Note: This article was originally published all the way back in 2020 when Action Backers was just getting started. That said, the principles are still sound today.
Today I want to go over 10 practical tips that can help you win more money when betting on sports. If you are looking for a secret "system" or a lock of the year, this isn't the post for you.
Below you will find 10 actionable tips that you can start implementing today and see results tomorrow.
Let's get into it:
10. Track all of your bets
I don't care if you use the Action Backers bet tracker, a spread sheet, or a piece of paper, but you need to track your bets. You'll be amazed how much better you get when you see where you're profitable and where you're not.
9. Line Shopping
You need to have accounts at multiple sportsbooks. It's imperative that you're getting the best line. You can't just be playing at the same book just because you like the book, you need to find the best line if you're serious about making a profit!
It's just like going to the supermarket: you want to find the best price available, and you need to be able to capitalize on opportunities when the lines aren't as sharp at some books as they are at others. It's crucial!
Action Backers has lines from all of the most popular sportsbooks and our bet comparison tool will show you the top 5 best lines at any given time for all major sports.
8. Reduce risk when possible
For instance, instead of betting on baseball the runline, or on hockey the puck line which is minus one and a half runs or goals (-1.5), I like to take a minus one (-1).
This way I'm still getting typically a good value bet where it's plus money and it's going to pay me out a good chunk when it comes through, but by taking minus one instead of minus one and a half I allow for the bet to push so if the team only wins by one run or one goal I'm still pushing instead of losing.
Pro Tip: If your book doesn't offer a minus one, then all you need to do is bet the moneyline and the run/puckline. Whatever your profit on the moneyline would be, that's a second bet you make on the runline or the puckline and that way it equals out. It's the same thing as betting minus one so if, for example, the team wins 4-3, then instead of losing you're going to push.
7. Bankroll management
I've been guilty of this in the past; how often have you won money betting on sports only to turn around and play blackjack, roulette, whatever and next thing you know you’ve blown through 80% of your bankroll?
It sucks. You'll hate yourself for doing it. Don't let it happen to you! If you want to play in the casino, that's fine but have different money for that, don't use your sports betting bankroll.
5. Trust the numbers
You need to understand value, and sometimes you need to fall in love with an ugly duck. I've made a lot of money betting on hockey and other sports, and a lot of the time I'm betting on an underdog.
Underdogs that my model maybe only has winning 40% of the time, but the sportsbook only thinks they win 35% of the time. If the numbers are there then I'm going to make money in the long run and you need to be comfortable with understanding that! It's really imperative that you're betting the numbers and not the teams.
4. Don't be afraid to pass on a bet
If the numbers aren't right, or if the line moves in the wrong direction. If the spread changes and there's no value there, pass on it!
I can't tell you the number of times that, in my early days, I lost money because I was chasing a bet that I knew had no value but I wanted to be an action junkie.
Don't do it! You'll lose money in the long run and if you don't put the money in the middle you can't lose it, so do not be afraid to pass on a bet if the numbers don’t make sense.
3. Learn from those with experience
Be aware there are some scammy people out there and you need to use some common sense and have good judgment (take their words with a grain of salt), but really learn and study people who've been doing this for a long time.
Understand that they've been able to stay in the game for a certain reason and they have good knowledge so really try and soak up that knowledge from them. Also, when you gain more experience, don't be afraid to pass that along either!
2. Maximize value
So I know I said earlier that we want to be cautious and practice bankroll management, but if you have a defined edge and you know it's an edge (not a hunch) and you've proven it either through backtesting or over a given sample size then you need to maximize that edge.
It doesn't make any sense for you to be betting the same amount on a game you think you have a 10% edge in as a game you have a 2% edge. You need to be crushing that edge because the margins are so slim and the juice will get you if you don’t.
So once you find an edge, maximize it and squeeze it for all it's worth!
I like to use the Kelly criterion (watch my video on it here) that's the safest way to have some control while managing your risk of ruin and maximizing your upside.
If you're just starting out, don't worry about that in the beginning. That's more as you go down the line and you've proven the system to yourself; whether it's building a model that works really well or if you're just a really great handicapper with a proven winning record over a large sample.
1. Don't blindly tail others
I can give you hockey picks, baseball picks, basketball picks, whatever, all day long and if you want to take them that's great, but you should always be taking others bets with some degree of skepticism.
Try and understand how they arrive at that conclusion, how they got there with their picks. That doesn't mean you necessarily have to get into forecasting and handicapping yourself if you don't want to, or if you're not comfortable but don't just see someone post something on Instagram or Twitter or YouTube and just take it and tail blindly.
Do your homework and make sure that it makes sense to you, or at least that the person you're getting this information from has solid reasoning behind why they're making these picks.
That's going to save you a lot of money and by saving you a lot of money that's going to help you win more money in the long run as well!
Remember, as Ray Liotta said in the movie Blow:
Sometimes you're flush, sometimes you're bust and when you're up it's never as good as it seems when you're down you think you'll never be up again but life goes on.
It's not about any, one bet; good bets lose bad and bets win. It's about sticking to a process. It's just like a batting average in baseball; if you know you have a good approach at the plate, you get in there and you keep taking your swings.
Things will come around and eventually, you're going to connect consistently!
These were 10 Tips to Win More Money Betting on Sports. Let me know on Twitter if you found these tips helpful!
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