Betting on sports seems like an easy enough activity. What many people imagine it to be like is that you just look at a game and take a guess. Of course, you usually know a little bit about the teams beforehand, especially when you start betting — betting on teams in the third-tier Vietnamese netball league comes a bit later.
But, the more you bet, the more you become aware of the fact that there’s more to it than just a blind shot in the dark. Developing a successful sports betting strategy has more to it than you picking up a sportsbook and impersonating Ray Charles playing darts.
Your hunch is important in betting, but making it the only factor is amateur’s play. In your beginning betting days, you should check out several websites which offer free betting tips (or, if you’re devoted enough, you can even give a go to those you need to pay for). Let’s take a look at what other conditions seasoned sports bettors take into consideration.
How the Pros Do It
When sportsbooks (online and land-based ones alike) determine betting odds, they use several statistics in their calculations — probabilities, teams’ forms, match history, weather conditions, etc. So, if they think about all these factors, why wouldn’t you?
For example, some teams perform better at home, while others tend to win more on the road. If you take a look at soccer, particularly at the English Premier League, you’ll notice that Arsenal has lost only twice at its own ground, compared to eight losses away from home. Similarly, Arsenal’s city rivals, Chelsea registered only one home loss, while losing seven times on the road. Without this information, if you just look at the table you’d expect Chelsea to win both games. However, with this added factor, you’d be wiser to predict that home teams (meaning both Arsenal and Chelsea win) will be victorious in the doubleheader — exactly what happened this season.
Additionally, you should think about the teams’ forms — whether they’re going into a match on the face of five consecutive wins or losses. Or, whether their star players are in good form. Here, you can actually learn a lot by playing fantasy leagues. They will naturally keep you abreast with how individual players are performing. Also, look at the match history. Some teams generally perform better against their rivals. For example, in the last 20 games at Chelsea’s home ground, Manchester United managed to win only four times. Similarly, Philip Rivers has never won against Tom Brady. So the next time the Chargers face the Patriots — you know what to bet on.
Furthermore, in reality, you have the upper hand — you get to see the odds professionals create. The greater the odds, the unlikelier it is the outcome will happen. In that respect, when the Bucks are playing the Knicks, the odds will be very low on the Wisconsin team.
However, you should not blindly follow these odds. First of all, they’re not always 100% correct. Sometimes a greater odd is likelier to happen. Also, the lower the odds, the lower your payout will be. Many bettors add small-odd games to their betting just to increase their winnings by a bit. This often turns to bite them. The risk is smaller, but so is the prize, and if you take a look at how much more rewarding the greater odds are, sometimes the risk makes more sense.
Adapting to the Sport
Some statistics are only a factor in certain sports. For instance, weather conditions can affect a baseball game, but it won’t interfere with basketball. Also, when you bet on individual sports, styles of play are important when predicting the outcome. In fact, that’s a much bigger factor in, say, tennis, than in football. Namely, Nadal is a much safer bet against Djokovic on clay, as opposed to a hard court.
If you’re a fan of just one type of sports, you should start your betting there, as you’ll be on solid ground and you’ll know what’s going on. However, in the long term, it’s ill-advised to stay in just one lane. Betting on only one sport can create patterns which will get you into a routine, something you wish to avoid when it comes to this type of gambling.
What’s in It for Them?
Another important thing going into a match is the teams’ motivations. Check out what they’re fighting for. For example, let’s say the Nuggets have already secured the second-place finish behind the Warriors (yes, they’re first even in an example), and they’re playing against the Clippers who are fighting to take the last spot that leads to the playoffs. Clearly, the Los Angeles team will be hungrier and will put up a bigger fight to get the win. Not to say that the Nuggets will just roll over, but it’s an important factor.
Just be sure to double-check what kind of a game is it. This goes out of the window when rivalries come about. No matter what’s going on with the standings, Real Madrid will never ever not care when it comes to beating Barcelona.
When you’re betting while the game is in progress, it requires a different approach. Most of the pre-game thinking goes down the drain. A lot of betting tips websites advise you to avoid live betting, but this shouldn’t always be the case.
Of course, you just have to adapt your strategy. Different factors are important during a live game. It doesn’t matter if one team is more motivated if they’re already 15–0 down in the opening few minutes of the first quarter. Then you have to look at things like how often they managed to make a comeback, is the other team usually secure in keeping the score difference, etc.
Bet Like a Pro
If you’re just starting out, you should consult with betting tips websites, but don’t overdo it. Blindly following someone else’s predictions takes out the beauty of it. It removes the adrenaline you get expecting the result you predicted.
When you’re a sports fan, betting can be just an added motivation for you to closely follow the games. Think of it as a hobby which gets you more excited about sports, not as a means to earn extra money. As is the case with casino gambling, in the long run, chances are, you’ll lose more money than you’ll gain. Nevertheless, when you’re betting, take into account all the different factors we talked about, and you’ll be able to increase your chances of winning.