Getting Back To The Sports Betting Basics

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Sometimes, when it comes to sports betting, it's easy to get lost in the statistics and minutiae of the individual games, often forgetting (or never learning) that whether the gambler is challenging sportsbooks in baseball, boxing or badminton, certain basic rules apply:

1. Respect the Line

They don't keep building those mega-casinos and sportsbooks in Las Vegas because gamblers are crushing the point spread. A good line should give the player reason to pause, to consider both sides. If something looks too good, look again. The oddsmaker isn't a fool, but maybe you are.

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2. Manage Your Bankroll

Only bankruptcy attorneys and psychiatrists benefit if you go bust so sportsbooks have almost as much of a stake in your viability as you do. Don't bet a game just because it's on television. Don't bet to try to “get even.” Be mature enough to understand that this is an ongoing process and measuring success by the day or the week is a recipe for disaster. Bet responsibly.

And don't forget to shop around for the best line to protect your bankroll. Check out BetOnline, BetUs, Bookmaker, do a quick Bovada review of their lines too, so that you're always getting the best price.

3. Don't Fall In Love With Trends

A team that has covered 10 straight games in a certain situation is no more or less likely to cover in Game 11 than it is for a coin that has landed on heads 10 straight times to come up heads again on the 11th toss. History can add perspective to a game but it's not always an indicator of what will happen in the future. What's more, many so-called “trends” are nothing more than the result of “backfitting,” a widely discredited process where someone manufactures a theory to validate a set of numbers, rather than developing a theory and testing to see whether the statistical data supports that theory.

4. Don't Last-Game Handicap

No team is as good as it looks in victory or as bad as it appears in defeat. Recent form certainly may be the best indicator of what's coming next but it's not the only indicator and teams should be judged on a broader basis. In fact, the game after a football or basketball team is embarrassed, it's not only likely to practice harder but also to encounter an overconfident opponent. Conversely, a team that wins in a blowout may take its next opponent for granted and develop a false sense of worth. It's not unusual to see teams coming off an impressive victory just show up and expect to win.

5. Learn The Value Of The Home Field/Court

All fields are not created equal and the value of being at home varies from sport to sport. In the NBA, it is travel, far more than a slab of wood that can help determine the outcome of a game. In the NFL, climate can be a factor, whether a team has to experience the heat of Miami in early September or the cold of Buffalo in December. In hockey, the home team gets to make the last line change, creating player personnel match-ups that may lead to an advantage.

The home field edge is less of an advantage in Major League Baseball but atmospheric conditions can effect how far the ball travels and have an impact of totals. Its “horses for courses” in thoroughbred racing and a home crowd has been known to not only influence how referees call a college basketball game but how a boxing match is judged, as well. The wise sports betting fan considers all these factors before making a bet.

6. Injuries Always Are A Factor

A general rule is that the more players in a sport, the less an injury matters. So, losing a regular or two in football, where there are 22 starters, usually is not nearly as devastating as losing a starter in basketball where only five players are on the court for one team at a time. Some teams try to hide injuries, particularly to key players, but rumors often leak out regarding the availability of players. Should you bet these rumors? Absolutely!

Look at it this way: Suppose you hear a rumor that LeBron James won't play against the Chicago Bulls. If you get the news before the sportsbooks do, bet on Chicago. If James is out, you've stolen a few points with the Bulls. If James plays, well you have Chicago at a fair price.

Detailed analysis is important but any handicapping process should begin with an adherence to the basic principles of sports betting.