Having Realistic Expectations With Regards to Winning Percentage Against the Spread
Most of us at one time or another have seen sports handicappers on television screaming and yelling about how they beat the spread week in and week out, boasting winning percentages as high as 70%. These guys claim guaranteed winners, locks, surebets and can't lose propositions. Bail out plays, game of the month and game of the year picks are touted as if they have no chance of losing.
Many unsuspecting sports bettors call these "services" with hopes of receiving the golden egg that will fatten their bankroll or get them even with their bookie. Unfortunately, many of these poor souls will walk away a loser.
For starters, there are no such thing as locks or guaranteed winners.
Second, there are no such thing as professional sports handicappers who hit over 60% day in and day out. There may be a few guys in the whole world who are able to achieve that feat, and lemme tell ya... They're not on TV or the radio selling their plays.
The true 60% cappers are too busy with their process of handicapping every single game on the board looking/hoping to find that one advantage that the oddsmakers may have missed.
The 60% cappers has no time to market himself or tout his plays. Besides, it's more valuable for him to bet his own plays rather than sell them.
And now comes the purpose of this article... To educate you about having realistic expectations with regards to winning percentage against the spread.
First, you need to flush out anything and everything that you've ever heard on TV or the radio from "marketers" who have brainwashed you to think that a guy can hit 60%.
Next, you need to replace that number with a realistic one. If you can find a capper that consistently hits 55% or higher, you've literally found a gold mine. Folks, this is as good as it gets.
Sports betting is a grind. Many think it's a 50/50 proposition but it's not. "I can beat 50%!" or "It's a coin flip" are common things we hear when people talk about how "easy" it is to beat the spread. It doesn't quite work that way and most of these guys are the ones sprinting for the ATM machine at the sportsbook before the 4PM EST NFL games start on Sunday.
As you probably know, the bookies charge vigorish (-110). This takes away the 50/50 proposition, creating a situation in which you need to hit 52.38$ in order to break even. We do have some good news for you though! You can reduce this break-even point to 51.19% by betting at -105 reduced odds at 5Dimes.
The second thing that pushes the number worse than 50/50 when it comes to beating the spread is the phsychology of sports betting. The oddsmakers aren't stupid guys. They're creating lines (not all, but some) appear easy to beat and that suck you in.
A novice bettor that likes an NFL team laying -2.5 points is thinking "They only have to win by a field goal and I win!" In reality, laying -2.5 is one of the worst bets you can make in football. This is often times a sucker bet. There are some exceptions of course, such as if they public are hammering the other side (+2.5) to the tune of 60% or higher, but this is rare. But that conversation is a whole different topic for another day!
Getting back to realistic expecations, and this is going to shock you... Somewhere around 97% of all sports bettors lose long term. That there should clue you in that anything better than a 52.38% winning percentage against the spread is golden.
As you can also probably imagine, the higher we go from the 52.38% break-even point, the more difficult it becomes to hit the golden 60% number.
I've been around sports handicapping on a national level since 1998. During that time, I've surely seen guys hit 60% or higher in a single season, but NOBODY has hit 60% over the long haul. Some of the best are only hitting at a 55% clip.
The truth is, sports recreates itself every day. It evolves. It's almost impossible to keep up on all the variables, many of which are unknown. Unknown variables can consist of who has a cold, who is going to get injured during a game, who is fighting with their girlfriend, who didn't sleep well last night, who isn't motivated to play today, which teams are going to "mail it in", who's flight got delayed at rolled in at 5am and they have a game in 6 hours etc. I could go on and on. Handicapping games is far from an exact science. The more you read, the more you're probably figuring out that it's darn near a crapshoot.
There are in fact advantages and there are in fact guys that win long term. These are guys who are diligently handicapping every single game, digging to find that golden nugget that the oddsmakers have missed.
The advantage that you and I have over the bookmaker is that they are forced to put out a line on every single game. We are not forced to bet on every single game. We can pick and choose our spots. Kind of like a sniper does his target.
Here's a tip for you. Which games do you think the oddsmakers key in on? Do you think it's a game where two top ranked teams are going at it in a nationally televised game or a small college basketball game where two small schools are playing each other? The big matchup, of course, because they know most of the money is going to come in on that game. They spend more time handicapping and setting that line. They can tend to neglect small schools as the betting handle is tiny and somewhat irrelevant to their handle (amount of money/bets made on the game)
In summary, one needs to temper their expectations when it comes to beating the spread. One needs to keep in mind that 97% of bettors lose long term. One needs to be clued in that screaming touts on TV and the radio aren't being legit with their claims of crushing the books. A guy needs to realize that the free picks he receives here at Predictem that may only return you 5-10 units over the course of a season are a gift. Not only are you making free loot, you're avoiding becoming one of the 97 percentile that is losing.
Fellas, sports betting is a grind. Anybody that tells you otherwise simply doesn't know what they're talking about.
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