In anything you want to accomplish, there are things that you need to know in order to have success. Sometimes these things are kept a secret from the general public, and sometimes what you need to do is in plain sight.
If you want to be a doctor, the path is clear. You need to get good grades in school, go to college, continue to work hard and get good grades, and eventually, you become a doctor.
You might want to believe that successful sports bettors have secrets that they guard to keep you from achieving their success. This leads many people to try buying success through sports betting systems and picks that are for sale. But the secrets you need to know usually can’t be bought, and even if you can buy them, they don’t work as well as you hoped.
The truth is that there are some secrets that successful sports bettors know, but most of them are fairly simple. Simple doesn’t mean easy, but once you learn what they are, you’re going to realize that being a winning sports bettor has more to do with work than a list of hidden secrets.
Here’s a list of seven secrets that you can use to improve your chances of achieving sports betting success.
1 – Value Is All That Matters
Most sports bettors believe that they need to figure out how to pick winners better than other people if they want to make money. Or they believe that they need to pick winners better than the sportsbooks.
While both of these things help you produce better results, they aren’t at the core of what’s important in sports betting.
The only thing that matters in sports betting is value.
Value is any bet you can make that gives you a long-term profit. This might sound simple, but it’s not. The problem is that in any particular betting situation, there are only three things that can happen. You can win, lose, or push.
Value needs to be based on long-term expected results, but the results of each bet only happen once. This is why so many sports bettors struggle to understand what value really is. They think if they win a bet, they identified a good value, and when they lose a bet, they didn’t identify good value.
Here’s the only way to learn for a fact if you’re good at seeing and taking advantage of value instead of just being lucky: you have to track your results over a long period of time. A few hundred bets aren’t enough to determine if you can find good values. You need to track thousands of results.
This is why most sports bettors never find out if their results are because they can find value or if their results are based on luck. Most bettors don’t make thousands of bets, and even fewer actually track their results in a meaningful way.
A line that offers value is one that is far enough from an accurate handicapping of the game that you can place a bet and win more money than you lose if the game is played many times. Games are only played once, so it’s hard to determine if your handicapping was correct.
Here’s an example.
You handicap an upcoming NBA game between the Lakers and the Clippers. You determine that the Clippers should win by eight points on average if the game is played several times. The line on the game has the Clippers favored by six. In this case, the value is on the Clippers because you expect them to win by eight and you only have to give six points. If the line was the Clippers favored by 10, you’d bet on the Lakers because you get 10 points and you expect the Clippers to win by eight.
Winning sports bettors identify value more often than other sports bettors.
This means that you don’t care what the offered line is. You just care if one side or the other of the offered line offers value. When you focus on value and forget everything else, you don’t worry about which teams are playing, if you can bet on your favorite team, or anything else. This is because none of this matters when it comes to being a profitable sports bettor.
Finding value isn’t easy, as you learned in this section. But if you want to improve your sports betting results, you need to focus on value above everything else. Value is the starting and ending point of all successful sports bettors.
Are there ways to help you identify value? The rest of the secrets on this page will help you learn how to find value and how to avoid things that don’t help you find value.
2 – Forget About Buying a System
Most people are looking for a shortcut to success. They want to know the inside secrets so they can skip the hard work that most successful people put in and just get to the good stuff. This leads to many poor decisions.
One shortcut that sports bettors often consider is buying a system. I don’t see as many ads as I used to for systems, but I still see them from time to time. The headline usually promises huge returns and/or a sports betting system that’s guaranteed to win.
The sales copy in the ad is filled with fuzzy math and outlandish promises. The promises are usually so strong that you start thinking that if you can just get a percentage of the promised results, you can become an instant winner.
You can’t buy a winning sports betting system. But it’s not because there aren’t systems that win. As a matter of fact, you should be developing systems all the time to try to find one that helps you win.
But if you could buy a system that actually works, it means that thousands of other bettors can buy the same system.
What happens when the sportsbooks start losing money?
When sportsbooks start losing money, they start trying to figure out why. Once they identify the problem, they take steps to eliminate the problem.
If hundreds or thousands of sports bettors start using a winning system, it hurts the sportsbook’s bottom line. When their bottom line suffers, they figure out why and start making adjustments. The sportsbooks learn how to adjust their lines to eliminate the advantage of a winning system if too many people start using it.
What all of this really means is that if you want to use a winning system, you have to develop it yourself and keep it a secret. Winning systems exist, but they aren’t used by many people. This is why you can’t buy a winning sports betting system.
3 – Buying Picks Is a Waste of Time
Buying picks doesn’t work for the same reason that buying a system doesn’t work. If picks are available for sale that actually beat the sportsbooks in the long run, thousands of people have access to the same picks.
If all of the action on a game comes in on one side, the sportsbooks adjust the lines. They do this to help balance the action on each side of a game. This means that if a thousand people buy the same pick and place a great deal of action on a game, the line ends up getting adjusted, so if you aren’t one of the early bettors, the value disappears.
Both sports betting systems and sports pick sellers have a high percentage of scams. Most sports betting systems and picks are trash. While there are a few systems that might work for a short time and a few pick sellers that might actually be able to beat the sportsbooks, most of them are just fancy ways to take your money without giving you an edge.
Some sports pick sellers simply sell both sides of a game to a large audience and try to sell more to the people who were on the winning side the last week. They might offer a free pick to the ones that were on the losing side to try to improve their chances to sell them another pick the following week, but they make money because half the picks they sold won.
This might sound sleazy, but the math is pretty simple. If you sell enough picks and guarantee that half of them are winners, you build credibility in the mind of the winners. They’re more likely to buy another pick the next week.
