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Sports Betting Tips to Help You Beat the Bookies

By Scott, Professional Sports Bettor,

Sports betting is one of those things where the body of knowledge is quite vast. Successful sports bettors do dozens of different things they picked up over the years to enhance their bottom-lines. Many of those things come with added experience. But there are some things all sports bettors can do right now that will immediately boost their results. And when you start doing things the right way, it will snowball, as you start picking up the more subtle tricks of the trade.

Incorporating the following traits and mindsets into your approach would certainly be a good start and get you in the right frame-of-mind to start extracting every possible edge you can find in sports betting. Look at the following as a foundation. Then itís up to you to add other elements to your repertoire as you grow as a force in the wild and wacky world of sports wagering.

Selectivity: How important this element is for bettors cannot be overstated. Selectivity, quite simply, is the most valuable asset sports bettors have in their arsenals. Itís a built-in advantage bettors have against the bookies. The book has to offer odds on every single game, but that doesnít mean you have to bet on every game. Selectivity allows you to isolate only the spots you find are the most favorable.

Bettors who exercise high levels of selectivity have a leg up on other bettors and possibly the book, as well. They are able to isolate the war that is sports betting to only the battles where they have the edge. Some of us who grew up in tough neighborhoods remember we couldnít always choose who we had a fistfight with, but we probably would have done a ton better if we could have. Look at sports betting like that. Fight the fights you feel really good about winning. When betting on things you feel less sure about, you are relinquishing the power of selectivity and playing right into the bookieís hands.

Stand on Your Own Two Feet: The real movers and shakers in this business are the ones who are able to form their own opinions. They are confident and independently-thinking people who do not derive any comfort if people agree with them. They donít feel bad if seemingly the whole world favors the opposite side. In other words, these bettors are not bowled over by hype and public perception. They donít confuse a teamís exposure and coverage with merit, especially as it applies to betting and odds.

Itís not that good sports bettors just go against the popular opinion in knee-jerk fashion. Thatís not what this is about. Itís about being able to form independent opinions and beyond that, having the guts to pull the trigger on a bet when everything you hear and see on TV, radio, from other bettors, and print media is saying something else.

Donít Swing it from the Hip: This is a real problem area for many recreational bettors. Most of the general betting public relies too much on feel and not enough on facts, data, and hard information. After all, feel is something that just emanates from us naturally. We donít need to work on it--it just comes out on its own. Feel can be helpful. There are factors that affect the results of bets that canít be accounted for in the numbers, past performances, and other elements of handicapping that require actual work. Sometimes, the answers lie within us and not so much on paper. Itís more of a feeling.

True as that might be, itís a slippery slope to rely strictly on internally-generated opinions and insight, without it being backed up by hard facts. There is just no substitute for hard work. It cannot be circumvented by relying on instincts, however sharp yours may be. The bottom-line is that we need to do the hard work that goes into handicapping sports. It would be nice if there were a substitute, but there isnít. It takes time and not everyone has it. But to get the most out of your sports wagering, itís a necessary evil.

Doing the Easy Things: We do a lot of things to gain an edge when betting on sports and most of it requires some level of effort. Therefore, it only makes sense to make the most of the advantages and perks that are simply offered up on a silver platter. Sportsbooks operate in a competitive industry and to entice customers, they will offer different things that can really help us as bettors. Itís key that we take advantage of these things.

Some of these things can include a reduced betting line. When betting against-the-spread, we normally bet on a -110 line, meaning we must wager $110 for every $100 we win. Some books will offer a -105 line (5Dimes Sportsbook), effectively cutting your juice in half, as you would only need to wager $105 for every $100 you hope to win. Also look for enhanced parlay and teaser payouts and other things that can can nudge the odds more in your favor.

Itís advisable to give yourself multiple bookie options. Odds on sporting events can vary from book to book. It may not make much of a difference if you plan on making one bet. But who does that? Most of us make a ton of bets. When able to get the best odds available, thatís something that pays off over the long-run.

Be A Bettor First and a Fan Second: Being a sports fan played a big role in what made you gravitate to sports betting. But if not careful, it can also be what makes you leave the world of sports betting. Being a fan is fine and betting on sports doesnít mean you should remove all the enjoyment that comes with with being a fan from it. But there are some definite pitfalls that come with allowing your sensibilities as a fan guide your sports bets.

It can manifest in a number of ways. For example, betting with your heart is usually a costly endeavor. A lot of bettors lose money betting on their favorite teams. Or by picking against their least-favorite teams. Or they favor a certain playing style, while theyíre predisposed to dislike another style. Or they bet on games that will be on TV in order to enhance their fan experience.

When we look at how few actually manage to succeed at sports wagering over the long-haul, it occurs to us that this is not easy. In fact, itís downright difficult. It becomes clear that those who use wagers as a way to mirror or enhance their fan experience are not going to make the cut. In fact, whether you succeed in this will in part come down to how much you can remove yourself from the thoughts that guide you as a sports fan.

Itís All About the Match-Up: Sports bettors of all expertise levels can fall prey to the trap of looking at teams as individual entities, rather than accounting for how two teams will mesh on the field of play to create one dynamic. In other words, we cannot analyze opposing sides as individual entities. This isnít a beauty contest or a pose-down for Mr. Universe.

When breaking down a game, the main thrust of our efforts is to create an image of what the teams will look like against each other--how two separate entities will combine to create one game. As we know, there are certain styles that a team has more trouble with than others. The reverse can also be true. How two teams will mesh is the key, not making elementary observations on who is simply better or worse. In other words, donít judge the tortilla chips and then judge the cheese. Judge the nachos.

Getting Good Betting Value: Good betting value is defined as a pick where the odds are better than what the true probabilities would suggest. For the pros, thatís what theyíre looking for. Theyíre not guided by opinions and half-baked speculation on who will ďwin the game.Ē In sports betting, opinions on things like that are only worth so much. We deal with odds and point spreads, which render our simple opinions on results somewhat moot.

The definition of a good bet is when the odds youíre getting surpass what reality suggests. That might mean betting on a 35-point underdog because they should only be 28-point underdogs. Thatís good value and something we could miss out on if only going off of who we think will win the game. We might bet on a boxer who is a 10-1 underdog. Do we think that fighter will win? Probably not, but the fact that he should only be a 5-1 underdog means getting him at 10-1 is actually a bargain. And over the long-run, if youíre getting 5-1 shots at 10-1, you will be making a profit.

Final Thoughts: What is listed above is only a good start. Again, getting good at sports betting and beating the bookie on a consistent basis takes a lot of work and experience. Look to pick up as many edges as possible and maybe youíll stand a chance in a game where the odds are stacked against you. If youíre able to do the things listed in this article and then build on that with additional knowledge and tactics, youíll be well on your way.

Listed below you'll find more articles offering sports betting tips as well as sport specific information that will help educate you on how to become a winning sports bettor.

Tips to Winning - In this article, we cover a few important variables such as self discipline, tracking your records and properly handicapping games before you bet them. (And more!)

Sports Investing - We take a look at two things necessary to win long term. Money management and picking winners.

10 Commandments of Sports Betting - Badger talks about 10 different things having to do with sports betting that are important to know if you plan on winning long term.

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