Sports Betting Tips

General Handicapping Tips

Sports betting tipsMake sure you’re always disciplined and set a bankroll for your sports bets. You don’t want to financially ruin yourself with bets as this is bad for you and everyone in your life. A widely accepted rule is to never make a single bet that consists of more than 3% of your total bankroll. If you stick to this and follow the other sports betting tips we’ve outlined here, you should be in good shape to weather the swings that are associated with sports betting. Some bettors never bet more than 1% on any given contest and others are willing to bet as much as 5%. The best percentage for you depends somewhat on your abilities and tolerance for large bankroll swings.

If you want to see the most common sports betting questions check out our FAQ page, or if you want to learn more about the terms used by sportsbooks and sports bettors, check out our terms page.

Don’t Chase Losses

If you go on a downward swing with your sports betting, don’t try and chase your losses. This will just make things worse. Trust in your system and make sure you’re using all available data and a solid sports betting strategy. The swing will turn back to your favor if you have a legitimate winning system, and there’ll be times when you seem to win on every single bet you place. Accept this and know that it’s just a natural part of sports betting.

Bet Sober

Although this is pretty obvious, you should always make your bets when you’re sober. By all means indulge before, during, and after the game, however, make sure when you actually select and place bets you aren’t being affected by alcohol or something else that will affect you mentally. This will ensure you don’t make any questionable bets and that you stick to your system.

Sports Team Travel

Travel is always tough for sports teams, and it should always be taken into consideration when you’re making your selections and looking for good value. Travel from the east coast to the west coast, and vice versa is the most onerous on teams and it’ll impact them in relation to their performance. Make sure you always look into travel, and stretches of travel, as this allows you to select underdogs with excellent value who often get up for a win against a travel-weary opponent.

Underdogs at Home

Home dogs should be in your betting vocabulary front and center. And if it isn’t, make sure it is from now on. An underdog that is playing at home is where you’ll generally find the best value and results, particularly in line and spread bets, however, the money line can be good also. When selecting your bets try to apply all the sports betting tips listed here to home dogs in order to make the best selections. Obviously, this will only apply to team-based sports like basketball, baseball, ice hockey, football, and soccer.

Be Cautious

Sometimes you may come across odds that just seem too good to be true. Be very wary when you come across these and don’t rush into making a bet. Sports books are intelligent in the way they set up their odds and will do a lot of research themselves. If you come across those great odds, don’t forget to do a little bit of your own research first before diving into a bet. Quite often you’ll find one major factor in relation to the game has changed and has altered the odds drastically.

Investment

You’re going to have the most success sports betting if you treat it like an investment strategy instead of just gambling. If you study all the data that impacts results and the odds that are being offered you should be able to weigh the risk versus the reward and make solid investments, or bets. In the long run, all you need is to be winning more bets then you’re losing and it will all pay off. This kind of focus also helps you to avoid making bets with your heart for teams you like or support.

Baseball Betting Tips

Baseball iconIt’s never a good idea to make a World Series winner bet before the season starts. This bet is just too far off and there are too many variables including injuries, trades, and performance issues during a 162 game season. In baseball, you’ll find many good bets, some of which we’ve outlined here, which are far better than a pre-season World Series winner bet. So save your cash and put it into a more profitable betting strategy.

Different Bets

Money Line

A money line bet is always an excellent option when it comes to baseball. You’ll need to study teams and recent performance to determine which team to bet on when using the money line option. Often there’ll be great value in the money line bet on the underdog. Some research prior to making your bets is always a good idea.

Run Line

A run line is also an excellent bet option in baseball. In this type of bet, the favorite needs to win by two runs and the underdog needs to lose by less than 2 runs, or win. This evens up the odds and payout and provides value for many bettors, especially if the line is favorable to one team based on conditions, injuries, and history. The spread bets can push these advantages and disadvantages out further.

Winning or Losing Streaks

Streaks are vitally important in baseball. You should always take into consideration streaks that particular players and teams have, especially when it comes to pitching. A streak can give players and a team a psychological advantage which can enable a team to overcome more powerful opponents. So you should always factor this in when you’re making your selections.

Home Field

A team’s home field advantage is obviously huge when it comes to betting on baseball. The size of the park, weather conditions, crowd, mounds, sand and dirt composition and grass type all impact play. It’s important to take home field advantage into consideration when you’re making your selections. You can often find great value on money line or run line bets for the underdog when they’re playing at home.

