Can You Make Money From Sports Betting?
There’s a large portion of the population that thinks that no one can win at sports betting. These folks are also likely part of the group that thinks that no one can win in any form of gambling in the long run.
While their assumption is incorrect, it’s not a shock they feel that way, and in many ways, it’s hard to blame them. Sportsbooks and casinos alike have a fairly decent edge that even experienced gamblers have difficulty overcoming. The vast majority of people lose at sports betting and other forms of gambling.
These skeptics have probably lost a bit themselves or have friends or family members that haven’t had much luck with the bookies or at their local casino. Some may even be problem gamblers themselves and have since sworn off gambling since their issues.
It’s an uphill battle for most to understand that sports betting can be a profitable endeavor. There’s so much misinformation and noise out there. It can take bettors years to acquire the proper knowledge and techniques to win at sports betting.
(Almost) No One Starts a Winner
Except for a select few, almost no sports bettor will begin their career as a winner. Most start betting for fun and don’t look to engage themselves in the strategy behind sports betting.
- Some may quit after losing a string of bets, bringing their betting career to an end before it’s even started.
- Others will run up a balance, only to lose it all back.
The knowledge to win consistently at sports betting is available. It’s up to players if they want to decide to hone their skills and dive deep into the world of handicapping and sports betting or continue to give away money to the sportsbooks.
Important Note: Sports betting isn’t some get-rich-quick scheme. If you’re looking to hit it big with one big bet, sports betting is not for you. In fact, it’s actually somewhat of a grind. Very few people bet as their sole source of income. The vast majority of winning sports bettors wager part-time and make a nice side income in addition to their regular jobs.
Utilizing Your Knowledge
Sports betting knowledge, surprisingly enough, isn’t a requirement for winning at sports betting. Much of sports betting is math based and can be done by people with only a limited knowledge of sports. However, it sure helps.
Knowledge is power, and that’s especially true when it comes to sports betting. The more you understand about a particular sport or event, the better you are at predicting a likely outcome.
Understanding lesser-known or smaller-market sports available for wager can offer a distinct advantage compared to larger markets. The reason that sportsbooks have lower betting limits for small-market sports is because they’re less knowledgeable about these contests. Sports like college basketball, hockey, and baseball all have much lower betting limits than the NFL.
Respect the Oddsmakers
The sportsbooks’ 10% vigorish on each bet is a substantial edge for the oddsmakers and the reason they win when they balance action, but it’s not the main reason they usually win in the end.
Their betting and handicapping knowledge is second to none. They set accurate lines and update the odds based on betting movement. Their job depends on accurately handicapping games and making adjustments on the fly. They’re not only good. They’re the best in the world at what they do.
The biggest misconception among sports bettors is that they have to “outsmart” the oddsmakers to win at sports betting. Being smarter than the oddsmakers’ long term just simply isn’t possible.
In fact, understanding line movements and trying to get into the heads of the world’s best oddsmakers is what is going to help you the most. It’s no use trying to beat them at their own game.
The concept of handicapping is a simple one, but it can be one of the most complicated aspects of sports betting. When we handicap a game, we’re looking for an advantage based on the odds given to us by the oddsmakers.
What is handicapping?
Handicapping is a process that takes into account a number of factors. Basic knowledge of the sport and the teams involved is a must, but that only scratches the surface. Things like:
- Stadium factors
- Past meetings
- Current mindset of each team
Also many other aspects should be on the mind of handicapper.
The public perception of a team or contest and the opinions of oddsmakers and other sharp bettors (which can be inferred from betting percentages and line movements) are extremely valuable.
Strong, experienced handicappers weigh all of these to form an opinion on a game.
Value and Probability
Sports betting is all about value. Like the stock market, the odds or prices of each market are always changing. Each market has an opening line and closing line, and bettors do their best to get the right price on the optimal side.
Finding value and spotting inefficiencies in betting markets is the key to success in sports betting.
The same goes for sports betting. A significant change in the odds may eliminate value or offer a buy-low opportunity.
Value goes hand in hand with probability. Probability is the extent to which something is probable. In sports betting, this can be quantified based on the betting odds.
For example, a -200 favorite has an implied probability of 66.67%. This means that bettors would have to win their bet 66.67% to break even on their wager on a no-vig line. Identifying the true probability of wagers is one of the hardest parts about handicapping. Those who can do it well are extremely successful.
We’re Just Getting Started
The concepts of handicapping, value, and probability are much deeper than this introductory article. Understanding these concepts successfully is vital to your success as a sports bettor. We go deeper into each subject in our intermediate articles on sports betting.