Sports Picks And Handicapping
Sports handicapping is an extremely tedious business. Whatever sport you bet on, never underestimate the amount of effort it takes to become a successful bettor. Those who are constant winners make a living placing bets on sport events and they are usually professional Sports Handicappers. Handicapping involves so many tiny, but only apparently unimportant issues, that simply learning the all the factors one needs to consider, surpasses the possibilities of a recreational bettor.
In order to understand the odds you’ll be facing as a sports bettor, you need to understand how the system works, and what makes the bookmaker tick. Contrary to what a newbie might believe, the bookmaker doesn’t make his money off winning bets against the public (well, sometimes that happens too, under special circumstances but I’ll explain that later). The main source for the bookie’s revenue is the vig. The vig (a.k.a. the juice) is a small amount of money the bookmaker chips off every bet (much like the poker rake). If - let’s say – you bet $10 on a team and it wins, you get your money back plus $9 in winnings (it’s a hypothetical example). If you lose, you lose your $10. The bookmaker’s main goal is to “balance” the bet, that is get an equal number of bettors on both sides of it. He can usually achieve that by shifting the line (point spread) around, so both sides of the play look attractive to bettors.
Given the fact that there are as many people betting on team A as there are on team B, the bookmaker couldn’t care less which of the two teams covers the spread. He’ll simply pay winners out with the money losers lose, and keep the $1/bet for himself. It’s a win-win situation for him. Don’t you reckon though that the life of the bookmaker is as ideal as depicted above. Balancing bets is not at all easy, and sometimes, regardless of his efforts, he simply can’t get there. There will be just too many bettors on one side no matter what he does. In a situation like that, the bookmaker is faced with a choice. He can either tamper with the lines (or even the vig) to make the other side look more attractive for bettors, or he can decide to go up against the squares himself by covering their bets. The latter is a risky option, but sometimes bookies feel so strongly about the hidden value that they must take a shot at it.
This is how things work in sports betting. Obviously, the lines that the bookmaker gives bettors usually have the juice thoroughly wringed from them, otherwise the above described system wouldn’t work. The occasional lack of balance is induced by square bettors when they flock onto one side of a bet.
In order to beat the bookmaker’s lines you need to know more than he does, do a more thorough research and outmaneuver him somehow. Remember that bookmakers have teams of handicappers working for them around the clock, so the odds of you actually getting the better of all those guys are not good at all. You can always try, or you can go about it in a different way.
Reverse handicapping is used by bookies too, and it is way more accessible than the conventional way. Take the Vegas lines, and run an analysis on them. These lines express what the top handicappers think about the match-up in question. This is always a good starting point. Always try to look for the hidden value. Remember that road favorites are usually extremely popular, much more popular than their statistics ATS or even SU would justify. Look for these situations as the hidden value is about the only way you can squeeze juice out of a match-up.
There’s always some sort of hidden value surfacing here and there, finding and exploiting it however, is where the real skill is needed.
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