Sports Betting Strategy

You need a sports betting strategy if you’re betting at sportsbooks online or off. Winning sports bettors use the best betting strategy, and you can learn from what they do.

The Best Sports Betting Strategy Logo - Words on a Pile of Money

Sadly, sports betting strategy is too complicated to cover on one page. But this page is the best place to start.

And links to the other pages on the site covering sports betting strategies are included. For example, we recently published guides to the Martingale System for sports betting , parlay sports betting, and hedging bets.

Other sports betting strategy articles in this section include:

You’re going to have a complete education in sports betting strategy by the time you finish reading the articles on this site. And with a complete education, you can start betting with confidence. It won’t be long before you start winning.

Sign Up for Multiple Sportsbooks and Get Free Bonus Offers

Here’s an insider tip winning sports bettors use. You can start using the same trick right away.

Sign up for multiple sportsbooks.

You enjoy many advantages when you create accounts at multiple sportsbooks. And there aren’t any downsides. Here are the biggest advantages of having accounts at multiple sportsbooks.

  • Multiple bonus offers. The bonuses differ from sportsbook to sportsbook. But you can get free bets, bonus money to place bets, or cash back.
  • With multiple sportsbook accounts, you can quickly shop betting lines. A small line difference can be the difference between losing and winning. Line shopping is covered in more depth below.

You can see a list of sports betting bonus offers here. Sportsbook bonuses help you in many ways. The most important thing bonuses do is help you overcome the vig. You’re going to learn more about vig before the end of this page.

You can also read in-depth sportsbook reviews here. We only list trusted sites with records of good customer service. Read the reviews and bonus offers and sign up for as many books as you can.

The sportsbooks available depend on where you live. To find out more about where sports betting is legal in the United States, read this page.

The Basics of Sports Betting Strategy [For Beginners]

Winning gamblers start with the basics, and sports betting strategy is no different. Here are the basics of sports betting strategy to get you started.

Most sports gamblers start betting on their favorite sport. If you love the NFL, start betting on NFL games. And if you prefer NCAA basketball, make your first bets on college basketball games.

It’s important to start with a sport you like. Your best opportunity to win is with information. And it’s easier to gather information if you watch a sport you enjoy.

Common sports bets have two teams and a betting line. When you start betting on sports, use one of the three common betting lines.

After gathering information and finding lines to bet on, evaluating games is the next basic. You can think of gathering this data in terms of mathematical betting strategies. These are covered in the following sections.

Common Sports Betting Line Formats

Point spread – The point spread is a plus or minus number. The team with the plus number gets points, and the team with a minus number gives points.

Here’s an example of a point spread:

New York Jets + 8
New England Patriots – 8

The home team is listed second, so the Jets are playing at the Patriots. The Jets get 8 points and the Patriots give 8 points.

To win a bet on the Jets, they have to win the game or lose by no more than 7 points. To win a bet on the Patriots, they have to win by 9 or more points. When the Patriots win by 8 points, the bet is a push.

Moneyline – Moneyline bets don’t have point spreads. The bet wins when the team you bet on wins the game. But the amount you bet and win is different than making a point spread bet.

Here’s an example of a moneyline:

Philadelphia 76ers + 280
Miami Heat – 365

When you bet on the 76ers, you bet $100 to win $280. But when you bet on the Heat, you bet $365 to win $100.

Total – The total line is the combined scores for both teams. You bet on whether the total score is over the total or under the total.

The total line for the 76ers Heat game is 208.5. If you bet the over, you win if the teams combine for 209 points or more. When you bet the under, you win when the teams combine for 208 or fewer points.

Point spread and total bets are usually placed at $110 to win $100. The difference between the two numbers is the vig.

You’ll learn more about vig below. When it comes to sports betting strategy, vig’s important.

Handicapping Sporting Events

Now you know how lines work, and the next step in this sports betting strategy is determining which team offers the best chance to win. Value is another term used when you look for the team offering the best chance to win.

The key to a successful sports betting strategy is finding value.

Handicapping is the name of the sports betting strategy most winning sports gamblers use. And handicapping is a system of using the information to evaluate teams and players.

Your goal is to find value by evaluating the teams and players. And the best way to start evaluating is by researching, which is the topic of the next section.

Here’s some additional information about a bold sports betting strategy. It covers some of the basics of sports betting strategy not covered on this page.

You’ll notice, if you read that page, that we’re not fans or believers in a zero risk betting strategy. Such an approach doesn’t exist, and if it did, it wouldn’t work.

Research for Your Sports Betting Strategy

If the key to winning as a sports bettor is handicapping, the question is how do you handicap games?

The answer starts with research.

The only way to learn how to evaluate games properly is through research. In fact, if you’re not willing to do a lot of research, you should stop betting on sports.

