| How To
Handicap Sports: 5 Basic Tips
|With all of the
hoopla around the legalization of sports betting, mainstream media is becoming
more and more comfortable with the idea of wagering on sporting
Heck, at the beginning of most basketball, football, hockey, and
baseball games, the commentators usually mention the betting lines and which
team is the favorite and by how much. So, now that the betting taboo is fading
and it is becoming socially acceptable, many people are starting to get in on
This is great for online sportsbooks and new state-run
betting products. Why, because most of the time, the general betting public is
going to lose.
There is an old saying, Pros bet the number, Joes
bet the team.
But how do you handicap games to figure out if there
is an advantage against a particular betting line?
|Here are five
simple sports handicapping tips to start betting like a pro instead of an
Look at the Stats
So the most important part of handicapping is
developing your power ratings. But to get there, you need to
understand the stats. In football, whether it be college or NFL, the
live-and-die stat to start with is yards per play. How many yards per play does
each team average on both sides of the ball? With college basketball, arguably,
the most important stats to start with are defensive field goal percentage and
turnover percentage wholl control the ball better throughout the
Obviously, you will factor in other significant stats like overall
points allowed and overall points scored. But, most average bettors leave out
the most telling stats the ones we just listed above.
Consider Track Record
Momentum can play a huge
role in how a team will perform, and its often one of those intangible
things that the pure numbers guys and gals will leave out. That said track
record is often more important. What do we mean by this?
games for example. Divisional opponents play each other a lot so its
fairly easy to find large samples of situational trends. Perhaps you see that
one team is on a roll but they are going up against a divisional opponent or a
rival (like in college sports) that isnt as good, but they historically
match up well against the at the moment better team. For example,
Team A might be a team that is undefeated in its last 10 games, and Team B, the
rival they are going to play are just 5-5 in their last 10, but in that
specific matchup, Team B has covered the point spread in all of their last five
This goes back to both stats and track records.
Where are each team strong and what are their weaknesses and the way these
strengths and weaknesses matchup play a critical role in the outcome of the
Injuries are not
only important to consider based on the vanity aspect, like Lionel Messi or
Lebron James wont be playing, so the star player is out, but they are
more important from a statistical and strength/weakness. How does the missing
player affect the strength or weakness of the given team? Often, a betting line
will be set and then the public will see that X player is out and a lot of
action will go on the other team, artificially moving the betting line to a
soft number. Its your job to consider how much this injury affects the
most valuable stat lines beyond the basic vanity metrics.
Are they Priced Correctly (Power-Ratings)
Ratings should be set up at the beginning of the season by division.
Essentially, you start by looking at two teams and look at all of your stats
and schedule information and set your own lines by thinking, how much would I
take Team X by? For instance, in the Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Pittsburgh
Steelers London game, I might be willing to lay money on the Steelers to win by
3 but be hesitant to take them to win by 4 or 5 points. Conversely, I
wouldnt take the Jags unless they were getting at least 6 points. So
split the difference, essentially I have determined that my fair line is 4.5
review 5Dimes, we see that the number for that game is set at -3.5 in favor
of the Steelers. So, its a point softer than my line and there might be
some value. This doesnt mean that I should hop on this bet, but that this
game should go on the shortlist for further handicapping. If you do this team
by team for each division, you have an easy reference point to check against
the betting lines. However, you can also find other trusted power ratings if
you dont have time to set your own.
Piece all of this together and
you will be taking a pro mindset to betting Football, American Football,
Basketball, Rugby, Cricket
you name it!