You simply sell the previous winners picks again, with half getting one side of the next game and the other half getting the other side. After two weeks, you have 25% of the original pool of picks that received two winners in a row. You sell them a big pick package and make a great deal of money.
I’m not saying that every pick seller uses this method, but you can see that a pick seller doesn’t have to do anything but sell coin flip tips to make a lot of money.
Avoid buying betting systems and buying picks and focus on finding value on your own. It’s the only way to have a real chance to win in the long run.
4 – The True Enemy Is the Cost of Making Bets
When you bet on sports, if it didn’t cost you anything to make a bet, you could break even by flipping a coin in the long run. If you could figure out how to improve your win rate a single percentage, from 50% to 51%, you’d make a profit.
When you place bets with sportsbooks and bookies, you have to pay a price for the opportunity to bet. This cost, also called the vig, is the reason that most sports bettors lose in the long run instead of break even.
If finding value is the most important secret to successful sports betting, and it is, the second most important secret is that your true enemy is the cost of making bets.
Is there anything you can do to help with the cost of making wagers?
You can do a few things that help in this area. The first one is to look for sportsbooks and bookies that offer reduced vig bets. Sometimes you can find a book offering bets at 105 to win 100 instead of 110 to win 100. This reduces the cost quite a bit.
You can also look for opportunities to place bets that don’t have any vig. You can explore betting exchanges or private bets with people you know. Anytime you can make a bet with no vig, it lowers the required winning percentage you need to make a profit.
5 – To Win More, You Must Know More
The best way to learn how to find value is to know more than the people who set the lines for the sportsbooks. If you think that this sounds like a lot of work, you’re right. Becoming a successful sports bettor requires a great deal of work. You can find a few shortcuts that help you find value, but in the end, if you want a real secret, it’s that you have to be willing to outwork the sportsbooks.
To find value, you have to learn how to handicap games better than the people setting the lines. This takes a great deal of trial and error, but it’s possible.
Start by focusing on one sport and gathering as much information as possible about it. It’s even better to focus on one small part of one sport. Instead of focusing on MLB, you could just focus on the NL West at first.
Watch as many games as you can and track as many players as you can. Watch the lines and see how the outcomes match the lines. Learn why some games don’t match the lines and why some do. As you learn more, start trying to predict the outcomes of upcoming games.
Over time, you should be able to learn enough about your specialized area that you can start identifying lines that offer value. Once you master one small area, start adding other areas. If you started focusing on the NL West, add the NL East next.
You have to be willing to put in the work required to outsmart the sportsbooks if you want to get good at identifying value. Most sports bettors aren’t willing to do the work, so they continue losing. This is good news for you because you can get an edge by being willing to do what most people aren’t willing to do.
6 – Do You Really Want to Win?
I know that the first answer that comes to mind is that of course you really want to win. But if you really want to win, you need to stop doing what losing sports betters do and start doing what you need to do to succeed.
Are you willing to do whatever it takes to be successful? Are you willing to spend 100 hours a week figuring out how to win?
Are you willing to dedicate enough time and resources to really be successful, or are you more interested in dreaming about it and not doing anything that you need to do?
This might sound harsh, but the odds are high that you aren’t going to become a winning sports bettor. I cover more about this in the next section, but the bottom line is that most people say they want to be successful, and most of them don’t do what they need to do.
This is true in sports betting and in most other areas of life. Only a small percentage of people do what they need to do to reach the top, so only a small percentage of people actually reach the top.
The fact is that there’s enough information available to become a successful sports bettor. But it can be a long and painful road to reach that point. If you aren’t willing to do what it takes, there’s no shame in that.
Being a winning sports bettor might not be the most important thing in your life. But if it isn’t, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can be successful without focusing and putting in the work.
7 – Winning Sports Bettors Are Rare
Winning sports bettors are rare. You can look around and see the evidence of this. The world is filled with sportsbooks and bookies. You can make bets just about anywhere in the world, and by using the internet, it’s easier than ever.
If there were more winning sports bettors, there would be fewer bookies and bookmakers because they wouldn’t be making so much money.
Does this mean that a winning sports bettor is a myth?
The truth is that there are some people who are successful sports bettors. But there aren’t enough of them to keep the books from making a profit. This should tell you that your quest to be a winning sports bettor is going to be difficult. It might be the hardest thing you ever do.
Even if you learn how to be a winning sports bettor, once you figure out how to do it, you face more struggles. You still have to be able to get bets down on games without moving the lines too much, and you have to deal with large amounts of money.
It’s easy to get $100 bets down on games as a hobby, but how do you get a million down on a college basketball game in the middle of the week? How do you keep large amounts of cash safe when you’re taking it to a sportsbook?
How are you going to avoid being banned from sportsbooks once they figure out that you’re making too much money?
You might not believe that sportsbooks will limit your bets once you start winning, but a quick search on the internet will show you that this is exactly what they do.
I’m not telling you all of this to discourage you from being a sports bettor. You can find answers to all of these problems if you can truly learn how to find consistent value. But the truth is that trying to become a successful sports bettor isn’t the best option for most people.
If you learn how to make bets without the cost associated with most betting opportunities, you can afford to keep betting on sports. Making bets without vig is basically a long-term break-even situation, so you don’t have to worry about losing too much, even if you never improve your ability to find value. This is the best option for most sports bettors.
Achieving sports betting success is quite a bit like achieving success in any other field. You have to figure out what you need to learn, take steps to learn these things, and put in the work required to reach success.
You have the opportunity to be a winning sports bettor, but most bettors aren’t willing to do what it takes. Always focus on value and don’t make the costly sports betting mistake of trying to buy a shortcut.
You can invest in your education, but anything that sounds too good to be true is probably too good to be true.
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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