Bullpen

In baseball, for each game, you should always study the bullpen. A strong line up in the bullpen can often mean a team will be competitive to win in games where they’re the underdog. This can give you some great value when it comes to selecting a side on the run line. Bullpens are very fickle and can change significantly from game to game and moment to moment, so make sure you’re aware of this at every point leading up to the immediate start of a game.

Underdogs

Find the heavy underdog as there are so many games in baseball in a season and a large disparity between games won and lost, even by the top teams. On a long timeline, major underdogs in baseball will win and the value you can get on the money line from underdog bets that come through will often outweigh the losses you’ll incur when the underdog does act like the dog and loses. Make sure you take into consideration a lot of the factors mentioned in these sports betting tips when you select the heavy underdog.

Starting Pitchers

Good starting pitching is huge in baseball, and you should always find underdogs that have a good starting pitcher. Similarly, you should be wary of favorites who have one of their worst pitchers starting. The pitching should be one of the first things you look at when you’re starting to make your selections for the week.

Division Games

Divisional games are great to look at when it comes to selecting underdogs to get value. They’ll win more often in a division contest than they will in a standard game. Teams will just try harder when they’re playing teams in their division. If you can find the right values on the underdog in the long run you’ll be profitable on these bets.

Focus on underdogs that are coming off a loss that’s a shutout. You’ll be able to find value in this bet, as both the books value the underdog more, and also teams traditionally come out and play better after these kinds of losses.

Don’t Follow the Hype

In baseball, as in all sports, you should always bet with your head. Don’t get caught up in local team hype or the favorites that the major public groups have. Quite often you’ll be able to actually use this to your advantage. Teams like the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees often have odds that don’t quite add up. This is because of the huge number of people that support these teams and make wagers on them based on passion. If the public is shifting the odds in these games and creating a favorite where there shouldn’t be one, you can certainly cash in on this.

Series Bets

Baseball is played in series, usually three or four games in each. Home teams rarely get swept and heavy favorites rarely get swept. So if a home team has lost the first two games of a series you should strongly consider betting on them in the third game. The same is true for favorites, even if they’re on the road.

Basketball Betting Tips

Basketball iconJust like we mentioned in the baseball section, you must bet with your head, not your heart when it comes to basketball. Your emotions should never get in the way of your bets because you’ll end up repeatedly losing otherwise. Your bets should always be backed by solid data and analysis. Never make a bet based on which team you support or want to win. This is really true for all sports betting; we just want to highlight how important this is if you want to be a winning sports bettor.

Starting Players

You should always assess the starting line up for a team before you place a wager in basketball. This is vital as sometimes a key player might not be playing, and we all know how important that one star player can be in a game. Consider a starting lineup without Steph and LeBron. If they are a late withdrawal due to injury or rest you need to be aware of this as it can completely alter your betting strategy.

Caution with Trends

Trends in basketball should be used very carefully when it comes to making your selections. Although they can provide some insight into how a team traditionally performs against a particular rival, there are many other factors which should take precedent above this information. Trends are useful, but basing systems only on trends is dangerous. Amateurs bet heavily on trends and professionals only use them as a small part of their formula. It’s more valuable to determine what’s causing the trend than blindly following it.

Watch for Good Odds

Due to the large number of games that are played in the NBA, and in college basketball, you’ll be able to find great odds in books as a result of some games being lost in the crowd. Although this is rare it certainly still happens, so keep an eye out for it and make sure you’re aware of most games and money lines as much as you possibly can. Small and mid-size NCAA conference games offer some exceptional value if you become an expert on a conference or two.

Underdogs

If you’re making bets on short underdogs in relation to the line, then consider just making a wager on the money line instead. You’ll get better value and as a result will be more profitable in the long run when making this type of bet. You should also avoid wagering a large amount on massive favorites when the money line is huge, as you could end up losing a lot and ruining your bankroll if a major upset happens. Remember, it’s about investment, data, and tactics when it comes to betting on basketball.

Check Recent Stats

As a rule, you should always study a team’s recent statistics in relation to points scored in the paint, and also turnovers in the paint. If points scored in the paint is high, and turnovers are low, this is a great indication that they have a solid game plan and could beat other teams that are rated higher. You could get great value in an underdog based on these particular statistics. This information is readily available from a variety of sources online.

