Continuing in our series of betting fundamentals as part of our guide to betting, this article covers everything you need to know about having a betting strategy. If you walk into a local brick and mortar betting shop, you will no doubt run into a bunch of punters betting whatever is currently on TV, whether it’s the English Premier League or a random Olympic tournament in a sport whose rules most of them barely understand.
This is clearly because these punters are there just to have fun and enjoy some thrills and this is fine as long as it works for them. A professional sports bettor, on the other hand, cannot afford such a luxury and must always remain focused on the end game, which is profit.
In order to actually break a profit when betting sports, we have already established that a bettor has to follow a very strict plan and strategy, which among other things, means you cannot just bet any sporting event out there and should specialize in one or two sports to start with and narrow this down even further by selecting only a small number of leagues and competitions to bet on.
Which Leagues & Competitions To Choose
For most bettors, it can be very tempting to just select some major soccer leagues, such as the EPL or Championship or the German Bundesliga to try and master. While these are certainly the leagues with the most information available to bettors, the reality is they are also the leagues the bookies know the best and there is little chance in bookies getting things horribly wrong in these top European competitions.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people who successfully bet the top English leagues, but most find it that betting smaller countries such as Netherlands, Belgium or South American countries is usually more profitable in the long run. If you can get a good stream of information from second Belgian or third Brazilian league, it is much more likely you will run into some fantastic spots to bet compared to the top competitions where information is so readily available.
For instance, there is no doubt that bookies sometimes don’t take into consideration the absence of important players or an apparent decline in form of a second tier club in a small European country. The point here is that it would be ideal to specialize in a few leagues in countries that we might call the second tier of world football and simply stick to those, getting to know every little element including teams, players, coaches, fans and any intricacies the league may include.
Getting To Know Your Competitions
Choosing a competition to specialize in can be difficult in itself, but even once you know which competition you want to bet on there are miles to go before you are truly a betting expert in the league. The first thing you will want to do is find a place where you can watch the matches and fortunately, the Internet can greatly help with this as streams from countless TV stations can be found online.
Understanding the local language is always a plus, but even if you don’t you should also find a solid news stream, keeping yourself informed on top players, new transfers and injuries and all other relevant data. You want to be more informed about your chosen league than you are on the major competitions you watch on TV each weekend, and this is not an easy task.
Yet, once you have mastered the teams, the coaches and the players of your competition of choice, your edge over the bookies will start becoming apparent. You will start seeing things they don’t and every so often you will see that a team with two injured major players is still heavily favored with the bookies against a lesser team. This is where you can start placing the bets on the opposing side and making some real cash.
The truth is that the algorithms the bookies use only take into consideration a number of statistical data, but will not take into consideration local rivalries, friendly club relations, relegation races and other relevant information that may be considered the “human” factor of football.
Of course, it is not necessary to bet football. If you are already well acquainted with another sport such as basketball or you have been tracking horse racing for years, there is no reason you can’t bet those sports. The real skill is finding a sport and a competition where there is an edge to be had and this will depend heavily on how good the bookies are at setting the odds for the given competition.
Finding The Value
As we have already discussed in this and previous guides, the real secret behind being successful at sports betting is not in picking the winners or the losers or guessing the correct scores. The way you truly win is by finding value across the field and betting those games where you recognize the value in the odds.
This means you will want to find a competition where the odds offered are often higher than what you would really expect when you understand the competition. Also, remember to use multiple bookmakers to always find the best odds on various markets and with some work you will be able to defeat the bookies and be one of the rare people who leave the betting arena with more money than they walked in with on a regular basis.