Sports gamblers are always looking to gain an edge by obtaining all relevant information available before placing a bet. This is a smart way to do business and shouldn’t be overlooked in any case.
With that being said, things can get a bit more complicated when bettors try to assess which information should be used to make a bet. Aspects of a game that seem important to us as fans might not actually play a huge role in a team’s success when it comes to gambling.
Sports betting sites are hyperaware of the way the general public thinks about sports. They do their best to think like the masses so they can use these biases to make money.
When it comes to sports betting, there’s a very fine line between analysis and overanalysis. The key is knowing how much weight to place on different factors that lead you to the eventual conclusion of where to place your money.
In this article, I’ll break down the factors that sports bettors typically overvalue when making their plays. That doesn’t necessarily mean these are meaningless details that shouldn’t be considered, but it’s crucial to take them for what they’re worth.
Incorporate this information into your current betting strategy and watch your bankroll grow.
1 – Home-Field Advantage
Playing in front of the home crowd is undoubtedly a huge morale boost that motivates a team. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always mean that it’s going to have any impact on the final score.
It’s well-known that sportsbooks believe the home field is worth 3 points in football. However, this might be a case of sportsbooks projecting the public’s value of home-field advantage rather than the reality of the situation.
Numerous betting strategies exist that suggest taking a road team, or even a road underdog, is one of the smartest plays you can make. In fact, it often operates as a de facto “fade the public” strategy. Of all the many biases that the general sports betting public exhibits year after year, the tendency to bet on the home team is one of the most common.
With all this being said, it’s still important to recognize that not all home-field advantages are created equal.
When an NFL team from the South or West Coast (like the Los Angeles Chargers) visits a team from frigid north or east in December (like the New England Patriots), the lack of familiarity with the weather can be a real factor.
It’s important to note that when home-field advantage comes into play, it’s almost always because of another factor aside from the crowd or familiarity. In addition to weather, factors such as cross-country travel between time zones and playing a team in the middle of a long road trip can mean a big advantage playing at home.
Before you use “they’re playing at a home” as a justification for your bet, simply ask yourself if you’d still bet the same way on a neutral field. If the answer is no, consider holding off on the play.
2 – Overall Wins and Losses
As a sports fan and sports bettors, it’s easy to break things down into two basic categories, wins and losses. When evaluating two teams, it’s typically the first piece of information that’s taken into consideration as you try to decide which side has the edge.
While wins and losses will always be important, they’re often seriously overvalued when it comes to gambling.
From college basketball to the NFL, overall team record is as much a reflection of the competition as it is of a team itself. It’s always important to dive deeper and get the full story behind the numbers.
All of this isn’t to say that overall record shouldn’t be factored in to your decision, obviously, it means something. It’s just important to make sure your research takes you past the win and loss columns.
In fact, record often falls into the category of a “public bias” stat. Sportsbooks rely on sports bettors to consider the most topical information (record, what happened last week, home-field, etc.) to make their picks. This allows them to set odds that look enticing, but are really more of a trap.
Before placing a bet, do a little more digging on why a team’s record is what it is. Consider the strength of the opponents they’ve played, how close their wins and losses were, and most importantly, how they’ve been performing lately.
One of the most common mistakes sports gamblers make is thinking that a good record always means a good team, or a bad record always signifies a team that can’t cover. In just about every different sports league, there will always be a few teams who aren’t exactly what their record might suggest.
If you take the time to adequately evaluate what each team’s record is telling you, there’s a chance you might be able to get a slight advantage on the oddsmakers catering to the uninformed public.
3 – The Last Game
When it comes to high-volume sports like baseball and basketball, most bettors don’t put much weight on the most recent game. When the next game will be underway within 24 hours (or close to it), there just isn’t enough time to overanalyze. The same cannot be said for football.
After each game, a week-long breakdown ensues that has sports fans and bettors dissecting each factor that led to the game’s outcome. To put it simply, there’s an entire week for that performance to be fresh in your mind and change the way you think about a particular team.
Similar to overall record, the most recent game is a trapping mechanism that sportsbooks often use to manipulate sports bettors. It’s important to remember that a sample size of one game can provide misleading information. Make sure you aren’t just going off of what happened last week when you’re making your picks.
To take things a step further, teams who have recently been blown out often cover the following game. Similarly, teams who won big in their previous game have a tendency to fail in covering the spread the next game.
Use the previous game to your advantage by making the contrarian bet.
4 – Star Players
The “star player” factor as an overestimated consideration is slightly complicated. In basketball, where one player can completely change a game, it’s best not to underestimate their impact. However, in sports like baseball, basketball, and hockey, it’s wise to make sure you aren’t overestimating their influence on a game.
You might not believe it, but the absence of a star player in the NFL due to injury or suspension barely has an impact on the point spread. Aside from the quarterback (who obviously has a major influence on the odds), even the league’s top players only have a half-point to one-point impact on the odds.
It’s important to recognize that although a top-tier receiver or tight end might be out, the real impact of their absence is only felt over the course of several weeks. On a game-to-game basis, it’s impossible to consistently predict how they’ll impact a game.
Keep in mind that it’s still a good idea to check over the injury reports before a game. Often times, an overlooked injury can play a role in the outcome, but it shouldn’t be the sole factor upon which you make your bet.
In addition to the injury consideration, it’s important to note that star players don’t always translate into wins. Evaluate teams as a whole.
You might frequently hear an amateur sports bettor say something like, “I never like to bet against this guy.” This is someone you should consider fading when you make your picks.
As a sports bettor, information is always your friend. However, knowing how to use the information is more important than just the numbers themselves.
Placing the right amount of emphasis on the right factors can help you out big time. Remember, gathering the information is what amateurs do, sorting through it accurately is what sharps do!
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
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