Fatigued Players

In the NBA, quite often teams will play three or four games in a row, with just one day off in between them. This means they can be very tired and aren’t playing optimal basketball. You should look to exploit this. If a team is on the road the impact is even more severe. Although books consider this when writing the odds, you can still find great value on these teams from time to time.

Football Betting Tips

NFL Football iconA mistake many bettors make when placing bets in the NFL is to have action on every single game in a week. This isn’t a good idea. You should fluctuate how many games you’re betting on during a day or week of football based on the value you identify in certain games. You may only bet on one game in a weekend if there isn’t great value elsewhere. Or you may very well bet on every game. Make sure your decisions are driven by the insights you’ve gained through analysis of data.

Look at the Defense

The quarterback is king in football, but the defense is sometimes more important. Make sure you don’t just look at the quarterback and their recent results when looking for value. The defense is also vitally important, and many say that Super Bowls are won by the defensive lines. So be sure to research the defensive line every game, as well as the offense. The rate of defensive touchdowns that a team achieves is also a great statistic. The Denver Broncos winning super bowl 50 is a great example of what a strong defense can achieve.

In college football, scores are usually much higher than in NFL. This is because the defensive lines aren’t as well developed as the offense. Keep this in mind when making your bets as generally you’ll focus more on the offense when it comes to selecting your picks in college football. Also, be wary of comparing bets between college football and the NFL, as they are very different in many respects.

Shop Around

In the NFL particularly, yet also in other sports, it’s important to do some research or shop around for lines at different sportsbooks to find the best value for line bets. Known as line shopping, this allows you to be much more profitable in the long run. You should also look at online sportsbooks when you’re doing this as it’ll save you a lot of time.

Betting on the Spread

Statistically, you’ll do well with spread bets in the NFL on home teams that are the underdog, so make sure you seek out the value in these games and exploit it. On a long timeline, it’s proven to be a positive expectation bet which will result in a modest profit, especially when all the other key variables listed here are factored in. But the Sportsbooks know this too, so sometimes they move the line too far in these games and provide value on the other side.

Stay Away from Parlays

Parlay bets in NFL generally aren’t a great idea, and this is for a few reasons. They’re time-consuming and usually, the amount of money you can wager is limited to $100. On top of this they’re combining a lot of risks, granted for a decent reward, but in the long run is it worth it when you look at parlay bets considering these three factors? We think not. You can find much better value in other bets in NFL.

Running Backs

Make sure you look into the team’s running backs in a particular game. Quite often rush yards are overlooked by bettors in favor of passing yards. Although passing yards will usually be higher for most teams, the rushing yards can really take the team to the next level. As the running backs aren’t as glamorous as the quarterbacks, they’re often overlooked. So make sure you weigh the rushing yards versus the defensive line to give yourself a more rounded insight into value.

Type of Field

Turf-type in the NFL and college football is pretty consistent these days, however, some teams still play on different playing surfaces than their opponents. This can impact teams and can really throw them off their game. If a team doesn’t historically play well on grass and they’re a favorite against a team that’s playing at home on grass then this should be factored into your betting. Look for value in the home dog in these circumstances as grass can change how a team plays and really impact them negatively.

Week-by-Week Analysis

When you’re making bets in the NFL you need to be conscious of the bye week. Between certain weeks in the NFL season teams have a bye. At the moment, the weeks you need to focus on are from week 5 to week 11. In these rounds, you’ll need to factor in that some teams may have had a bye last week and will come into a game fresher than their opponents.

The NFL has Thursday night games quite frequently throughout the regular season. You need to keep this in mind not for that particular game, but for the following week where a team that played in the previous week on a Thursday night can have up to four more days’ rest than their opponent. If you find a home dog in this situation with good odds, this can be another factor that may sway a result into your favor.

Golf Betting Tips

Golf iconLike many sports, the current and recent play is king in golf. You should always look for player’s that have been on a good run coming into a tournament. This is all the more relevant for lesser known players because if you identify someone in good form that has long odds, you can make a bet on a high finishing position for good value. Everyone can see who won the last few weeks, but if you track more golfers you may see some tat have been placing well ahead of their normal position but haven’t broken into the top 10 yet.

Playing Course is Vital

The course is vitally important when you’re selecting players for your bets in golf. You need to first study the course and correlate this to players results on those types of courses in the past. You should study not only whether the course is links, parkland, or heathland, but also the grass type, hole lengths, fairway types, and so on. This information can match up with past players performances and give you some great insights.

