Sportsbook Tips: Get the Most From Online Sports Betting
Like poker, sports betting is a type of gambling in which the player can gain an edge over the sportsbook. However, doing so takes a combination of careful planning, excellent analysis, and the patience to find the right opportunities to make a big score. If you want to get the most out of your online gambling, betting at an internet sportsbook is one of the best opportunities for the smart gambler – as long as you know what you're doing. Here are our top online sportsbook tips to help you bet smarter!
Manage Your Money
One of the most difficult concepts for many gamblers to understand is that of money management - but it is smart sportsbook strategy. Part of the confusion comes from the fact that many look at money management as a way to save money or extend their sessions at online gambling sites – sure, you may lose at blackjack or roulette in the long run, but manage your money well, and you can make your money last for a very long time.
Money management takes on a different importance when it comes to betting on sports. Like poker, online sports betting is an area where a player can gain an advantage – but the edges aren't going to be so huge that you can guarantee victory at any point. That means that betting too much on a single bet can be disastrous, as losing that bet could result in a huge hit to your bankroll.
Instead, you should focus on making very small bets in relation to the size of your online sportsbook bankroll. Over the long run, your advantage (if you have one) will show, and by betting only a small amount of money on each wager, you can ensure that short losing streaks won't stop you from ultimately coming out ahead.
Shop Around for Online Sportsbook Betting Odds
One thing you'll quickly realize when looking at different online sportsbooks is that the odds are not the same at every site. Most online sports betting sites create their odds independently, meaning that there are usually some sites that are offering betting odds on the side you want to bet on than others. Maybe you'll get an extra point on the spread of a basketball game, or get +150 instead of +140 on a football match.
It's important that, like in any form of online gambling, you make sure you're always getting the best odds possible. Each time you choose to make an online sportsbook bet with odds that are less than the best, you're costing yourself money - that's just smart sportsbook strategy. Each of these bets might cost you just a few pennies at a time, but over the long run, finding the best odds can be the difference between coming out ahead or behind.
Always Do Your Homework
Following bookmaker tips, you place a bet that you think can't lose. You can't understand why the team you're betting on is a slight underdog; after all, they're way better than the opposition, and they're playing at home! Then you start to watch the game, and realize something is very wrong: the star player for the team you've bet on is sitting on the bench. The announcers tell you that he's sitting out with an injury, right as the other team scores yet again...
This scenario shows the importance of doing your homework before placing a bet at an online sportsbook. If you place an early bet, you should know everything you can about the two teams or players involved and make the proper sports betting decision. If you're waiting until just before an event to make a bet, be sure to check the latest reports on the game to know if there have been any last minute injuries, suspensions, or weather changes that could impact the outcome.
Don't Mix Drinking and Gambling
There is nothing worse for a gambler that is trying to play responsibly than sports betting while under the influence of alcohol. Just like when playing a casino game like roulette, a sports bettor who is drinking can easily lose track of how much money they are wagering (and how quickly they're doing it), causing them to wake up the next morning with no idea why their bankroll is suddenly so small.
But with online sports betting, there's a secondary problem. Drinking can cause you to make impulsive bets without following the above tip about doing your homework. Before you know it, you'll be making bets that you'll regret later. It is fine to have some drinks while enjoying the game or sweating your bets – but smart online sports betting strategy says that you should be fully sober when you're making the bets in the first place!
Have Multiple Sportsbook Accounts
As we mentioned earlier, different online sportsbooks offer different odds on many games. That's why most serious online sports bettors are sure to have at least two (and ideally three) sportsbook accounts. Each of these accounts should be at a site that offers odds determined independently from the others, so that you're often getting a good variety of lines and spreads on every game you want to bet on.
The result is that you'll always be able to make bets where your odds are best. There's no reason to bet on a favorite giving 3.5 points when another online sportsbook only needs you to give 3 points instead. In some cases, having several sportsbook accounts will even allow you to guarantee a profit by playing both sides of a game or match – taking the best odds possible on each side, only at two different books. This works especially well in games with point spreads, as you can sometimes make it so that a certain result will allow you to win both bets – locking in a huge score!
