Sports Betting 101

There is something exhilarating about teaching, about sharing hard-earned knowledge with people who want and/or need to hear what you have to say. In the case of online sports betting, the knowledge that one gains is indeed hard-earned, and can be quite costly.

The only way we know of to make our expensive education worth the cost is to teach you, our valued visitor, what we’ve learned in the process of making sports bets and writing about sports betting. No, we don’t know everything, but yes, we have learned a few lessons in our day, and we know how to bet on sports.

And now, with your permission, we’d like to share a few of these lessons with you in our new Sports Betting 101 section. And never, this sharing of knowledge that we’re offering, in the spirit of condescension, of “we know more than you,” but always, always in the spirit of commiseration, of “we’ve been there too, and this is what we learned.”

If that sounds like a plan to you, make sure to check out our new Sports Betting 101 section, which includes information on sports betting sites. Here are a few quick highlights of what kind of stuff you’ll find there:

Sports Betting Education Can Pay Off

Betting sports online is a funny thing because a lot of times it seems like the less you know about sports, the better your chances of placing a winning wager. We all know people who know tons about sports but are terrible sports gamblers that lose money hand over fist.

Seeing sports-smart folks tank themselves like may lead you to the conclusion that there is no reason to educate yourself about sports betting because it’s all a giant crapshoot, a game of pure chance. It’s kind of like that survey The Wall Street Journal did for many years, where the paper compared the stock picks of banana-chewing apes to the stock picks of high-paid mutual fund managers—and the apes often performed better than the high-paid mutual fund managers.

Now that hurts! And besides that, it’s funny.

The thing is, though, mutual fund managers still have millions of clients who pay for their opinions on financial matters, whereas the financial advice given by apes is in considerably less demand. What’s more, if you delve deeper into the Ape vs. Human surveys of years past, there were always a few high-performing mutual fund managers who completely outperform the apes because they know what the apes didn’t know because apes can’t read.

Sports betting education sees a similar dynamic. Yes, a banana-chewing ape can pick a few games here and there, but an educated bettor has a better chance over the long-run of winning money betting on sports.

Therefore, it can pay off to educate yourself about sports betting.

Sports Betting Education Isn’t the Same as Sports Education

All that being said, sports betting education isn’t the same as educating yourself about sports. This is possibly the #1 lesson we’ve learned betting sports and writing about sports betting:

It’s often better to educate yourself about betting than to educate yourself about sports.

Allow us to give you a perfect example, cribbed from our Sports Betting 101 article aptly titled “How to Bet on Major League Baseball.” You can spend three days researching every aspect of the upcoming Phillies vs. Mets game, all the players, the coaches, and so forth.

But if you don’t understand such fundamental bet-specific things such as how to bet the run line and what the difference between the run line and the money line is, you’re in trouble. You could know the statistics for every player on the field and still be un-educated about the upcoming bet.

It’s not enough to know a lot about sports. You have to know a lot about betting. One without the other won’t get the job done nearly as well as being educated about both.

The Best Thoughts Benefit from Oppositional Thoughts

We wouldn’t be surprised if you disagree with a couple of our Sports Betting 101 articles, and regard them as horse manure. However, even if you don’t agree with our assessments of how to bet on various sports, you can still benefit from reading our instructional articles.

That’s another lesson we’ve learned from this game:

It never hurts to get a second opinion.

Second opinions challenge us as sports bettors to stand up for our picks, to articulate why exactly we like the Phillies over the Mets. We need that challenge. Sports bettors don’t benefit from living in isolation, from thinking that our opinion is the only one that has validity because we are just so incredibly wise that we border on infallible, our genius is unparalleled in modern times.

Of course there is a limit to the benefit that can come from getting second opinions. Some sports bettors get so busy and distracted reviewing second opinions that they abandon their own instincts, which is never a good idea. Nevertheless, the point remains:

Listening to other sports bettors spout can help you make better picks.

Remember the Fundamentals at All Times

Anytime you lose sight of certain sports betting fundamentals—effective money management, a.k.a. “Budgeting,” chief among them—disaster is likely to ensue.

The fundamentals are the foundation of sports betting education. The fundamentals never get old or become irrelevant. The fundamentals abide.

Fundamentals such as:

– Referees are uniquely important in betting NBA basketball, so keep that in mind.

– When betting Major League Baseball, you’re betting on the starting pitcher for that day.

– A -4 line in the National Football League is a much different line than a -3 line.

This is the kind of stuff we focus on in our Sports Betting 101 articles. Stuff that every bettor needs to know. Stuff that you may already know if you’ve been in the game for any length of time, but you know what? Nobody ever got worse by practicing the fundamentals.

On the contrary, returning to the basics, concentrating the fundamentals and excluding all the other useless noise, can be a great strategy for experienced sports bettors who have lost their way.