Players Past Performances

A player’s historical performance in a particular golf tournament can give you some great information when it comes to getting great value in your golf bets. If a player has recently been out of form, and as such has long odds, they may be a good bet if they’ve historically done well in a particular tournament at a particular golf course. This is because the course may suit their game and preferences when it comes to hole length, type, bunkers, water hazards, green types, and more.

Check the Weather

Weather is huge in golf and can have an impact on pretty much every single component of the course itself, not to mention the psychological impacts it can have on a player. It can affect greens, fairways, roughs, tee positions, and more. You simply must study the weather before making a bet on golf. Once you have the conditions down, you should then seek golfers who have historically done well in these conditions.

Bet All-Around

Avoiding the big names is always a great idea when it comes to betting in golf. Try to avoid just selecting the same top two or three players in the world. You’ll see that hundreds of golfers compete in tournaments and the value won’t be great for the favorites. When you compare their odds to the likelihood of them doing well, you’ll see that it isn’t going to be profitable for you in the long run.

Tournaments are Prime

Unlike most other sports, in golf, you can get some great value on players once the tournament has started. By keeping an eye out for certain long shots that are doing really well in the first or second rounds, you can get some great value by placing a bet on these players before the sports books change their long odds. Once the tournament begins you should still be looking for value. Some bettors make the majority of their winning wagers after contests start instead of focusing on betting before the match.

Ice Hockey Betting Tips

Ice Hockey iconIn ice hockey, it’s all about the checking line versus the best, or first, attack line. This means you need to line up each team’s best defense versus the best offense and vice versa. From this, you can make a solid determination of which team has the edge and make your bets accordingly. This sounds simple, but hardly anyone does it as extensively as they should.

Combining Statistics

Statistics in hockey can be very useful, and it’s mostly not about player statistics and points. It’s more about the rate at which a team can kill a power play, and also score on a power play. If you can combine these two statistics and compare them across both teams you’ll get a great insight into who’s going to score more goals during the game. This can also help you for total and over / under bets.

Like all sports, home ice is pretty important in ice hockey. More importantly, you need to know a team’s home ice record. Strangely enough, some teams do much better on the road in ice hockey than on their own home ice. Alternatively, there are teams that hold almost perfect records at home. You should always study the record of a particular team on the ice both home and away and factor this into your analysis.

A statistic that you should factor into your betting in ice hockey is goals per game. You can use this from the previous season, and also the current one. When you compare goals conceded versus goals scored per game you can draw some great conclusions in relation to the competition. This will help you determine the underdog with great value.

Goalie

The goalie is a major focus in ice hockey and an amazingly talented one can truly change the outcome of games. Historical information about how goalies fare against certain teams is absolutely vital when choosing your selection in ice hockey. Recent results and form are also key as psychologically being on top of their game can work wonders for a goalie, and of course, the opposite can be dreadful.

Look at Key Players

Players can have a major impact in the game of ice hockey. Like basketball, teams can be taken all the way to the Stanley cup playoffs off the back of a great player. We rest our case in the fact that pretty much everyone has heard of Wayne Gretzky. So when you’re making your selections make sure you look at point’s statistics for players. This comprises both goals and assists and can give you a great indication of how teams will do when cross-referenced with historical data on the player and team.

Fatigue

Much like other American sports, the NHL schedules teams to play on consecutive nights. In such a fast-paced sport, teams can suffer hugely from fatigue. So make sure when you’re looking for value in bets and looking for the underdog on home ice, take a look at the opponent and if they’ve played the previous night. It could be a great place to direct your money.

Team Synergy

Team form is really not super important in ice hockey. So many games are played in an NHL season that even the best teams quite often lose to the worst teams. This is great for the bettor because if you exploit this at the right time you can make a nice profit. Make sure you factor this in and don’t let form dissuade you too much from placing a bet on a large underdog in the right circumstances.

Injuries & More

Injuries and transfers are quite common in the NHL, so before you make that automatic next bet you should always check out the team list and roster to ensure that the best players are going to participate. This is especially important when you come across what you think are great odds. This is because there is a good chance that the sports book already knows about the injury or change, and that is why the odds are so great.