Bet on Favorites Early
While sharp bettors use complex analysis to choose which side of a bet (if any) they want to take, the general betting public bets more on instinct, and is often rather predictable. For instance, the average sports bettor is much more likely to bet on a favorite than an underdog, simply because those bets are more likely to win (even if they pay out at lower odds).
That's not to say that betting on favorites is poor sports betting strategy by any stretch of the imagination. But what it does mean is that if you find a favorite you'd like to bet on, it makes sense to make that bet relatively early. Once the public money comes in, much of it will go on the favorite, pushing the odds further in their favor – and lessening the return for those who bet on them later.
Never Underestimate the Home Underdog
In virtually every sporting competition around the world, it's been proven that the home team has an advantage over the visitors. The size of this advantage varies by sport – home teams (especially good ones) in the English Premier League lose only rarely, while baseball teams have only a slight edge at home – but it's always there in some way, shape or form.
That's why home underdogs are often a good sports bet. When a team is an underdog despite being at home, it means that they are considered significantly weaker than their opponents. Yet, despite this, there is research that suggests home underdogs outperform the odds that are placed on them. In fact, in a long term study of results in National Football League games, if was found that simply betting on home underdogs – with no other research – would have allowed players to approximately break even with typical -110 odds, or actually come out far ahead with the discounted odds often available at online gambling sites!
Don't Bet Just Because it's On
There will come days when none of the bets available to you at the online sportsbook are all that appealing to you. So instead, you'll just watch a game in your favorite sport to relax. You might feel a little bored about not having any action on the game, and thus decide to place a quick bet. Where's the harm in that?
If you're just betting for fun, this might be okay – but if you take your sports betting strategy more seriously, this can be a bad way to throw away your earnings. When you make impulsive bets such as these, you're not doing any serious research or making any real attempt to figure out whether or not you have an edge. Instead, you're just randomly throwing some money around in the hopes of getting lucky – exactly the opposite of what a good sports bettor should be doing.
What's the biggest advantage of betting at internet gambling sites? Some people say the convenience, while others will point to the amount of choices you have. But in reality, the best answer is probably the bonuses you can receive from online casinos, online poker rooms, and even online sportsbooks.
Every online sportsbook offers players signup bonuses (and often reload bonuses as well), and failing to take advantage of these is like throwing away free money. If a sports betting site is going to offer you some extra cash for signing up, be sure to make the most of that money. Check the terms and conditions to see what you can bet on, how much you have to bet in order to clear the bonus, and how long you have to complete the bonus.
It's also important to look out for other promotional offers that an online sports betting site might offer you. For instance, many sportsbooks will occasionally offer you a free bet, or allow you to bet with better odds than are normally available. Taking advantage of these opportunities is a great way to improve your long term results without any added risk to your bankroll.
Watch the Bookmaker's Advantage
Obviously, nobody would run an online sportsbook if it wasn't profitable to do so. Still, many players don't realize where the bookmaker's advantage comes from. Their edge comes from the fact that the odds they offer aren't exactly fair. Typically, a player will have to bet about $11 to win $10 on what should be an "even" bet. The extra amount a player has to wager above and beyond what would be fair given the odds the bookmaker expects is known as the vigorish, or more simply, the "vig."
The size of that vig dictates how much of an advantage you'll have to overcome to win. One of the nice things about betting at online sportsbooks is that the vig tends to be relatively small when compared to land-based sportsbooks. The basic lines are usually the same – so-called "20 cent" lines in which an even bet would become -110 on each side. However, you can reduce the house edge by looking for promotional or special lines that offer lower odds. You can often find dime lines or even nickel lines at many online sportsbooks, especially when it comes to betting on baseball or on early lines. By betting on these reduced-vig lines, you'll significantly improve your results over the long run!