get the same amount of money placed on both sides of every game, they are guaranteed a profit from the vig they charge regardless of the outcome. Of course they can’t always get even money placed on both sides of every game, but in the long run it works out as long as the books keep offering good lines.

That’s why it’s so important for the book to have a deep enough bankroll to cover short term losing streaks.

In the long run, a properly-run bookmaking operation is bound to show a profit.

Why am I including this in a post about why professional sports bettors win? Professionals find ways to make money. If they figure out it’s more profitable to run the book (control the game so to speak) they will try to find a way to do so.

Many local bookies got into pro bookmaking because they were sports bettors and figured out they could make much more taking the bets than they could making the bets.

I’m not suggesting that you start a sports book, but I do suggest starting to think more like a professional sports bettor. Find the most profitable play and make it. Every decision should be based on expected value and expected return.

They Control Their Bankroll

Professional sports bettors understand that no matter how good they get at picking winning sports bets they’ll never profit if they can’t place bets.

Without a bankroll, a pro sports bettor lacks the tools of his trade. Losing streaks are a real thing in sports betting, just like in sports themselves, and having a properly managed bankroll is like having a deep bench in the NBA –insurance against a collapse.

Winning 55 to 58% of the time against the spread puts you in elite company when it comes to betting on sports. If you can actually keep a 55% winning percentage year in and year out you can quickly become wealthy. But even when you win 55% of the time, you’re still losing 4.5 out of every 10 bets.

You can find advanced strategies like the Kelly Criterion and other fancy things to figure out the exact amount you should bet on each game in comparison to your bankroll, but here’s a quick guideline to help you as you learn to profit in the long run:

When you start your sports betting career I suggest never betting more than 1% of your entire bankroll on any single event.
Many people will claim this is too conservative, but let me explain why it’s the perfect place to start.

Most sports bettors never become consistent long term winners.
Even less start winning on a consistent basis from the beginning. Most professional sports bettors spend years figuring out what works and what doesn’t before consistently beating the sports books. By only betting 1% of your total bankroll on any single event you give yourself plenty of time to learn your trade without worrying about going broke.

Betting 1% will also ensure that your bankroll is protected.
It’s almost impossible to start with only a few hundred dollars and build to a large bankroll without quite a bit of luck at an early stage.

Learn to be patient.
Why are bettors patient? Because it is profitable to be patient. If you restrict your bets to just 1% of your total bankroll on any one sporting event, you’ll start to learn the patience required of big-time bettors.

Once you prove to yourself you are winning on a consistent basis you can increase your bet size in comparison to your bankroll, but don’t go overboard.


Behaving like a professional sports bettor is an easy way to increase your winning percentage. Combine the strategies listed above with your own dedication and you’ll quickly start building your bankroll and your gambling acumen.

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