Because of the sheer volume of games in the NHL season, quite often teams will rest their star players even when they don’t have an injury. So make sure you stay aware of this as you can use it to your advantage when making a selection. If you can catch wind of a star player being rested before the sports book, you can get some good value.

Understand the Game

Depending on where you’re located in the United States, ice hockey may not be very familiar. A basic understanding of the game is always a good idea before you make a wager. If you don’t know what power plays or penalty kills are, then make sure you do a little bit of research on the game first before you starting making bets.

If you’re in a hockey mad town you’ll quite often be able to find excellent value on the money line. This is because everyone in that town will bet with their heart and not their head. If you study the data and make an intelligent decision you’ll often reap value from your bet because everyone else is swaying the markets to favor the home team, even when they may not be the real favorite.

Shop Around

Ice Hockey is a less popular sport than basketball, football, and baseball. This is a fact and it can be used in your favor when it comes to sports betting. Quite often sports books themselves might not be as well versed in ice hockey when compared to these other sports because the vast majority of money isn’t coming in for the game. This means they may make mistakes in relation to the odds they’re offering for certain ice hockey games. A little bit of shopping around sports books may get you onto some great odds because of this.

Soccer Betting Tips

Soccer iconYou’ll be able to find literally thousands of soccer games to bet on every year. Soccer is by far the most popular sport on the planet. You shouldn’t gorge yourself on this soccer buffet, though. It’s a really good idea to only stick to one or two leagues; maybe three if you’re feeling adventurous. This is because you’ll need to study a range of factors when you start making your bets to give yourself the best possible chances of winning, and if you’re doing this across many leagues it will just become too much. It’s almost always better to be a specialist instead of a generalist in sports betting.

Tied Games & Betting on the Draw

Because there are so many draws in soccer, one of the best options you can select when making a bet is on a team not to lose. This means you’ll win your wager when this team wins or draws. It’s a great option and you can still get very good value on this bet. You won’t experience many worse feelings when it comes to betting than your team drawing and you still lose. So take advantage of this bet.

If you come across two teams that are exceptional defensively and will have a tough time against each other, then betting on the draw can provide excellent value. You shouldn’t bet on the draw that often but sometimes teams are just so evenly matched that it makes sense. Sports books will quite often offer excellent value on the draw because it’s the least likely of the three possible outcomes.  By studying teams closely you can make some great draw bets that will pay off big time.

Goalkeepers

Goalkeepers in soccer can really change a game. If you find a team with a star goalkeeper then you can quite often get great value on bets, especially when you make a selection taking a range of other factors into consideration. On the other hand, a dud keeper can really cost teams; this is because it’s all about shots on target in soccer. More often than not when a team consistently has shots on target they’ll get one through the keeper. If it’s a bad keeper, then the opposition won’t need as many shots on target to do this.

Corner Shots

Conversion from corners is a great statistic to use when you’re making selections in soccer. On average 11 corners occur each game in the English premier league. If you have a team that has a high conversion rate on corners then they, and hopefully you will be very successful. This statistic is often overlooked; however, it can be very useful.

Corner bets have been booming recently in soccer. In this bet, you make a wager on the number of corners that will occur in a game. You can choose a range, an over / under, or an exact number. By studying teams, you can quite often make some great corner bets. Make sure you look for teams which defend deeply in the field, teams that play a high tempo style of play, and a noisy crowd that is close to the pitch. These factors will all result in a higher number of corners.

Home Field

Home turf is extremely important in soccer. When you’re watching the English premier league next, just take note of what the crowd is like in the home team’s stadium. They’re loud, supportive and passionate for the home team, and truly hostile towards the opposition. This can make a major difference in the outcome of a soccer match. Some teams don’t have as many followers, though, so be sure to also check on home ground records.

Goals & Underdogs

Consistent goal scoring is vital when you make selections in soccer. Some teams just can’t find the back of the net for many weeks in a row, which can really hurt your betting. On the other hand, if you identify this you can make some great bets with excellent value on underdogs that come up against teams that are in goal droughts. So make sure you’re reviewing the statistics of a team’s goal scoring ability.

Shop Around

Soccer is not a hugely popular sport in the United States and you can use this to your advantage. Often sports books, provided they’re actually accepting bets on soccer, won’t have a great understanding of the game and if you do, then you can exploit this. So make sure you shop around for your odds when it comes to soccer. Online sports books are probably more likely to accept soccer bets compared to bricks and mortar sportsbooks.

Additional Tips and Resources