We’re pretty sure that if you’re considering betting on football, you’re in it to win it. We all know how it goes (consider yourself one of the lucky ones if this hasn’t happened to you): As soon as August comes along, you’re bound to get inundated with offers in the mail and phone calls galore from every bookie and their cousins, asking you to work with them because they have a good deal for you. Yeah, right. Here are some tips to keep you ahead of the pack.
1. The first step to saving your sanity and putting money in your pockets if you happen to win your bets is always, always, always playing with a reputable sportsbook. The horror stories abound about people never getting paid.
2. This tip may sound illogical after just saying that you should only work with a reputable book. However, most professional gamblers have two or more accounts at different sportsbooks. Why? Because they shop for the best lines and odds for each game that they bet on. You wouldn’t think twice about comparing prices when you are shopping for groceries, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do the same when you’re comparing lines. You should always make your bets based on the best line.
3. Betting for fun is one thing; betting to make a profit is a whole other ballgame. When it comes to your money, it pays to have some sort of system to manage it. If you’re going to start betting with guns blazing, then you might end up packing it in early and calling it quits just when you could be making some cool hard bucks. Don’t blow your bankroll every weekend by betting on everything that sounds like a good deal.
4. Create a bankroll. Most of you won’t make a living out of gambling on sports. There’s no one to impress, and nobody is going to care how much money you lost or if you’ve lost your college tuition on this weekend’s game. Do yourself a favor: Come up with a realistic figure of how much you’re willing to spend on betting and stick to that number. Keep things separate, and keep it fun.
5. Keep records. Do you know what bets win you more money? Do you know how many straight bets you’ve won vs. parlays? If you don’t, get your microscope ready and start looking at your bets with a clinical eye. Do you really think Warren Buffett is the world’s richest person because he doesn’t know what things are making him a profit? Of course he knows, and we bet that he drops whatever’s not working like a bad habit and sticks to what works religiously.
6. Consider the tortoise way of winning. It may not be flashy -- in fact, it’s probably way too boring -- but in the end, we all know who wins the race between the hare and the tortoise. Consider betting the same amount on every game. Sometimes what you think is the game of the century really isn’t. It’s the whole “not everything that shines is gold” thing -- and there’s actually a lot of thought behind this simple but powerful advice. If you’re not a pro, you shouldn’t weigh one game over another, no matter how much of a lock you think it is. Your solid plays usually end up losing more than your regular plays. (We hope it’s not true in your case, but we know it happens.) The fact is that the people that make the lines in Vegas are a pretty intelligent crowd; millions of dollars are won or lost on their choices, so you can bet they definitely know their stuff. This doesn’t mean that they don’t make mistakes, but only that you should consider what’s behind the line before you risk a wad of dollars on your pick.
7. Buy some earplugs and stop listening to what the sportscasters on ESPN are saying. Most of them haven’t placed a bet in their entire lives. There are your exceptions as always. But for the most part, they’re just reading off stats from a teleprompter.
8. Do your homework. Betting isn’t for suckers and nobody is paying you to lose games. So do yourself a favor and study, and actually handicap the games. Don't make blind picks based on your gut feeling or who your favorite team is.
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Editor's note: This article originally appeared on Inspin.com.
No positions in stocks mentioned.