Fortunately, research starts with watching games. Watching games is the best way to research and evaluate teams and players. But you need to switch from watching as a fan to watching as an evaluator.

When you watch games, focus on learning about players and teams from a sports betting view.

Once you learn how to evaluate based on watching games, it’s time to add statistical research into the equation.

Every major sport produces a mountain of statistical data. So, you have to determine which data to use when you evaluate games, and which data to ignore.

Sports betting research comes down to watching games and using statistics effectively. Effective handicapping requires a lot of work and trial and error. But if you keep learning and researching, you can be a winning sports gambler.

How to Shop for Lines

What makes a good sport betting line?

It might look like a simple question, but it’s not easy to look at a line and know if it’s good or bad.

A good line is a line that helps you win. And a good line for one side of a game is a bad line for the other side of the game.

Here’s an example:

If you handicap the game between the Jets and Patriots used as an example earlier, and you determine the Patriots are going to win by 10, the best bet is on the Patriots at – 8. But if you can find the Patriots at – 7 at a different sportsbook, it’s a better line.

Many sports bettors look at the lines first and handicap the games second. Winning sports gamblers handicap games first, and then they see if they can find a line with value.

If you want to win, you have to focus on value. You can’t care which team wins. The only things you care about are evaluating games correctly, and finding profitable lines.

If you determine the Patriots are going to win by 8, the line listed above doesn’t offer value. So, you either find a better line or don’t bet on the game.

The best way to shop for lines is by creating accounts at several different sportsbooks. By having multiple accounts, you can quickly compare lines and place bets when you identify a valuable line.

The Vig Is Your Enemy

You usually have to risk $110 to win $100 when you make point spread and totals wagers. When you win, you get back your bet, so it doesn’t seem like a big deal.

The 110/100 is a ratio, so you could bet $55 to win $50, or $11 to win $10.

But when you lose, you lose more than you can win. Over time, the difference, called vig, makes the sportsbooks a lot of money.

And anything that makes the sportsbooks money costs you money.

Here’s an example of why the vig s your enemy:

You bet on 20 games at $110 to win $100, your total risk is $2,200. When you win 10 out of the 20 bets, you only get back $2,100. So, even though you won half your bets, you still lose $100.

When you bet with sportsbooks, you always pay the vig. But if you can find promotions or reduced vig opportunities, it saves you money.

Bankroll and Money Management for Your Sports Betting Strategy

You might not think your bankroll has anything to do with sports betting strategy. But a winning sports betting strategy requires proper bankroll and money management.

It’s hard to win as a sports bettor. Most sports gamblers lose money, and most winning sports bettors don’t make a lot of money.

The best sports gamblers usually don’t win more than 55% of their point spread bets. And you need to bet on a lot of games or bet a lot of money on each game to make a lot of money.

You also need a large enough bankroll to survive long enough to make a profit. Even winning sports gamblers have losing streaks. These facts also mean you can’t afford to bet too much on each game.

Most winning sports bettors bet less than 5% of their total bankroll on any game. And it’s better if you can bet 1% to 2% of your bankroll on each game.

Using the example from the previous section, if you win 11 out of the 20 games you bet on, you make a profit of $110. That’s an average of only $5.50 per game.

Myths about Sports Betting Strategy

Here are some common myths about sports betting and sports betting strategy:

Winning is easy

Winning a bet now and then is easy. You can guess and win about 50% of the time you bet on point spreads. But making a profit is hard. Without good handicapping and lines, it’s almost impossible to be a winning sports bettor.

Always bet on home underdogs

Many home underdogs offer value, but there are many other factors to consider. Many home underdogs don’t offer value as well, so you have to evaluate a lot more than this to determine if a game and line has value.

Road teams never offer value

Some road teams have value, and others don’t. The only way to determine if a road team has value is by handicapping the game and looking at the lines.

You only pay vig when you lose

Depending on how you look at vig, it looks like you only pay when you lose. But this is misleading because vig is the largest cost you have. Remember, your goal is winning 55% of your point spread bets, so you are going to pay vig on a lot of bets.

Fading the public is a great strategy

Actually, it’s not such a great strategy. I have a friend who wrote an article about the problems with fading the public. The bottom line is that it’s just not as effective as its proponents would have you believe.

Where to Bet on Sports

The best place to bet on sports depends on where you live. Check out the list of the best sportsbooks to learn more about your options. When you find the best options where you live, sign up for at least two or three sportsbooks so you can shop for the best lines.

You can find a list of states where sports betting is allowed to see what your options are. More states are legalizing sports gambling every month, so even if your state doesn’t have it yet, bookmark the page to check back.

Questions and Answers about Sports Betting Strategies

Here are some questions that we’re planning to expand this section to answer:

  • What is the best strategy for sports betting?
  • What is the most successful betting strategy?
  • What sports is the most profitable to bet on?