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Part 5: Difficult Bets, Best of Numbers, and Key Numbers

part 5

How to Become a Winning Sports Bettor

Part 5: Difficult Bets, Best of Numbers, and Key Numbers


Now we have gotten through all of the sign-ups and psychological factors that usually hinder new bettors: it is time to start getting serious about this. You are now following and tailing some of the best free bettors (who are usually the best) on twitter, and you have started trying to actively figure out why these guys have placed their bets on these particular sides and totals. People that win money consistently betting sports will tell you the most important thing they look for is value. Sharps, as they are known, are the ones that can consistently find these winners over and over based on power ranks, trends, situations, formulas, etc. Regardless of the means, we all are simply looking for the best way to determine the value of any bet so that we win money over time. It is no different than a Wall Street trader looking for a stock that is under-valued now in hopes of making a profit down the road.


Make Difficult Bets

I have a natural bias towards underdogs and unders. If you are new to betting then you need to adopt this approach from the get-go. Most players can break even each year simply by betting dogs and unders in good spots. The key to a winning season is usually just understanding which dogs and unders offer little to no value.

So why do dogs and unders traditionally offer value? It is simply because people naturally find it hard to bet the worst team or to bet the under and sit around rooting for no one to score. We like to bet on the better team that looked great on national tv last week. We also prefer betting on high-scoring affairs where no team can stop the other. Betting on favorites and betting overs are simply what come natural to most human beings. Because the books know this, they can set their lines a little higher than they should be in order to make money off your average Joe. If the Pats-Packers are playing and the over should be 54 then the books will probably be able to inflate that number past 56 without losing much action. That number literally could not be high enough.

In some cases, just the opposite is true. If Baltimore is playing Pittsburgh on Monday Night Football then the over-reactive public might love the under because of the two strong defenses. Betting the over 37 might be where you get value in a game like that. These difficult bets are where you end up getting value. If it is an easy bet (like betting the Lions -5 vs the 49ers last week after their hot start) then you are probably not getting any value. The people that got value in that spot were the people that made the difficult decision to bet the 49ers over the red hot Lions. Never be afraid to make the difficult bet because usually that is going to be the side with value.


Get the Best of the Number

A lot of sharps will tell you the most important thing to winning is getting on the right side of a key number. If you can get a game that closes at -4 at -2.5 early in the week then you are getting the best of it. You even set yourself up for a good middle if you choose to do so. You should always try to predict where the line is going to go and get your money down when it is in the best spot. If you think a line is going to go from +2.5 up to +3.5 (and you like the underdog) then you should wait and grab it later on when it does. If you like the favorite then you want to take the -6.5 before that line goes up. Getting value is usually just synonymous with getting the best number available. The number is already going to have been shaped by sharp action before it is even available to you, so predicting where the number is going and getting your bet down at the right time are the two keys. You should have 4 to 5 different books that you can place action on, so that you can compare books and get the best number. Some books have differentials of -2 or more and getting those points in the long run is the same as getting value and money. The MOST important key to winning money betting the NFL is to consistently get on the right side of the key numbers 3, 7, and 10.


Get off of Key Numbers

You do not bet on teams, you bet on numbers. In the NFL, 3 is the most important number out there. A game lands on 3 more than any other number. You can work middles [taking the +3.5 (-120) and laying -2.5 (-110) on the other side] and will win both sides around 15% of the time. Middling the 7 will win about 12% of the time, so you will still win money there too.  If you middle the 3 betting 100 bucks a game and do it 10 times, then you will usually profit $150-170. The 2-point conversion made the 3 especially important. If a team is down 17-6 and scores late, then the conversion gives the opportunity to middle the 3 with a 17-14 final (which would have been impossible before the conversion). If you do not want to middle, then you still need to be on the right side of the number. Being on the right side of 3 or 7 is usually the difference between a sharp and a square play. Middling games is a key way to working your bankroll like a sharp. No matter if you are only betting $25-$100 a game, it will help you bet and understand numbers like a sharp.


Next – Part 6: Understanding Line Movements


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2 Responses to “Part 5: Difficult Bets, Best of Numbers, and Key Numbers”

  1. Tim April 23, 2012 8:24 pm at 8:24 pm #

    Hi Rance, first time commenter here!

    I have been a small time better for some time now, and have been following many of the people you’ve listed on twitter (Stuckey, Worldwide, So Money, etc…). Often times, I will see them tweet something along the lines of “I have this number here”.

    Clearly, many of them and others have algorithms, programs, formulas, and what have you in order to find value. I myself, work in the corporate business world. I understand value, and finding it early, but don’t know anything about creating formulas and programs. In your honest opinion, how successful can I be if I have no programs, no formulas, nothing that I use to predict what my own numbers should be?

    I think having these numbers is a great way to start looking for value, especially when there are 15 games a day in baseball for 9 months. Where do I even start without something like this? When looking at baseball lines, a lot of the time it’s just me thinking to myself, “This looks a little too high, but I’m not sure where it should be.”

    Thanks for any help you can offer. It’s been a pleasure following you on twitter.

  2. Rance Young April 26, 2012 2:15 am at 2:15 am #

    I use no programs or algorithms when placing bets. I do the research myself and have since I started creating my own college football lines in the 6th grade. I think you can be very successful if you put the time in. I know you are busy so it may not be a realistic option. I am going to be writing a new post about how to set a line in the next week or so. I will be asking a few famous sports bettors (probably under conditions of anonymity knowing them) a few questions in regard to it as well. I will post you back when it is up and hopefully it can benefit you. Thanks for the response Tim!