If you’re intending to win money betting on sports, you must be prepared to do mental battle with millions of people.
What does this seemingly strange statement mean?
Well, let’s think about all the millions of people who have an opinion, for instance, on who is going to win the Super Bowl. Millions upon millions of people, no matter if they know anything or if they won’t, will spout out their wordholes about who’s going to win the Super Bowl.
The people that are talking, though, are not as important as the people who are putting their money where their mouth is, and betting on the game. For the sports bettor, those “votes” are much more impactful, and you will watch like a hawk for any line changes that reflect popular sentiment. You will be trying to see which way the wind is blowing.
Meanwhile, you’ll hear CONSTANT, NONSTOP SUPER BOWL HYPE noise from all the TV networks, advertisers, and general media maelstrom, all of whom have an interest in hyping the Super Bowl and/or putting opinions and views out into the atmosphere.
So yes then, if you’re sitting there thinking about betting in the direction that the wind isn’t blowing, you’re doing mental battle with millions of people.
You have to forget what everyone else thinks, and make the right bet.
“What Everyone Else Thinks” Is an Inaccurate But Useful Misnomer
We are wary of simplifying this topic. Suffice it to say then that the idea of “going against the grain” without thinking twice about what that means is entirely bogus. If you’re seeking to be a contrarian, and contrarian picks are the only thing you do, well then good luck.
You’ll take regular and repeated beatings.
And we do not want that, so please don’t take anything in this column to indicate that betting underdogs is always or even often the way to go.
Something Fishy Around Here
Hamlet from Shakespeare is famous for his sense of smell. As a sports bettor, you have to possess a keen nose, too. Specifically, you have to be able to smell something fishy with regard to an upcoming sports wager.
The best example of this, of course, is when “everybody thinks” that X Team is going to crush Z Team. This is prime time to step back and think for a second.
Is X Team really that much better than Z Team? Is the line reflective of the relative skill of the teams? What about motivation, which team is more motivated and why? Who are the key players on either team that will “set the tone” for the game, does Z Team have a great leader?
And so on and so forth—in short, thinking.
These are the kinds of questions that cause you to need to forget what everyone else thinks for a few minutes, and answer these questions to the best of your abilities, for they are pertinent.
The best sports picks are sincere. And the best picks, so often, start with the sports bettor smelling something fishy around here: either deception, delusion, or some combination of the two. Everyone else may be thinking something, but that something may be dead wrong!
What Are the Odds? You Tell Me
Good sports bettors understand odds. Bad sports bettors don’t.
The mathematical aspect to gambling cannot be underestimated, ever, for like the rule of gravity, odds are the rules that your sports betting account will live by. If you disobey or disrespect Odds, The Mighty, or even disregard Her, you will lose efficiently at sports betting.
For example, let’s look at sports bettors who are fond of “long shot parlays.” These are the kind of ninnies that think because they’re only betting $10, “it’s worth a shot.”
But really now, is it really worth a shot?
When you run the odds mathematically, you will see that there is a HUGE spread between the chances of your parlay paying out and your possible payout size. It’s like playing the lottery: if you’re playing it for anything other than sheer entertainment, you’re mistaken.
Poker players talk about the “price” that it will cost to enter into a bet, relative to the possible payout of that bet. Poker players run these scenarios mathematically, in their heads, seeking to find out whether or not the price they’re paying for the bet is anything close to “worth it.”
More sports bettors need to think more in those terms. Sports bettors that do understand odds, both as a concept and as math, are at a strong advantage.
A small but suitable example would be let’s say that you have $20 left in your online sports betting account. A meaningless game that you don’t care about either way, except as a means to winning a sports bet, is coming on the TV in 10 minutes.
Notice how the “price” of this bet is quite large. First of all, it’s your last $20, and scarcity creates value. Secondly, if you lose that $20, let’s be honest, you’re probably going to reload within 24 hours. So your next deposit, really, should be added to your “cost” of this bet.
These are the kinds of calculations that odds-savvy sports bettors make.
Do you make these kinds of calculations, when you’re betting on sports? Or do you listen to what everyone else says, and forget to think for yourself?